Most Influential Tudor Women: Margaret Beaufort

On my Facebook page called, Tudors Dynasty, I asked my followers who they believed to be the most influential women of the Tudor era. It is because of this poll that I decided to turn this into a series of episodes about some amazing Tudor women.

Before I start, let’s understand what influential truly means.

The Definition of Influential is: having great influence on someone or something.

Now that we know the definition of the word, does that change our ideas about who we believe were some of the most influential of the Tudor period?



Poll Results

When I posed this question on my blog and took a poll, the winner was, with 35% of the votes, Queen Elizabeth I, followed by her great-grandmother, Margaret Beaufort with 27% and rounding off the top three was her mother, Anne Boleyn with 19%. I honestly was not too surprised by the results.

Since I have already done a six-part series on Elizabeth I decided to do this episode on Margaret Beaufort – someone whom many of you have requested I talk more about.

With that, this article could not have happened without the wonderful guidance of Susan Abernethy and her website, The Freelance History Writer. Susan is also the admin for the Facebook page, Tudor History Lovers.

So, here we go…

Margaret Beaufort

Let’s talk about Margaret Beaufort. Authors like Philippa Gregory have not done Margaret the justice she deserves. While Gregory used to be one of my favorite Historical Fiction authors, I agree with many that her dislike for Beaufort is evident in her books.

Margaret lived quite an amazing life. Born on the 31st of May 1443, Margaret was the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp. Margaret’s father was the grandson of the well-known, John of Gaunt and his mistress (whom later he married) Katherine Swynford.

Margaret Beaufort was married several times. Not unusual for the time. Her first marriage (which may have only been a betrothal) was around 1450 – Margaret was merely six or seven years old and she wed John de la Pole. Pole’s father, the Earl of Suffolk had arranged the marriage. Whether or not there was an actual marriage is unclear but Margaret was returned to her mother and it is agreed that the marriage was never consummated. However, when the Earl of Suffolk was disgraced in 1450, their marriage (or betrothal) was voided. It was as if the marriage never happened and later in life Margaret never considered him as one of her husbands.

That same year Edmund and Jasper Tudor were granted her wardship by their half-brother, King Henry VI.



Genealogy

Before I go forward, for those unfamiliar with their genealogy, the King, Edmund and Jasper all shared the same mother, Katherine of Valois. Katherine was the wife of King Henry V and they had a son, Henry, who became the Sixth King Henry upon the death of his father and predecessor.

Katherine, still young (not quite 21) and stunningly beautiful fell in love with Owen Tudor (a member of her household), they may have secretly wed (there is no evidence available to prove a marriage) but we do know that they were the parents of Edmund and Jasper. Following along?

First Marriage

Some have speculated that Henry VI planned the wardship of 1453 so that one of his half-brothers could wed Margaret, who was a surviving member of the House of Lancaster. Two years later (1455) Margaret, then twelve years old married Edmund who was twenty-two and the Earl of Richmond.

Even though Margaret was only twelve at the time of their marriage the marriage was consummated and Margaret soon became pregnant. Margaret was just a child by today’s standards and physically she most definitely was still very petite.

In August of 1456, while Margaret was pregnant with his child, Edmund Tudor was captured by an ally of the Duke of York and imprisoned. He died three months later of the plague at Carmarthen Castle. After the death of her husband, the heavily pregnant thirteen year-old girl placed herself under the protection of Jasper Tudor, her brother-in-law at Pembroke Castle, the place her son Henry (named for King Henry VI) was born at the end of January 1457.

Wars of the Roses

Shall we discuss briefly the Wars of the Roses briefly?

The Wars of the Roses were the civil wars fought in England and Wales between the Houses of York and Lancaster between 1455 and 1485 and most definitely ended with the battle of Bosworth in 1485, when the army of Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII, the first Tudor king) killed Richard III. In my opinion, the battles began when King Henry VI could no longer rule his country due to his health condition. What was his health condition?

From HenryVI.com:

The great disorder or illness that struck down King Henry in August 1453 and kept him in what appears to have been a catatonic stupor for over a year. The causes are still not known to modern medicine. Most modern diagnoses of the King’s illness tentatively identify it as catatonic schizophrenia. Henry’s maternal grandfather King Charles VI of France suffered from recurring, severe bouts of “madness”, during which he became dangerously violent, did not recognise his wife or the fact that he was king.

When the Henry VI was having one of his bouts was about the time that Richard, Duke of York (father of Edward IV and Richard III) began to fight for what he believed was his rightful place on the throne of England. Anyway, I digress – Back to Margaret.



Birth of Henry Tudor & Second Marriage

At thirteen years old, the birth of her son had been hard on the young woman’s body. It is believed that Margaret suffered permanent damage from childbirth and would have no other children.

For the first year of Henry’s life Margaret remained at Pembroke with her brother-in-law. She had asked Jasper for assistance in finding her a second husband. Finally an agreement was made and Margaret married the Duke of Buckingham’s son, Henry Stafford in January 1458. After the wedding, young Henry stayed in the custody of his uncle Jasper and Margaret and her husband made regular visits.

Separated From Her Son

Unfortunately their happiness would not last long when in 1461, Edward, Earl of March became King Edward IV, Margaret’s son’s wardship was sold to a Yorkist supporter – Lord Herbert. Luckily for Margaret she was still able to schedule regular visits to see her son and when she could not see him she would send letters to Lord Herbert asking about her son’s well-being.

The Battle of Barnet, in April 1471, was a game changer for Margaret and her little family. Her husband was wounded and had to return home due to his injuries. Less than a month later there was another Yorkist victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury. It was at Tewkesbury that Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou was defeated and their son Edward was killed.

Roughly a week after the Battle of Tewkesbury, Henry VI, who had been locked in the Tower was killed – or murdered.

Because of the death of Henry VI, Margaret Beaufort and her son held the strongest claim to the English throne on the Lancastrian side. Because of those claims, young Henry’s life was in danger as he posed a threat to Edward IV and the House of York – because of that Jasper Tudor fled England with Henry and ended up in Brittany.

Six months after he sustained his injuries at the Battle of Barnet, Margaret’s second husband (Henry Stafford) died, most likely from his wounds.



Third Marriage

Margaret, a Lancastrian (with rights to the throne) was in danger without a husband during the reign of the Yorkist, Edward IV. Eight months after the death of her second husband, Margaret married for a third time to Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby. With Stanley’s influence and position at court Margaret was able to protect her land and wealth, but Stanley, as her husband, would now have access to it all – so it benefited him in the long run.

Since her new husband was tight with King Edward IV both Stanley and Margaret did spend time at court. It does not appear, however, that their marriage was necessarily a happy one. That is no unusual as many marriages during the time were arranged and did not happen out of love.

While at the court of Edward IV, Margaret tried everything in her power to return her son Henry to favor.

It wasn’t until 1476 that she gained favor with the Queen consort, Elizabeth Woodville and six years later Margaret was given the honor of holding Princess Bridget at her christening.

After ingratiating herself with the King and Queen she was able to persuade Edward IV to allow her son, Henry to return to England. Part of the deal was that they had also discussed a marriage between their daughter the Princess Elizabeth and Henry Tudor. Unfortunately, before the deal could be finalized Edward IV died. Henry could not yet return to England – it was not safe.

Reign of Richard III

Margaret and her son were once again thrown into political uncertainty with the reign of the new young King Edward V. Because of the young King’s youth his uncle and protector, Richard of Gloucester had the children of his brother (Edward IV) and Elizabeth Woodville declared illegitimate due to a marriage between the deceased King and Eleanor Butler prior to his marriage to Woodville. The next in line to the throne after Edward’s children was….you called it, Richard. He then became Richard III.

Richard did not have an easy time of it. There were many who believed what he had done was completely unacceptable (especially Elizabeth Woodville) and would do whatever it took to remove the usurper.

This was about the time that Margaret Beaufort and dowager queen Elizabeth Woodville began to discuss more seriously a marriage between their children. This marriage would benefit both parties and the two women were eager to see it come to fruition.

Richard III at the time was not sure who he could trust, I mean, it was really his own fault. Did he truly believe that his nieces and nephews were illegitimate? Or did he just use it as an excuse for his ambition? Since Richard did not know for sure if Stanley, the husband of a Lancastrian heir would be loyal to him, he imprisoned him for a short while. Once Stanley had declared his support for Richard III he was released. Surprisingly, both Stanley and Margaret took part in the coronation of Richard and his consort, Anne Neville. Margaret had gained enough favor that she carried the queen’s train.

Henry was constantly on Margaret’s mind. All she wanted for her son was to regain his titles and lands that were stripped from him when Edward IV came to throne. In addition, she wished for her son to return to England after YEARS in exile.

With the help of her nephew, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret felt confident that her son could return to England and fight for the Crown.

When Richard III discovered the plot to remove him from the throne, the Duke of Buckingham was apprehended and executed. Margaret’s life was spared (only because of Stanley’s loyalty to the king) but she was attained for treason by Parliament and sentenced to life in prison (really house arrest) – her goods and lands were also confiscated by the Crown.

Battle of Bosworth

Even though Margaret was under house arrest she was still able to keep in contact with her son. By the Summer of 1485, Henry was on his way to England with his uncle Jasper and troops. It was the Battle of Bosworth that changed the course of history when the troops of Henry Tudor (along with the help of his step-father) defeated and killed Richard III.

Henry Tudor became King Henry VII of England when Richard III took his last breath and his army was defeated.

Margaret, at least for a moment, could breathe a sigh of relief. She was released from her house arrest (and obviously got back her goods and land) and after fourteen years apart the mother and son were reunited.



Henry VII

With her son was back in England and now King, the marriage she had planned with Elizabeth Woodville happened on the 18th of January 1486, about two months after his coronation. This marriage combined together the Houses of York and Lancaster, effectively ending the War of the Roses.

From day one of Henry’s reign Margaret was by her son’s side. He had been away from England for over a decade and she was able to offer him advice on politics when needed. Margaret also played an important role in Henry’s new reign as she assisted in many matters including ceremonies and special commissions.

I love this next part – due to her new position as My Lady, the King’s Mother, Margaret was able to gain independence from her husband. This allowed her to have sole claim to all her property and land. Almost unheard of back then.

Margaret may have also been a mother-in-law from hell. Poor Elizabeth of York (who had been raised to marry one day and become a consort) was overshadowed by Margaret who essentially acted like she was Queen.

When it came to her grandchild, Margaret was delighted. She is said to have had a special relationship with her grandson, Henry.

From Susan Abernethy and her website, thefreelancehistorywriter.com:

In her later years Margaret made significant religious, educational and literary contributions. She became a patron and benefactor of two colleges at Cambridge University.

Margaret would just barely outlive her son, Henry VII who died in April 1509. She was able to witness the wedding of her grandson Henry to Katherine of Aragon and then the dual coronation. Margaret passed away on the 29th of June 1509 – five days after Henry’s coronation.

After years of upheaval and struggles, Margaret Beaufort could finally rest in peace knowing that the Tudor name would be carried on through her grandson Henry VIII. Little did she know how it would all play out. The Tudor dynasty reigned 118 years.

Sources:

https://thefreelancehistorywriter.com/2014/01/10/lady-margaret-beaufort-the-kings-mother/

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/lady-margaret-beaufort/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Beaufort,_Countess_of_Richmond_and_Derby

https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/12-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-the-wars-of-the-roses/


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Understanding the Man: Henry VIII (Part One)

As many of you may already know, King Henry VIII is my favorite monarch of the Tudor dynasty. If it wasn’t for his reign I do not believe the Tudors would be as popular as they are today.

With the creation of Showtime’s THE TUDORS, many of us were aware of the name Henry VIII but really didn’t know much about him. In the show we were able to see that there was more to the man than the execution of two of his six wives. While I understand that THE TUDORS tv program had a bunch of historical inaccuracies, it also got people (like myself) to look deeper into the history by reading and absorbing as much as we possibly could. Over a decade later I feel like I have a fairly good grasp on the infamous king and would like to share my understanding of him with you all. Henry VIII was a man, well…maybe a man-child, but he wasn’t just the tyrannical ruler that many see him as today. There was much more to him than most understand. I hope with this series on his life that you will look at Henry in through new eyes.



Understanding the Man: Henry VIII

As stated previously, many of you may already know that Henry VIII is my favorite of the Tudor monarchs. My opinion isn’t always in the majority and I’m okay with that. Henry ruled England from 1509 until his death on the 28th of January 1547 and has helped to make the Tudors as popular as they are today.

As the second son of King Henry VII, young Henry was not expected to become King of England and so he was sent to Eltham Palace to be raised with his sisters. While at Eltham, Henry would have most likely had constant contact with his mother, Elizabeth of York.

When you consider Henry’s relationship with women in his life one must wonder if he was constantly on the search for a woman like his own mother. Elizabeth of York had a great influence on her son and may have helped educate her children during her lifetime.

Born at Greenwich Palace on the 28th of June 1491, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. His parents marriage had put an end to decades of fighting between the Yorks and Lancasters in what we know as the Wars of the Roses.

For the most part, Henry’s childhood would have been idyllic, but not without occasional bits of drama. The fact that Henry’s father claimed the throne on the battlefield against Richard III did not sit well with supporters of the Lancasters…and for that matter the Yorks were not pleased either.

In 1487, a young man named Lambert Simnel was coerced to play the part of Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick to raise arms against the new Tudor king, Henry VII. At the same time, the real Edward Plantagenet was sitting in the Tower of London. It did not take long before Simnel was discovered as a pretender.

At some point around 1494, Perkin Warbeck came on the scene. The reason I say 1494 is because in 1494, young Prince Henry was given (by his father) the title of Lieutenant of Ireland.

This would not be the last time that Henry VII gave a title to his second son in an attempt to show control.

In July 1495, Warbeck took fourteen ships, funded by his supposed aunt, Margaret of York, along with 6000 men across the channel to England in hope that he could claim the throne of England. Things didn’t quite turn out the way he had planned and he and his men fled to Ireland. Before long they had moved to Scotland where Warbeck gained the assistance of King James IV of Scotland.

Warbeck was claiming to be one of the lost princes in the Tower, the younger of the two brothers, Richard, Duke of York. Many believed he was truly the young prince and that the throne of England should be his by right.

Henry VII would not have another pretender using a title that was meant for his son, and in 1494, three-year old Prince Henry was titled as Duke of York. There could not be two and Henry, at the moment, was the true title holder, not Warbeck.

At a young age Henry would have known that a monarch’s throne is never 100% secure. It also must have been a bit confusing for him and his sisters to understand that some of their mother’s family wanted to remove their father.

Everything changed in April 1502 when Henry’s older brother, Arthur, died unexpectedly at Ludlow Castle. Henry went from a mostly carefree childhood to a life that led to him being overly protected as sole heir to the throne of England. Gone were the days when he could run “freely” and have unrestricted fun – to feeling like a prisoner of his father’s.

Henry had been betrothed to Katherine Aragon in 1503, he was twelve years old. As stated previously, Henry’s life, once Prince of Wales, was thoroughly controlled by his father, the King. The betrothal to the dowager princess of Wales was something that would evolve with the ever-changing politics of the day.

While his brother Arthur had been, practically from birth, trained in the ways of kingship, Henry’s training did not begin until he was eleven years old. The young Prince of Wales was not used to the rigorous training he received to prepare him for the throne and he only had seven-year to cram for the biggest role of his life.

At Richmond Palace, on the 21st of April 1509, King Henry VII died. He was fifty-two years old. His son, who was only eighteen years old was now King of England.

When he came to the throne, Henry VIII was described as exceptionally tall, well-proportioned, had the features of a Greek god and moved gracefully. His complexion was fair, had auburn hair and a rounded face with the features so delicately formed that they ‘would become a pretty woman’. This new, young king naturally commanded attention and authority by appearance alone.

Henry had always been fascinated by Katherine. She was beautiful and he was enchanted by her. After the death of his father, Henry decided that he would marry Katherine of Aragon. And he would claim it was his father’s wish, on his deathbed. The couple was married six weeks after Henry accession at the chapel of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich. Henry would also be quoted as writing to her father, Ferdinand of Aragon that, “If I were still free, I would still choose her for wife before all other”. They would have a double coronation, or crowning, thirteen days later, on Midsummer Day, 24th of June 1509.



It was the coronation that set the tone for Henry’s reign – it was the beginning of the Renaissance period in England. It had also been a long time since a King came to throne with such approval and adoration. It was a new era – one of education, music, jousting and overall fun. The court was full of young people, which was the opposite of the reign of his father. Henry was eager to open his father’s coffers (which were overflowing) to celebrate his new role.

Lord Mountjoy wrote to Erasmus only weeks after Henry’s accession and had this to say:

If you could see how everyone here rejoices in having so great a prince, how his life is all their desire, you would not contain yourself for sheer joy. Extortion is put down, liberality scatters riches with a bountiful hand, yet our King does not set his heart on gold or jewels, but on virtue, glory and immortality. The other day he told me ‘I wish I were more learned’. ‘But learning is not what we expect of a King’, I answered, ‘merely that he should encourage scholars’. ‘Most certainly’, he rejoined, ‘as without them we should scarcely live at all’. Now what more splendid remark could a prince make?

William Roper, the son-in-law of Thomas More also remembered how the young King was eager to learn. He recalled how More and the King would discuss astronomy, geometry, divinity and other worldly affairs all hours of the night. Henry truly enjoyed conversing with More and enjoyed learning from him and having discussions with him as well.

Henry VIII wasn’t always the tyrannical monarch who would execute you if you looked at him wrong – at the beginning of his reign he relented to public outcry against his father’s tax collector, Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. While the public wanted to see the men put away Henry was eager to spend the fruits of their labor.

The mood at Tudor court had changed drastically since the changing of the guard – now there was laughter in the corridors at court and continuous festivals to enjoy. Under the new administration both high-born and low-born men had the same opportunities. While Henry understood the importance of having men of noble birth and experience in key positions he also appreciated men of ambition, like Thomas Wolsey – a man who would soon become pseudo king.

That’s where we’ll end Part One of this series on Henry VIII – next we will continue you on with the story of the life of Henry VIII and understanding him a bit better in Part Two.


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A Vehicle for Legitimacy: Early Tudor Coronations (Guest Post)

A Vehicle for Legitimacy: Early Tudor Coronations

Guest article by Sarah Norton

When, in August 1485, Henry VII claimed “glorious victorie” at the battle of Bosworth, the Tudors were a family of little importance, their nobility claimed from the second marriage of Henry VI’s mother Katherine of Valois, and through Margaret Beaufort’s descent through John of Gaunt from Edward III.[1] Henry Tudor was one of the “unlikeliest” men ever to ascend the throne of England, having spent most of his life in exile in France without even the experience of running his own household.[2]  The chances of Tudor winning the day at Bosworth – his first major battle – were relatively low.

As a result, following the battle the Tudors were keen to impress upon the nation their legitimacy at every opportunity they could. The dynasty was plagued with insecurity; when Henry VII took the crown there were other heirs lingering with much better claims than himself (the earls of Lincoln and Warwick, for example), and the string of pretenders to the throne made it imperative that the first Tudor king stress his legitimacy. For his son, too, legitimacy was an issue always at the forefront of his mind. Even fifty-six years after Bosworth, Henry VIII perceived such a threat from those with royal blood (direct Plantagenet blood especially) that he had Margaret Pole executed in 1541 despite her being a woman of sixty-seven years old.

One of the first major opportunities Henry Tudor had to display his legitimacy was his coronation. Grand public displays were “magnificent vehicles of Tudor state propaganda”[3] and for Henry VII public displays were in “direct relation to his dynastic insecurity”.[4] Henry was “crouned kyng by the whole assent as well of the comons as of the nobilite”[5], and he was received with “all honour and gladness” on 30th October 1485.[6] Vergil recites how he was widely welcomed, and the overarching theme of his coronation and early days on the throne was that of a country rescued from the throes of civil war and tyranny.

Before the ceremony, according to the French chronicler Jean Molinet, Henry VII proclaimed that if there were any with a better claim than himself to the throne, Henry VII would “himself help to crown him but no-one appeared”.[7] This is interesting as it is most certainly false, but it served Henry’s purpose and reinforced the ideology that the crown was taken by right rather than conquest. He also made sure his coronation was before the first parliamentary meeting on the 7th November by being crowned on 30th October – this removed all need for Parliament to declare him the rightful king and avoided any opportunity for resistance since he was already anointed. It shows his perhaps personal insecurity on the throne in that he felt the need to go above and beyond searching for ways to legitimise the dynasty even though by law of conquest the crown was legitimately his either way.

Particularly of significance to his coronation was the heavy mythological and Arthurian symbolism that was employed. Although other kings before him had exploited the Arthurian legend, Tudor was the first to exploit its full potential to bolster his rule. He traced his lineage back to the mythical Arthur and the last king of the Britons Cadwaladr. At his coronation his horse wore Cadwaladr’s arms, and after the ceremony he created a new pursuivant (office of the college of arms) named Rouge Dragon in reference to both Cadwaladr and Saint George.[8] He emphasised these connections to mythical figures in order to raise himself above the ordinary population. Henry is known for restoring the sacrality of kingship and the use of myths and legends almost suggests that Henry himself is akin to those great mythical figures. The presence of the King’s Champion at the coronation banquet, though used by kings since at least Richard II’s coronation in 1377, only furthered the chivalrous ideals Henry represented. A fully armed knight, usually a member of the Dymoke family of Lincolnshire, would enter Westminster Hall between courses and present a challenge to anyone who disputed the king’s right to rule.[9]  The champion’s role was to “validate authority and reinforce arrangements of precedence” and as such lent all kings, but particularly Henry VII and others with shaky claims to the throne, legitimacy.[10] It offered them a chance to reinforce their validity; the lack of challenge (because, of course, it would be madness to dispute the king’s right to rule at his coronation banquet, and you wouldn’t be leaving with your head on your shoulders if you did dispute it) to the Champion renders the king’s reign uncontested and legitimate since the king had offered the challenge. The role had “Arthurian symbolism encoded” within it and it was the first step in the exploitation of the Arthurian legend that would come to form such a huge part of Henry’s later reign.[11]

This ties in seamlessly with the presentation of himself as the unifier of a war-torn nation. He was eager to show his ascent as “as much by lawful title of inheritance as by the true judgement of God in giving him victory”.[12]  This perpetuates the idea of chivalry that was so central to the Arthurian myths. The Arthurian cult flourished under Tudor cultivation and Henry VII encouraged the study of ancient Britain, ensuring that the cult of Arthur gained prevalence in the sixteenth century. By linking the dynasty to the mythical kings of old – and encouraging study to make sure their prestigious heritage was known – they tapped into the rudimental English identity. Arthur, the pinnacle of English kings, served as an invaluable link to England’s past and her own sense of self. Since Henry VII had spent most of his life in France, this link to England was priceless. The mythical imagery was first brought out in grand display at the coronation of 1485, and its use as a tool for legitimacy must have been invaluable.

But it was not just the coronation of the first Tudor king that was manipulated to highlight his legitimacy; the coronation of the first Tudor queen got the same treatment. The perfectly stage-managed coronation of Elizabeth of York took place in 1487 and was, like her husband’s, similarly laden with heavy symbolism and was key to the Tudor policy of legitimisation.

The gap between the marriage that was loudly proclaimed to have united all England and her coronation is telling. There could be many reasons why the coronation of the queen was delayed by two years (Elizabeth giving birth to Arthur in September 1486 being one of them) but a convincing stance seems to be that the queen’s coronation was delayed on purpose. Perhaps it was to emphasise that although she had a stronger blood claim to the throne than her husband, she was not a crowned queen until he made her so. Her crown was carried by Jasper Tudor, the very embodiment of the Welsh roots of the Tudors. Since he was half-brother to the deposed Henry VI, Jasper essentially represented a return to the legitimate succession after the Yorkists since Henry VII claimed the throne as heir to Henry VI. The implication is that the crown is bestowed on Elizabeth by the Lancastrian claim from Henry VI, not her own Yorkist claim through her father, Edward IV. It was a way of “proclaiming the legitimacy of the Tudor dynasty to the world” and bolstered the image of Tudor right to rule that her husband had been carefully cultivating since 1485.[13]

On top of this, the coronation of Elizabeth of York spouted the same rhetoric of union that surrounded her marriage. Henry created fourteen new Knights of the Bath the night before her coronation, and of the 185 that attended the ceremony, 46% had been knighted since Bosworth.[14] Several others had fought for Richard III at Bosworth and their part in Elizabeth’s coronation shows the active effort made to unite the realm under one banner.[15] Though there were several new names at her coronation, old names remained. Suffolk carried her sceptre, also having carried it at all the coronations between 1465 and 1487.[16] His role has an element of tradition to it and he served as a link to previous Yorkist ceremonies. The role of Suffolk combined with the injection of fresh blood into the court illustrates effectively the ideology of the union of the roses, of both Lancaster and York coming together to bring peace. That some former Yorkists found tolerance under Henry VII only emphasises this further.

The Tudor coronations were vast, embracing vehicles for state propaganda declaring the legitimacy of the Tudor dynasty. Though the politics of kingship can be tricky, it should be pointed out that the process of anointing, arguably, erases any unsuitability for the throne since the king has been touched with God’s holy oil. This did not stop the routine efforts for legitimacy made by Henry VII and his successors, though, and so the entire coronation was subjected to elaborate displays of the dynasty’s validity, despite being technically valid the moment the oil touched their skin.

Henry VIII’s smooth accession to the throne and coronation in 1509 is a testament to the strength of Henry VII’s policy of legitimisation. In the words of Geoffrey Elton, Henry VIII’s accession was a “triumph” for his father’s policy, with Henry VII’s efforts at last “mingled into one unquestioned claimant to the throne”.[17]

Primary Sources:
Hall, E. Hall’s Chronicle (London: J. Johnson, 1809)
Molinet, J. Chroniques 1476-1506, (Paris: Verdiére 1828
Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, http://www.british-history.ac.uk.ezproxy.mmu.ac.uk/no-series/parliament-rolls-medieval/november-1485-pt-1#highlight-first [Accessed 24th February 2017]
Vergil, P. Anglica Historia, http://www.r3.org/links/to-prove-a-villain-the-real-richard-iii/these-supposed-crimes/polydore-vergil/
Secondary Sources:
Anglo, S. Images of Tudor Kingship (London: Batsford Ltd, 1992)
Attreed, L. ‘England’s Official Rose: Tudor Concepts of the Middle Ages’ in Hermeneutics and Medieval Culture, ed. Gallacher, P. J, Damico, H. (New York: State University of New York Press, 1989)
Byrne, A. ‘The King’s Champion: Re-Enacting Arthurian Romance at the English Coronation Banquet’, English Studies, (94), (2013), pp.505-518
Elton, G. England Under the Tudors, (Abingdon: Routledge, 1991)
Hammond, P. W. ‘The Coronation of Elizabeth of York’, The Ricardian, 6(83) (1983)
Hunt, A. ‘The Tudor Coronation Ceremonies in History and Criticism’, Literature Compass, 6(2) (2009) pp.362-372
Hunt, A. The Drama of Coronation, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Rex, R. The Tudors (Stroud: Amberley 2012)
Sharpe, K. Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in Sixteenth Century England (London: Yale University Press, 2009)
Weir, A. Elizabeth of York (New York: Vintage, 2014)
[1] Edward Hall, Hall’s Chronicle, (London: J. Johnson, 1809), p.422
[2] Richard Rex, The Tudors, (Stroud: Amberley, 2012) p.9
[3] Alice Hunt, The Drama of Coronation, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p.9
[4] Kevin Sharpe, Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in Sixteenth Century England, (London: Yale University Press, 2009), p.66
[5] Hall, Hall’s Chronicle, p.423
[6] Robert Fabyan, Great Chronicle in English Historical Documents: Volume IV, 1327-1485, ed. A. R. Myers, http://www.englishhistoricaldocuments.com/document/view.html?id=1119 [Accessed 2nd March 2017]
[7] Jean Molinet, Chroniques 1476 – 1506, (Paris: Verdiére, 1828) p.8
[8] Lorraine Attreed, ‘England’s Official Rose: Tudor Concepts of the Middle Ages’ in P. J. Gallagher, H. Damico, Hermeneutics and Medieval Culture, (New York: State University of New York Press, 1989), p.87
[9] A. Byrne, ‘The King’s Champion: Re-Enacting Arthurian Romance at the English Coronation Banquet’ English Studies 94 (2013) p.506
[10] Byrne, ‘The King’s Champion’, English Studies p.515
[11] Byrne, ‘King’s Champion’, p.516
[12] ‘Henry VII, November 1485’ in Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, http://www.british-history.ac.uk.ezproxy.mmu.ac.uk/no-series/parliament-rolls-medieval/november-1485-pt-1#highlight-first [Accessed 24th February 2017]
[13] Alison Weir, Elizabeth of York, (New York: Vintage, 2014) p.252
[14] Hammond, P. W; ‘The Coronation of Elizabeth of York’ The Ricardian 6(83) (1983) p.272
[15] IBID
[16] Hammond, ‘Coronation of Elizabeth of York’, p.270
[17] Geoffrey Elton, England Under the Tudors, (Routledge, 1991) p.70

Author Bio:

I am a 21-year old history masters student with an undergrad degree in medieval and early modern
history. My favourite periods include the wars of the roses, the Tudors, Renaissance Italy
(Leonardo da Vinci is my fave) and enlightenment era France. Favourite historical figures include
Da Vinci, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Woodville, Richard III and Edward IV. I also love Lord of the
Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, traveling the world, and furry four-legged creatures, specifically
my perennially-grumpy tuxedo cat and prince, and excitable fluff-ball Border Collie pup.

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