Well, the first part of a riveting, absolutely factual series about Henry VII was warning enough. I confess to having had to read the first sentence twice, because first time around I thought Edmund Tudor was fighting against the Duke of York’s men and Edmund’s own wife, Margaret Beaufort, who was Henry’s underage mother. Shame on Edmund Tudor for what would amount today as child abuse. And was he even a Tudor? There’s a strong case for believing he too was another Beaufort. Then it’s stated that Edmund had a slight claim to the throne. Very slight, he just happened to have the same mother as Henry VI.
There’s truth enough in the story of the illegitimate-legitimate-can’t have the throne Beauforts. Truth too in that Edmund’s brother Jasper (Edmund had popped his unpleasant clogs before little Henry Tudor was born) fled to Brittany and lurked there. For fourteen years, as I seem to recall. Then chance made Henry the senior male Lancastrian claimant to the throne. Good grief, they really were scraping the barrel.
Eventually, at the second attempt, Henry managed to invade England with his army of French mercenaries. Now, he did this, so the article says, with the support of “the Woodvilles, in-laws of his late father-in-law to-be”. His late father-in-law-to-be? Um…brain cells clunking…oh, Edward IV! Anyway, the Welsh were gulled into supporting him because he was a descendant of Cadwaladr. Eh? Let’s face it, he wasn’t a Tudor at all, he had a Beaufort mother and if Edmund Tudor had in reality been a Beaufort to. (Born of an affair between Henry V’s queen, Katherine of Valois, and Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset.) So Cadwaladr’s DNA would show up very thinly indeed , if it showed up at all. Wales believed this illustrious descent, however (and that Henry was descended from King Arthur!) and so was shafted, good and proper, because Henry’s bounty didn’t flow across the Severn but remained in England. In Henry’s pockets. I wonder the man could move with all that stolen loot weighing him down.
Right, Henry conquered Richard III (who was indeed the rightful King of England and was betrayed on the battlefield) and then stole the throne. Oh joy, now we have the House of Tudor. Come back Plantagenets, all is forgiven!!!
Well, that was Part One. Now we move on to Part Two Part Two. Surprise, surprise, it’s admitted that Henry declared himself to have been king the day before Bosworth, so he could steal lands and property of those who fought for Richard III (don’t forget, Richard was the lawful king, not sticky-fingered Henry). Then he repealed Titulus Regius, to make his illegitimate queen legitimate again. Then he sliced his way through anyone he thought might have a vague claim to the throne.
Now, the article doesn’t mention that when Henry made his queen legitimate, he also made her two inconvenient little brothers, who had disappeared from public view. Oh, he wanted a legitimate queen, but he certainly didn’t wnt her brothers to be legitimate too. Hell, no! So the whispers start that Richard, the evil monster, murdered them.
That was the Tudor spin then and it still is today (thank you entertainer-historians). Unfortunately Tudor supporters can shout the loudest. Boy can they shout. But Richard’s supporters are fighting back…and we’re gradually winning! If anyone did away with those two boys, it was Henry’s lot. I can’t pretend to know names, but I have no doubt that if he’d found the boys, Henry would have topped them. Either he did and continued to blame Richard, or they’d disappeared and he didn’t know where the hell they were. Oh calamity. Cue many a sleepless night.
Henry was plagued with rebellions and pretenders, but he kept his bum on the throne. He also screwed the country with taxes, and terrified it with ruthless laws and decisions. Oh, and the article admits that he put all the money in his own capacious purse. What a nice chap. But, he worked on peace and restoring royal authority. Oh, he did that alright! Through terror. The Tudors formed the first modern police state, and were a huge blemish on our history. But who is always pointed at as the sinner? Richard III.
I can hardly wait for Part Three. Wait a moment, yes, I can. I don’t want to read more about how wonderful Henry Tudor was, and how proud Pembroke is to claim him. They can have him, believe me. I wish they’d kept him immured in their castle from birth onwards. Instead they let him out! Oh, thank you, Pembroke, you have a LOT to answer for!
CALLING ALL SEAGULLS AND PIGEONS! WHERE ARE YOU WHEN YOU’RE NEEDED?