Monday, November 29, 2010
A Royal Wedding Remembered
All the of the buzz surrounding the impending royal wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton is so exciting, that I thought I would write about a Tudor wedding that stands out to me as a very important one.
The wedding of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York effectively ended the "War of the Roses," uniting the houses of Lancaster and York, and marked the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty. So, how did this pairing come about? It was an interesting read, which is quite the norm for the Tudors, as we all know.
It all started with the death of Elizabeth's father, Edward IV. It caused a great upheaval in her life and caused much grief to her family. Her brother Edward was next in line to the throne, however, her uncle Richard had plans of his own. Richard locked away Elizabeth's brothers in the Tower of London and usurped the throne, becoming Richard III. Elizabeth would never see her brothers again and her family would be torn apart by her scheming uncle.
Out of desperation and survival, Elizabeth's mother, Elizabeth Woodville, and Henry's mother, Margaret Beaufort made an alliance to join their children in marriage, uniting the two rival houses. But, first, Henry Tudor, of Richmond, had to overthrow Richard III.
Against some incredible odds, Henry's Lancastrian forces defeated Richard III's at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22nd, 1485. It was at first feared by some that Henry would not keep his promise to marry Elizabeth. Henry wanted to ensure that he ruled in his own right. Elizabeth had a greater claim to the throne, being the direct descendant of Edward IV, but Henry did not want to have Elizabeth ruling beside him. He wanted total power. He chose to be crowned on October 30, 1485, before marrying, so as to ensure there would be no question of his claim to the throne by "right of conquest."
After receiving papal dispensation to do so, Henry VII finally honored his promise on January 18th, 1486 and married Elizabeth of York. They, of course celebrated in grand style at Westminster Abbey. Above is a picture I found online of the wedding of King Henry VII and his queen.
As we all know, Elizabeth was the mother of King Henry VIII, grandmother of Elizabeth I. Although the Tudors ruled for a relatively short period of time, I am always amazed at how much they managed to do during their reign.