Today I’m going to talk to you about Henry Tudor. He was born in Wales at Pembrokeshire Castle in 1457 but he grew up in France. His father Edmund Tudor died shortly after his birth. His mother at the time was only 13 years old. So then his Uncle Jasper had the responsibility for looking after him, Jasper fled with Henry to France after the Lancastrian defeat in 1471. Henry Tudor was a Welshman so the question is how did he become king of England? Well this is what I’ll be focusing on today. Did being welsh help him win the throne? That is the question I want to answer by the end of today! This essay is going to explain the reasons behind how a Welshman became king of England and examine which of the reasons were most important.
Henry Tudor had a distant relation to Edward III which is what gave him a chance of becoming king in the first place. But this relation was from his English mother Margaret Beaufort. His distant relation played a very big part in him becoming king. His family was on the side of the Lancastrians. His distant relation was important because without any royal blood or claim he would have a very low chance in becoming king.
The French king had given Richard enough money for him to pay 5000 soldiers to fight for him at the battle of bosworth against Henry. This also played a very big part in Henry becoming king. This is because without soldiers or troops he wouldn’t have been able to invade .He would have had to find another way of claiming the throne. He wouldn’t have even got those 2000 soldiers from Rhys Ap Thomas which I will talk about later. This is because Rhys only supported him when he heard about the fact that Henry had 5000 soldiers and that he was really powerful. Then those 3000 soldiers he got from Stanley wouldn’t exist either because Stanley only supported because he saw how Richard s men were scared of Henry and how Henry was winning.
Then with his 5000 soldiers he landed Dale west Wales near where he was born. This was important because it gave him more time and as he travelled he picked up more soldiers. There was one problem with this though because there were no cars or buses at the time. So he had to march 5000 soldiers and the extras up and down those long steep hills. Then feed them accommodate them get them prepared for the battle and so on.
Henry had been hearing rumours that Rhys Ap Thomas a very powerful man might support him. So using their messengers they arranged to meet up and talk. It was only when Rhys saw that Henry did actually have lots of soldiers and support that Rhys decided to support him.This is because Wales was ruled by England so if Henry didn’t win the battle and Rhys had been supporting him. Then Rhys didn’t have very much chance of living for Richard would be king. Rhys had 2000 soldiers so altogether they had 7000 soldiers while Richard had 10000 soldiers. Also it has been said it was Rhys that actually gave the final blow and killed Richard.
The Welsh believed Henry was the son of prophecy. As I said before Rhys was a very important man. Since he started supporting Henry because of his power he got bards to go around telling everyone that there was a new king coming to save them from the rule of England. A bard is someone who composes epic and heroic poems. This helped Henry because it gave him more support and popularity and people would feed his troops and accommodate them.
After Henrys father Edmund Tudor had died his mother Margaret married Thomas Stanley (Lord Stanley). Richard had kidnapped Stanley’s son to make him support Richard. Stanley wanted to support Henry but he also wanted his son. Stanley had 3000 soldiers he had stayed back and watched the battle until he decided to support Henry. He decided to support Henry because he saw Richards’s men betraying him because they were scared of henrys men but it was still a close fight. It was definite that whoever s side Stanley went on would win. Stanley himself took the crown of dead Richard and crowned Henry. I think the most important reason was probably his distant relation to Edward III. I don’t think being welsh played a very big part in his claim to the throne maybe about 40 %.