Select a Timeline:
Henry VII Timeline
Birth of Henry Tudor – January 28, 1457
Henry Tudor born at Pembroke Castle to Margaret Beaufort. Henry’s father, Edmund Tudor, died a few months earlier after a brief imprisonment by the Yorkists.
Henry’s Mother Remarries – January 3, 1458
Margaret Beaufort married 3rd husband Sir Henry Stafford after her mourning period for Edmund was complete. Margaret and her new husband lived at Bourne Castle in Lincolnshire while her son Henry Tudor stayed at Pembroke Castle with his uncle Jasper Tudor. Margaret’s first marriage contract was made when she was only 5 years old. She was to marry her ward’s son, John de la Pole, but the contract was declared null and void soon thereafter by papal dispensation on the basis that they were too closely related.
Battle of Towton – March 29, 1461
Edward IV defeated Henry VI and the bloody Battle of Towton on March 29, 1461. Henry VI fled for safety in Scotland while the new Yorkist king set his sights on putting down any other claimants to the throne, especially Margaret Beaufort and her Lancastrian relatives. Margaret realized the danger and fled with her husband, son, and brother-in-law Jasper Tudor to the protection of Pembroke Castle.
Pembroke Castle Falls to Edward IV – September 30, 1461
Edward IV’s man Sir William Herbert besieged the Tudors at Pembroke Castle and they surrendered peacefully. Edward IV granted the wardship of 4-year-old Henry Tudor to Herbert and he was taken to Raglan Castle to be raised.
Margaret Beaufort Visited Henry at Raglan Castle – September 1, 1467
In September 1467, Margaret Beaufort visited her son Henry Tudor for one week at Raglan Castle – six years after he was taken away from Jasper.
Readeption of King Henry VI – October 13, 1470
With Warwick and Clarence in full rebellion of Edward IV’s rule, they sailed from France and invaded England with a large fleet of 60 French ships. Instead of facing them, King Edward IV fled to the Netherlands and the protection of his sister, Mary of Burgundy. King Henry VI’s readeption coronation took place on October 13, 1470. Later in October Jasper brought Henry Tudor to London to be reunited with his mother. On October 27th, Margaret took 13-year-old Henry Tudor to meet his uncle, King Henry VI, for the first time, then they spent 1-2 weeks together before Henry left his mother to rejoin Jasper and travel back to Wales.
Yorkists Take Back Control and Force Henry into Exile – May 4, 1471
The Lancastrian forces, reduced greatly by the loss at Barnet three weeks earlier, were no match for Edward IV’s army at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Edward not only won the battle but also managed to kill Henry VI’s son and sole heir, Prince Edward of Lancaster. Henry VI was taken prisoner and executed May 21, 1471. Jasper and Henry fled Pembroke Castle, heading east to the harbor town of Tenby, and hiring a boat to take them to France where King Louis XI would support them. Rough weather forced them off course and they landed in the independent French duchy of Brittany instead. Duke Francis welcomed them to his palace of Château de l’Hermine. Although they lived comfortably, Henry was in constant fear that the Duke would buckle to Edward IV’s pressure to turn him and his uncle Jasper over to England.
Château de Suscinio – October 1, 1472
Jasper and Henry were moved to the beautiful but secluded Château de Suscinio, a pleasure palace for nobles, where they could indulge their love of hunting and could fish in the nearby Atlantic Ocean. They lived here for only one year.
Henry and Jasper Separated – January 1, 1474
Edward IV was putting the pressure on Duke Francis to turn over the Tudors so for their own protection, the duke sent them to separate locations more inland than Suscino. Jasper was sent to the Château de Josselin and Henry was sent to the Château de Largoët.
Henry Narrowly Escapes Edward IV – Winter of 1476
In the Winter of 1476, after five years of retaining the Tudors, Duke Francis relented to English demands and agreed to release Henry. Edward’s men escorted Henry to St. Malo where they would board a ship to England. Henry managed to escape and fled through the narrow streets all the while being pursued by Edward’s men, and found himself in a church cathedral where he could claim sanctuary (Edward’s armed men were not allowed in). After three days in hiding, Henry slipped out and made his way back to Brittany where the Duke apologized profusely and reaffirmed his allegiance to protect the Tudors. Henry and Jasper were reunited at the Chateau L’Hermine in the coastal town of Vannes where they would remain for the rest of their exile in Brittany.
Margaret Beaufort Negotiates A Deal – June 3, 1482
Margaret Beaufort wanted to bring her son home to England so she negotiated a contract with King Edward wherein the king agreed to pardon Henry and restore his title (earl Richmond). The deal also included a marriage agreement – Henry Tudor would marry Edward’s daughter, Elizabeth of York. The contract was later drafted and Margaret was confident she would soon be reunited with her son.
King Edward IV Dies – April 9, 1483
King Edward died on April 9, 1483 at only 40 years of age. The cause of his death is not known for sure. It was likely due to his unhealthy lifestyle but there is also a theory that he was poisoned by the Woodvilles. Edawrd took the throne when he was only 18 years old and like most youths, he loved to have a good time, especially with women. Toward the end of his life, his days of soldiering and hard living had clearly taken their toll.
Richard coronated as King of England – July 6, 1483
By mid-May 1483, popular support was building for Richard to help rule England after his brother Edward’s unexpected death. On May 14, 1483 he was named Protector of the Realm until Prince Edward’s coming of age. But in the next month, his plans turned sinister. He cancelled Prince Edwards coronation that was scheduled for June 22, 1483. Next he executed the queen’s brother Anthony Woodville and her son Richard Grey for treason. Then his final blow was having Edward IV’s and Elizabeth Woodville’s children ruled illegitimate due to an alleged marital pre-contract Edward made before he met Elizabeth Woodville. Richard had himself coronated as King of England on July 6, 1483.
Richard III’s son, Edward of Middleham, invested as Prince of Wales – September 8, 1483
In an effort to secure his reign, Richard III invested his only child, Edward of Middleham, as Prince of Wales on September 8, 1483. This was the traditional title invested on the heir apparent of the English thrown.
Henry Tudor Vows to Marry Elizabeth of York – December 25, 1483
On this day Henry Tudor vowed to marry Elizabeth of York, uniting the warring factions of York and Lancaster. Momentum had been building for Henry Tudor (in exile in Brittany) since Richard III usurped the throne from his nephews. Henry and Jasper were being joined at the Chateau L’Hermine in the coastal town of Vannes by a growing number of English exiles. Henry was active in writing letters to those he hoped to bring over to his side. One such letter survives:
“Right trusty, worshipful and honourable good friends, I greet you well. Being given to understand your good devoir and entreaty to advance me to the furtherance of my rightful claim, due and lineal inheritance of that crown and for the just depriving of that homicide and unnatural tyrant which now unjustly bears dominion over you, I give you to understand that no Christian heart can be more full of joy and gladness than the heart of me, your poor exiled friend, who will, upon the instant of your sure advertising what power you will make ready and what captains and leaders you get to conduct, be prepared to pass over the sea with such force as my friends here are preparing for me. And if I have such good speed and success as I wish, according to your desire, I shall ever be most forward to remember and wholly to requite this your great and moving loving kindness in my just quarrel. Given under our signet H
I pray you to give credence to the messenger of that he shall impart to you.”
Richard III’s son, Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales died – April 9, 1484
The only child and heir of King Richard III died on April 9, 1484 at the age of 10 years old. The cause of his death is unknown. Some accounts say that he was taken sick and died very quickly, as if from the flu or plague, but other sources say that he was always a sickly child with a delicate constitution.
Richard almost catches Henry Tudor – September 1484
While Duke Francis of Brittany was ill, his treasurer Pierre Landais made a deal with king Richard to turn over Henry Tudor. Henry was tipped off and escaped to France before he could be captured. When the duke found out, he was irate with his treasurer and compensated Henry by paying for all of his exiles in Vannes to travel to Henry’s new location in France where he would make preparations to invade England.
Richard issued public proclamations against Henry “Tydder” – December 7, 1484
On December 7, 1484, King Richard III issued a public proclamation against Henry Tudor and his court of exiles in France who were becoming a very serious threat to Richard’s reign. Here is an excerpt from the proclamation:
“Rebels and traitors disabled and attainted by authority of the high Court of parliament” also being accused of being “open murderers, adulterers, and extortioners contrary to truth, honour and nature” in addition to abusing “and blind the commons of this said realm of the said rebels and traitors have chosen to be their Captain one Henry late calling himself Earl of Richmond which of his ambitious and insatiable covetousness stirred and excited by the confederacy of the King’s said rebels and traitors encroacheth upon him the name and title of the Royal estate of this Realm of England. Whereunto he hath no manner, interest, righ or colour as every man well knoweth. And to the intent to achieve the same by the aid, support and assistance of the king’s said ancient enemies and of this his Council of France to give up and release in perpetuity all the title and claim that Kings of England have had and ought to have to the Crown and Realm of France.”
Queen Anne Neville died – March 16, 1485
Richard III’s queen consort, Anne Neville, died on March 16, 1485. The exact cause of death is not known, however, records indicate that she was ill for several months and that Richard was advised by his doctors to avoid her for fear of catching her illness. Anne was the youngest daughter of the earl of Warwick.