Fact of the day: 18th January

On this day in 1486 King Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. This is a major event in English history because; Henry cemented his claim to the throne thus ending the Wars of the Roses. Henry won the throne when his forces defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the political upheavals of the civil wars. He founded the Tudor dynasty and, after a reign of nearly 24 years, was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.

The marriage unified the warring houses and gave his children a strong claim to the throne. The unification of the houses of York and Lancaster by this marriage is symbolised by the heraldic emblem of the Tudor rose, a combination of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster.

official-tudor-rose-hi

Henry secured his crown principally by dividing and undermining the power of the nobility, especially through the aggressive use of bonds and recognisances to secure loyalty. He also enacted laws against livery and maintenance, the great lords’ practice of having large numbers of “retainers” who wore their lord’s badge or uniform and formed a potential private army.

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