Fact of the day: 2nd February

On this day in 1461 Owen Tudor died. Owen Tudor was a Welsh soldier and courtier. He is particularly remembered for his role in founding England’s Tudor dynasty – including his relationship with, and his secret marriage to, Catherine of France, widow of King Henry V of England.

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Owen Tudor became an early casualty of the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487) between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. On 2 February 1461, as a man of advanced years, Owen led the Lancastrian forces at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross against Edward, Earl of March. They were defeated. Owen was subsequently beheaded 4 February following at Hereford along with other prisoners, and buried there. He is said to have expected a reprieve because of his relationship with the former royal family. Owen reportedly was not convinced of his approaching death until the collar was ripped off his doublet by the executioner. At this point he is alleged to have said that “the head which used to lie in Queen Catherine’s lap would now lie in the executioner’s basket.”

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