Born in Pembroke castle, 28 January 1457, posthumous son of Edmund Tudor by Margaret Beaufort, sole inheritrix of the Lancastrian claim to the throne, and nephew of Jasper Tudor. Henry was descended through his grandfather, Owain Tudur, from former Welsh royal families; these ties were reinforced by his marriage, on 18 January 1486, with Elizabeth of York, herself a lineal descendant of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, and of the Mortimer family.
Henry spent his early years in Wales, mainly under the tutelage of his uncle, Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke. After the final Lancastrian disaster of 1471, Henry and Jasper fled to Brittany where they remained until the epochmaking landing at Milford Haven 7 August 1485. The subsequent dramatic march to Shrewsbury led to the decisive victory of Bosworth, 22 August when Richard III, the last Yorkist monarch, is killed, and Henry proclaimed king in his place.
It was now felt that Wales had recovered her old independence as foreordained in the vaticinations of the bards. Though he barely set foot in Wales after his accession, the king was not unmindful of his Welsh associations, and particular of his indebtedness to the men of South Wales. If only three Welshmen are known to have attained really responsible office near the king's person, Welsh courtiers were very numerous, and at one time included one Henry's Tudor cousins, and a reputed natural son, Roland Velville, who was in time settled with land and office in Anglesey. There is a copy of Roland Velville's will, dated 6 June 1535, in N.L.W. MS. 1600, p. 94.
If for no other reason, preoccupation with problems of dynastic security prevented the emergence during this reign of a distinctively Welsh policy. Trends foreshadowing the union of England and Wales were largely fortuitous; this respect the activities of the already existing Council for Wales, the rehabilitation of the customary revenue, and a new vigour in fiscal matters pointed the way to the developments of the next reign. Even the series of charters emancipating considerable numbers of Welshmen from outmoded customs and penal restrictions were almost certainly solicited, and merely recognized accomplished facts.
He died at Richmond 21 April 1509.
Published date: 1959
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