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  #41  
Old 03-03-2012, 11:13 AM
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Absolutely - Henry VII was a usurper, no dispute about that, which is why he had to whitewash his image. His strain of royal blood was diluted and weak at best. Elizabeth of York, his wife, had better claim to the throne than he which is why he had to marry her to solidify his hold and prevent other potential claimants from marrying her and claiming the throne on her behalf.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:00 AM
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I dont think anyone is denying he was a usurper, but there were many before him and many after him. James II was run out of England and replaces with his own daughter. There are still people who believe the Stuarts are the rightful royals in England not the Windsors.How much claim did Henry Tudor have in comparison to Sophia of Hanover?
Richard III usurped his nephew and whenever they died Elizabeth of York could be argued to have been Queen of England in her own right not her uncle.
I have yet to to see any explanation on how Henry Tudor could have killed Edward and Richard when be was not in the country when they disappeared. Who could he have written to and given the task to kill them? How powerful were his alliances in England that he could have taken part in such conspiracy. He may have had as much reason to want then out of the way, but he doesn't seem to have had the means or access.
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  #43  
Old 08-01-2012, 10:51 AM
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I dont think anyone is denying he was a usurper, but there were many before him and many after him. James II was run out of England and replaces with his own daughter. There are still people who believe the Stuarts are the rightful royals in England not the Windsors.How much claim did Henry Tudor have in comparison to Sophia of Hanover?
Sophia of Hanover had solid claims as a granddaughter of James I and VI of England and Scotland:
James I and VI of England and Scotland -> Elizabeth Stuart -> Sophia, Electress of Hanover.

When the Parliament decreed no Catholic should ever ascend to the Throne, her claims became the strongest. The Parliament didn't select a random person from a royal bloodline - they selected the person highest in the line of succession (based on rules of primogeniture). Now, Sophia actually had 11 elder siblings, most of them alive at the time of the 1701 Act. However, all of them were "unfit" in the eyes of the Parliament because they were either Catholics themselves, or married to ones.


Henry Tudor had no claims whatsoever, apart from his right to the Crown by Conquest.
On his father's side (Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond), he was descended from French Monarchs. Namely, his grandmother Catherine of Valois was the daughter of Charles VI of France. His grandfather, Owen Tudor, was a common soldier whom Catherine may have married.
On his mother's side (Lady Margaret Beaufort), he was indeed descended from English Kings - but through an illegitimate line. Lady Margaret was male-line great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt - Edward III's third surviving son. Her grandfather was John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset - one of the children John of Gaunt had with his mistress, Katherine Swynford. John subsequently married Katherine and those children were legitimised by an Act of Parliament. However, another Act specifically barred those children and their descendants from having any claims to the Throne. Henry's line through Margaret was the following:
Edward III -> John of Gaunt -> John Beaufort -> John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset -> Lady Margaret Beaufort -> Henry Tudor

Now, even assuming the succession rights of the children of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford were reinstated, there were still plenty of other people with better claims, among them, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent. George Grey was also a descendant of John of Gaunt (through legitimate line) through his father:
John of Gaunt -> Elizabeth of Lancaster -> Lady Constance Holland -> Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent -> George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent
He was also descended from John of Gaunt through is mother (through the same illegitimate Beaufort line):
John of Gaunt -> Lady Joan Beaufort -> Lady Eleanor Neville -> Lady Katherine Percy -> George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent

He was also descended from Edward III's second son, Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, thus giving him superior claims:
Edward III -> Lionel of Antwerp -> Philippa Plantagenet -> Lady Elizabeth Mortimer -> Henry Percy -> Lady Katherine Percy -> George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent

The point is, Henry Tudor was as much an usurper as William the Conqueror - someone who claimed the Throne with absolutely no rights to it. Even his troops consisted of foreign mercenaries and not, contrary to the popular myth, of Englishmen tired of Richard's "tyranny". Richard, whom (non-biased, contemporary) historians called the only gentleman on the field, would have won had it not been for the treachery of the Stanley brothers – his one time allies (then again, one of the brothers was married to Lady Margaret Beaufort, so had Richard not been so lenient, he would have foreseen the course of events).

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Richard III usurped his nephew and whenever they died Elizabeth of York could be argued to have been Queen of England in her own right not her uncle.
The usurpation bit is pretty much a myth that arose during the Tudor Era (most notably, in Shakespeare's play). The boys were born during the lifetime of the lady Edward IV had promised to marry (which equalled actual marriage contract at the time) before marrying Elizabeth Woodville, making them illegitimate. But that was not the main problem: remember how the situation was in England at the time - the country was just recovering from the War of Roses, old wound were just starting to heal. Under the circumstances, no one wanted another boy King to reign because some of England's worst pages of history (including the War of Roses) happened because of reigns of under-age Kings and their Regents. Moreover, the reign of Edward V would inevitably mean the Woodvilles behind the Throne - and one thing both Yorks and Lancasters were united in was hatred towards most members of the family (and, given their conduct, that's hardly surprising).


Richard of York was offered the Throne - not usurped it. He was considered a just and wise ruler; he was quite loved and respected - a perfect candidate for Kingship. The myths of evil King Richard appeared because of a highly successful Tudor propaganda, but are not supported by any contemporary facts.

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I have yet to to see any explanation on how Henry Tudor could have killed Edward and Richard when be was not in the country when they disappeared. Who could he have written to and given the task to kill them? How powerful were his alliances in England that he could have taken part in such conspiracy. He may have had as much reason to want then out of the way, but he doesn't seem to have had the means or access.
The young Princes were last seen in 1483 - and Henry Tudor was indeed not at the country at the time. However, hiring someone to kill the Princes would not have been very difficult at all. I suggest you to read about Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham - a one-time ally of Richard's who deserted his side to join Henry Tudor; coincidentally, it happened at approximately the same time the boys were last seen.

Not to mention, Margaret Beaufort - who was very much in England at the time - could have hired someone herself. It is not as far-fetched as it sounds because Margaret was a very wilful person who usually got what she wanted - and she wanted her son to be King.
Elizabeth of York was the Yorkist heiress and would have been heiress to the Throne if there were no questions of her legitimacy. However, a woman on the Throne was, at the time, undesirable for much the same reasons as a boy King; the only previous female claim (Empress Matilda’s) resulted in a bloody and lengthy Civil War.


I’m not stating it as a fact Richard III is innocent – although personally I believe that to be the case. He could have killed his nephews, but such violent actions were very much against his character. It was, however, very much in Henry Tudor’s character, who executed pretty much every claimant immediately after his accession to the Throne, regardless of their age, status or guilt (or lack of it).
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  #44  
Old 08-05-2012, 08:20 PM
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First let me say it took me so long to respond, because I needed to be at a computer to say what i had to say; not just using my iPod. With that being said, I think we might have different ideas about what a usurper is. Because Sophia of Hanover was descended from a King of England I do not believe that makes her any more or less of a usurper than Henry VII. James II was run out of town and replaced by his own daughters because he had married a Catholic who had given birth to a son. Being a protestant I can't be to sad about what happened to James, but it doesn't change that he was the rightful King of England being the heir to Charles II; the only thing he did wrong was marry a Catholic which got him run out of England. Years later after Mary, William, and Anne were dead; the English pulled some weird voodoo and ended up in Germany picking a woman who was a great great great whatever to a long dead King to prevent the boy who could arguably be called the rightful King of England from coming back and taking what was his. I personally feel that the Hanover situation was more dubious, shady, and questionable than the situation with Henry VII who became King of England by conquest. It might just be my personal view on things, winning the battle field seems more genuine than than back room legal deals. What happened with Sofia of Hanover reminds me a little of the situation in Russia with Mikhail Romanov in 1613 and at the same time I believe Mikhail had a rather lack luster claim to the throne much like Henry VII. I guess to be considered a usurper in my mind, the rightful monarch still has to be alive like with Stephan of England, Isabella of France, and the Hanover's; and in Henry's case the monarch was dead and it could be argued that Richard himself was a usurper.
Now this whole thing about Edward V not rightfully being king because he was declared a bastard, yeah that really doesn't hold much water with me. Perhaps its because of the Tudor stigma and Mary and Elizabeth being thrown back and forth in the bastard pile. Or maybe it is because he, his brother and sisters were declared bastards by a man who wanted to be king himself. Either way in my mind Richard stole the crown from his nephew who was the rightful king, the fact that he was a child or that England feared being ruled by a child doesn't change the fact that once Edward IV was dead Edward V was the king, and Richard took the crown from him. Was Richard alone in history of doing this, of course not, but in my mind the battle of Bosworth was one usurper being usurped by a conquering King.
Lastly about the deaths of Edward and Richard in The Tower, Henry VII or his mother could have written letters to somebody somewhere and asked them to kill the boys, but I still have a hard time swallowing the idea that a man who was living in France or one lone woman living in the country side could somehow find somebody to trust to write to, then find somebody who might know somebody who could get them into the Tower of London, kill the boys, dig a whole in a wall, put the bodies in, and then fill the hole back up.
Perhaps it is my lack of imagination, but I believe the boys had to be killed by someone who was in the country at the time of their disappearance and who was powerful enough to have access to The Tower and help disposing of the bodies. That leaved Richard as a possibility and lately the Duke of Buckingham as a higher possibility, but with the Duke their is the question of what he hoped to gain by killing them and who did he think it would satisfy.
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  #45  
Old 08-06-2012, 07:51 AM
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I agree we have different ideas, and I respect your opinion. Thanks for sharing the very interesting observations.

In regards to Margaret Beaufort - she was far from being a lone woman in the countryside. By virtue of her first two marriages, she was an extremely wealthy woman in her own right, who constantly plotted against Richard. Now, when one of those plots (to murder him, no less) was uncovered, Richard had every right to execute her for treason - all the more because she was the mother of Henry Tudor. Instead, he merely confiscated Margaret's lands and possessions - and gave them to her third husband, Lord Stanley (which, in my opinion, tells a lot about Richard's character). That same Lord Stanley would go on to betray Richard during the Battle of Bosworth Field, effectively giving victory to Henry Tudor, who was highly unlikely to win otherwise. Margaret would definitely not find it difficult to find someone to murder the Princes; a prison guard, a servant or other similarly positioned person could have easily been bribed.

As for the Duke of Buckingham, he could have killed the Princes both for his own gain, and to "please" someone. Now, the person he might have tried to pleases could have been either Richard III, or Henry Tudor. Buckingham had been a long-time supporter of Richard but changed allegiance shortly before he Princes' disappearance; his correspondence suggests that by that time he joined the Tudors. As for personal gain - he was a descendant of John of Gaunt himself, and had at least as much rights to the Throne as Henry Tudor himself.

I would have agreed with you about the right of conquest, had it not been for the fact Henry Tudor's troops were foreign mercenaries, and he won the battle through treachery. As for Sophia of Hanover, she was a granddaughter of English King; her rights were not dissimilar to, say, Princess Beatrice's right now.

i would just like to add one more reason why the nobility, the Parliament and people in general so easily accepted Richard on the Throne instead of the rightful heir, Edward V (and they did accept him with open arms, contrary to Shakespeare's portrayal): it had long been suggested Edward IV himself was, in fact, illegitimate. Those rumours were afloat even during Edward IV's reign; in fact, upon learning of Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, his own mother is said to have suggested to declare him a "bastard" and remove from the Throne. While that story may or may not have been true, it certainly did reflect the opinion of the time. What is a fact, however, is that Richard of York was away during the time Edward was conceived: during the month Edward was conceived, The Duke of York was away on a campaign. Moreover, the couple's own attitude towards their children indicated Edward could be illegitimate; for instance, the christening of their second son, Edmund, was an extensive and lavish affair, whereas the christening of Edward took place in a private chapel and was a very low-key affair. Edward certainly did not resemble Richard of York in any way.
Whatever the truth, Titulus Regius contained interesting reference to Richard as being "the undoubted son and heir" of Richard, 3rd Duke of York born "in this land" (Edward was born in France). Richard himself never questioned his brother's legitimacy because that would also mean accusing his own mother of adultery - and Richard was a loyal son (and brother, for that matter).

I have to note, however, that Edward (whether legitimate or not) could have still claim the Throne much in the same way Henry Tudor - by right of conquest, having defeated Henry VI. Moreover, he was a descendant of John of Gaunt through his mother, giving him claims at least as strong as those of Henry Tudor.
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  #46  
Old 11-04-2012, 05:39 PM
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One thing that annoys me about some ricardians is the tendency to completely demonise Richard's opponents, especially Henry VII, Margaret Beaufort, and Elizabeth Woodville. I find it rather hypocritical, seeing as their main complaint is that Richard has been portrayed as a complete monster without redeeming qualities. Personally, I think Richard's an interesting figure, but I don't buy into the the extreme white-washing perpetuated by parts of the Richard III Society. In fact, I would argue that the real maligned figure these days is Henry VII, whereas Richard is nearly always the favoured one in, say, historical fiction.* What I really miss in this debate is shades of gray. Richard was a ruthless man, as was Henry, but I don't think either of them were one-dimensional villains (or heroes).

*There's even a novel that has Henry rape Elizabeth of York before their wedding in order to test if she's a virgin. Like it or not, the sources we have indicate that Henry and Elizabeth loved each other, so whatever Henry might have been, he was not a cruel husband.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:51 PM
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I was surprised when I read that Henry VII's mother gave birth to Henry when she was only 13. I'd never known that before. Were young births common in Tudor times?
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  #48  
Old 11-04-2012, 07:32 PM
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I was surprised when I read that Henry VII's mother gave birth to Henry when she was only 13. I'd never known that before. Were young births common in Tudor times?
Not births that young, no. While it was very normal to have your first child in your late teens, Margaret would still have been considered very young (as far as I'm aware, anyway). Child marriages were quite common, at least with the higher-ups in society, but it was normal for consummation to not happen until years later, when the girl was physically mature. Henry's birth probably left Margaret sterile, because she was simply too small to give birth. Poor girl.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:20 AM
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I was surprised when I read that Henry VII's mother gave birth to Henry when she was only 13. I'd never known that before. Were young births common in Tudor times?
It was in fact pretty common.
Early marriages were the norm, not exception, and while most couples chose to wait until the young wife was at least 15, some became mothers a lot earlier.

An example from a slightly earlier times, but Philip II of France married hi wife, Isabella of Hainaut, when she was only 10. Because she didn't become pregnant straight away, Philip considered repudiating her (essentially, annulling the marriage) - Isabella was only 14 at the time. She "finally" had a child at 17, to the relief of everyone.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:00 PM
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Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother, gave birth to him when she was only 12. She later said that complications from that resulted in her never having another child.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:47 PM
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13 was, none the less, still considered a young age to become a mother, even when Henry VII was born. While girls could legally be married as early as 12,* it was still considered very normal for there not to be a baby until years later (sometimes consummation would even be put off). So most kings (although the Isabella of Hainault example took place 300 years before and in a different country) would probably not consider getting rid of their queens if they did not get pregnant at 14. In the case of Margaret, she was her late father's only child and heiress to a great fortune, so there would've been great interest in marrying her and producing an heir as soon as possible. So the average woman would not have given birth that early. In Tudor times, it was normal for middle class women to have their first child in their mid 20's.

*Children even younger than that could technically be married off to each other, but such marriages were easy to annul, if need be.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:22 PM
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Owen Tudor married Katherine of Valois, widow of Henry V.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:27 PM
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And Mary I was engaged to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor when she was 5, but ended up marrying his son instead many years later...
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:08 AM
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Fantastic debate, loved reading it :) I do have to say that it is possible Margaret Beaufort is definately a contender for being involved in the deaths of the Princes in the Tower, she was powerful and ruthless, and her Husband (as mentioned) was also very powerful. The more you learn about Richard III (while certainly not a saint), the less likely you are to think he was involved, as he was exceptionally loyal to his brother.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:25 AM
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I had also read that the Duke of Buckingham, a descendant from the Plantagenet line, had motive to murder the Princes in the Tower since he felt he had a legitimate claim to the throne. A fascinating discussion in this thread.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:50 AM
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The Duke of Buckingham had exactly the same claims to the Throne as Henry Tudor; he was a descendant of John of Gaunt through his legitimised children (although those children, along with any of their descendants, were barred from ever ascending to the Throne by an Act of Parliament).
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:32 PM
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Hi,

Fascinating history here; but all this intrigue and drama certainly leaves me happy that I wasn't alive then and considered a claimant to any throne(s) or inheritance...

The old movie, "The Tower of London" concerns part of this history; and while a little more than overly dramatic, it is interesting in its take that Richard was a villain...

Larry
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:51 AM
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Fantastic debate, loved reading it :) I do have to say that it is possible Margaret Beaufort is definately a contender for being involved in the deaths of the Princes in the Tower, she was powerful and ruthless, and her Husband (as mentioned) was also very powerful. The more you learn about Richard III (while certainly not a saint), the less likely you are to think he was involved, as he was exceptionally loyal to his brother.
Very interesting. I never considered the possibility that it was Margaret Beaufort, but she was determined about her son becoming king, so it does seem plausible.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:11 PM
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Yes, Margaret Beaufort was rich, ruthless and boasted a claim, albeit a thin one through an illegitimate line, to the English throne. She was extremely supportive of her son's path to the throne, and threw all her resources behind him to that end. She most likely would not have tolerated any obstacle which the young princes would have presented. She's always been a strong factor in my mind in their deaths.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:55 PM
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Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby was born on May 31st,1443.

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