History Timeline – The Tudors

1485 Henry VII


Henry VII (Henry Tudor) was the first of the Tudor monarchs and had a claim to the throne through his mother, Margaret Beaufort who was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt (son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault).

Henry’s Lancastrian forces defeated those of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and Richard III was killed. Henry seized the throne and married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York, represented in the Tudor Rose.

1509 Henry VIII


Henry VIII acceded to the throne after his father died in 1509 and his older brother, Prince Arthur, had already died. He married Prince Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, and is known for having six wives.

Henry VIII’s six wives were:-

  • Catherine of Aragon – Divorced
  • Anne Boleyn – Beheaded
  • Jane Seymour – Died
  • Anne of Cleves – Divorced
  • Catherine Howard – Beheaded
  • Catherine Parr – Survived

He had three legitimate children who all became monarchs – Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

1547 Edward VI


Edward VI came to the throne on his father’s death but never reached maturity so England was actually ruled by a Regency Council headed first by his uncle, Edward Seymour, and then by John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick.

Edward VI was England’s first Protestant monarch.

He fell ill and died in 1553, naming his cousin Lady Jane Grey as heir to prevent his Catholic sister, Mary, from acceding to the throne.

1553 Lady Jane Grey


Lady Jane Grey is known as “The Nine Day Queen” because she ruled for only 9 days. Her reign was put to an end by Mary I and her supporters.

Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Lord Guilford Dudley, were both charged with treason and executed by Mary I.

Lady Jane Grey is also known for her intelligence and Alison Weir described her as having one of the “finest female minds of the century”.

1553 Mary I


Mary I seized the throne from Lady Jane Grey shortly after the death of her half-brother Edward VI. Mary I was the eldest child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and was a staunch Catholic.

Mary I is known for her persecution of Protestants, giving her the name “Bloody Mary”, for her unpopularity for marrying Philip of Spain and for the loss of Calais, the last remaining English outpost.

1558 Elizabeth I


Elizabeth I acceded to the throne on the death of her half-sister Mary I. Elizabeth was Henry’s second child and her mother was the infamous Anne Boleyn who was executed for treason when Elizabeth was just two years old.

Elizabeth inherited a weak and ruined country but was able to turn it around and her reign is known as “The Golden Age”.

Elizabeth I was the last of the Tudor monarchs.

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