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The Tudors reigned from 1485 until 1603. There were 5 crowned monarchs and Lady Jane Grey reigned as Queen for just 9 days. The Tudor kings and queens were very powerful and they are noted for the numbers of people executed during the period.

Henry VII came to the throne after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He was a serious man and faced many challenges to his place on the throne, the most notable being from Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. He married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV uniting the houses of Lancaster and York and ending the Wars of the Roses. Henry successfully established the Tudor dynasty and when he died in 1509, his son’s succession was not challenged and England was a rich and prosperous country.



Henry VIII is the best known of the Tudor Monarchs, he was the second son of Henry VII and became King because his brother, Arthur had died. He married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon when he became King, but divorced her when she did not produce a male heir to the throne. In order to gain his divorce, Henry had to establish the Church of England and end Catholicism. Henry went on to marry another five wives – Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr. Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were executed for treason. He died in 1547.


Edward VI came to the throne at the age of 10 years. He was a sickly child and the country was run by his protectors: firstly, the Duke of Somerset, his mother’s brother, then by the Duke of Northumberland. Edward died at the age of 16 in 1553.


Lady Jane Grey was chosen to be Queen by the Duke of Northumberland in an attempt to keep England a Protestant country. Next in the line of succession was Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary. Mary was a Catholic and had sworn to return England to Catholicism. The public did not approve of Jane’s succession and supported Mary’s claim to the throne. Queen Jane reigned for just 9 days before Mary successfully took the throne. Jane and her husband, Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland, were beheaded.



Mary I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and was a committed Catholic. When she came to the throne she vowed to return England to Rome and Catholicism. She is known as Bloody Mary because of the numbers of people who were executed for being Protestants. She made herself even more unpopular by marrying Philip of Spain and losing Calais, England’s last possession in France. Mary died in 1558, probably of cancer of the womb.


Elizabeth I became Queen after her sister Mary I died without an heir. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She upheld Protestantism in England and her will was the law. She did not marry and was known as the Virgin Queen. During Elizabeth’s reign the age of exploration began with explorers such as Francis Drake claiming new lands for England and introducing new materials and foods. The American State, Virginia, is named after her. When Elizabeth died in 1603 the Tudor line ended.


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