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Henry Tudor Emerges Victorious at the Battle of Bosworth

Battle of Bosworth by Philip James de Loutherbourg

Today on August 22, 1485, Henry Tudor emerges victorious at the Battle of Bosworth, ending the long and bloody War of the Roses.

The Battle of Bosworth was a major conflict between the young Henry Tudor and the despised King Richard III. It was the last significant battle of the 30-year war between England’s two leading royal families. In 1455, the Wars of the Roses started when Richard, Duke of York, tried to seize the crown from King Henry VI; one of the weakest and most incompetent monarchs. Richard defeated and captured the king at the First Battle of St Albans in 1460. A few months later, Henry’s wife, Queen Margaret of Anjou, retaliated by killing Richard of York at the Battle of Wakefield. The next year, Richard’s son Edward took revenge by annihilating the Lancasterian forces at Towton. On March 4, 1461, Edward IV was crowned King of England and ruled over the country for more than two decades.

In 1483, Edward suddenly died and named his 12-year-old son Edward as his successor. The king’s will stated that his brother Richard serves as Lord Protectorate until his son was of age. Richard and the king’s council immediately butted heads for power. In response, Richard had his two young nephews imprisoned and eventually killed in the Tower of London. On June 23, 1483, Richard III was named King of England. This initiated a new period of mistrust as most of the English nobility feared their new king. Because of the endless wars, male heirs from the Houses of Lancaster and York were virtually eliminated. As a result, Margaret Beauford boldly claimed that her son Henry Tudor was the rightful King of England; it was an extremely risky move.

Henry Tudor was the half brother of former King Henry VI and several nobles supported his cause. On August 7, 1485, Henry landed in Wales with troops from France. He marched northeastward recruiting local soldiers to support his claim. Two weeks later, Richard III and Henry Tudor clashed at the Battle of Bosworth. The King’s army outnumbered Henry’s by almost two to one. However, there was one important wild card; Lord Stanley had promised support to both sides. In the thick of the battle, Stanley made his decision. He charged alongside his 3,000 troops to the aid of Henry. King Richard was cut down and killed. The Battle of Bosworth led to the minor noble House of Tudor ascending to royal status with Henry VII becoming the new King of England.


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