The Tudor family tree is made up of the prominent European family that ruled England and Ireland from 1485 through 1603. The Tudor family came into power with Henry VII and ended over 100 years later with Queen Elizabeth I.
The Tudor dynasty, also known as the House of Tudor, had a total of six monarchs during their era of nearly 120 years. The Tudor monarchy began with Henry Tudor, a descendant from the royal House of Lancaster through his mother's ancestry. The last Tudor monarch was Elizabeth I of England.
Tudor Family Tree
Most people studying the Tudor family tree are concerned with the six monarchs of England, their spouses, and their children. The following names and dates may help you as you study the Tudors.
King Henry VII was born on January 28th, 1457 to Edmund Tudor the 1st (Earl of Richmond) and Lady Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III through John of Gaunt (the Duke of Lancaster). Henry VII married Elizabeth of York in 1486 and had four children, who survived infancy. Henry VII is at the top of the Tudor family tree with his wife Elizabeth of York on his right. Underneath Henry VII and Elizabeth are their four surviving children with their spouses as follows:
- Arthur Tudor-Prince of Wales, married to Catherine of Aragon of Spain, died before he could have children and take the throne
- Henry Tudor, also known as King Henry VIII, famous for his many marriages described in the next section
- Margaret, who married James IV of Scotland and had one son who carried on the family lineage - Eventually her great-grandson would become King James I after the death of Elizabeth I.
- Mary, who married Louis XII of France and had several children who continued the Tudor family line
Henry Tudor, born in 1491, became successor to the throne at the death of his elder brother Arthur. Henry VII felt it was important to keep the alliance with Spain and received special permission for Henry to marry Arthurs' widowed wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry became King Henry VIII at the death of his father in 1509. Catherine of Aragon did not bear Henry VIII any surviving sons, just a daughter named Mary. Henry VIII, realizing the Tudor dynasty was at risk without a male heir, fought for a divorce in a long legal battle with the Catholic Church. Rumor also has it that he was tired of his elderly wife Catherine of Aragon and was interested in one of the Boleyn sisters. During this legal battle, the English parliament enacted laws to break ties with Rome and Catholicism so that Henry VIII could marry Anne Boleyn. A daughter, Elizabeth, was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in 1532. Anne Boleyn was later executed due to accusations that she was committing adultery as well as witchcraft. Henry married a total of six times, and the Tudor family tree consists of the following people connected with Henry VIII:
- Wife: Catherine of Aragon, who had a daughter, Mary (who became Queen Mary I)
- Wife: Anne Boleyn, who had a daughter, Elizabeth (became Queen Elizabeth I)
- Wife: Jane Seymour, who died of puerperal fever and had a son, Edward (became King Edward VI)
- Wife: Anne of Cleves, whom Henry VII divorced
- Wife: Catherine Howard, who was beheaded for adultery
- Wife: Catherine Parr, who was Henry VII's surviving spouse at his death in 1547
Edward, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, became King Edward VI at the age of 9 when his father passed away in 1547. While he was still a child, his uncle, the Duke of Somerset, took over the throne. In 1953 Edward VI became ill, and wrote his will so that Lady Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor would take the throne at his death.
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey was born to Mary Tudor and Louis XII of France, but due to religious controversy she was Queen for only nine days. Lady Jane Grey was removed from the throne and replaced by Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and first wife Catherine of Aragon. Lady Jane Grey was executed and did not have any children to continue the family tree. Some historians do not count Lady Jane Grey as one of the Tudor family tree, since her reign was only nine days.
Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine Aragon, became queen after Lady Jane Grey's nine day occupation of the throne. Mary I married Prince Phillip of Spain but was unable to produce an heir due to their limited time together. Mary I is often referred to as Bloody Mary due to her execution of Protestants in her attempt to restore Catholicism to England. Mary died in 1558 without having children.
Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, inherited the throne at the death of Mary I. Elizabeth I never married and did not have any children. At her death in 1603, James VI, son of Margaret Queen of Scots and great-great-grandson of Henry VII, became king.
The rich and intriguing history of the Tudor family has been chronicled in books and movies. If you want to learn more about their family tree check out the following: