Henry VII

This Day Came the King of Castile

Power and prestige in early modern Europe could turn with a rapidity that almost required belief in the divine for it all to make any sense. Titles, fortunes and crowns could be won or lost on the outcome of a single day’s fighting. The right marriage, the untimely death of an heir or the election of a new Pope could shift the balance of European power as quickly and devastatingly as the […]

The Red Dragon and the House of Tudor

The red dragon against a green and white background is an unambiguous symbol of Wales. But how Welsh are these colours and how ancient is the design? I had always assumed that the Welsh Flag was an ancient design. The green and white stripes have a suitably Celtic feel and are completely alien to the vexillological tradition across the rest of the British Isles. England, Scotland, Ireland and even Cornwall and Devon […]

Henry the Accountant – was there more to Henry VII? 1

Royal sobriquets are often colourful, grandiose or emotive – Ivan the Terrible, Bloody Mary, Good Queen Bess, the Sun King or Suleiman the Magnificent. Some are obscure – William the Silent, the Universal Spider (for Louis XI of France) or John Soft-Sword. But few are as dull as Henry VII – the accountant king. It is true that the founder of the Tudor dynasty earned some racier nicknames – the Huckster King, […]

A “French-style security force” – the origin of the yeomen of the guard

In Thomas Penn’s ‘The Winter King’, Henry VII is depicted as neurotically protecting his precarious grasp on the English throne. On page 20, Penn describes the security measures the new monarch puts in place: “One of his first acts was to create a new French-style security force, three hundred strong: the yeoman of the guard.” The Yeoman of the Guard? French? This was enough to pique my interest and find out more […]

Battlefield regicide

“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD III and RICHMOND; they fight. KING RICHARD III is slain.” – Richard III, William Shakespeare Richard III was slain during the battle of Bosworth Field. He became the last king of England to be killed in battle but was not the only one to suffer this brutal fate. King Harold was slain whilst opposing the Norman invaders and a […]