King Henry VII
King Henry VIII
King Edward VI
Lady Jane Grey
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603)

As a young girl, Elizabeth lived in fear of her life and considered a threat by her sister Mary for being a Protestant; so as queen she was a strong and formidable ruler, dealing very firmly with anyone who disagreed with her

Her religion and relationships with other countries led to war with Spain but she is still regarded by many historians to be the greatest English Monarch ever

She ruled over an England that was stronger and wealthier than it had been for hundreds of years; the major world power of the time

Having died without children, the Tudor Dynasty ended with Elizabeth I

King Henry VII (Reigned 1485 1509)

King Henry VIII (Reigned 1509 1547) Son of Henry VII

King Edward VI (Reigned 1547 1553) Son of Henry VIII

Lady Jane Grey (Reigned 1553 (9 days) Great-granddaughter of Henry VII

Queen Mary I (Reigned 1553 1558) Eldest daughter of Henry VIII

Queen Elizabeth I (Reigned 1558 1603) Second daughter of Henry VIII

The House of Tudor was a series of six monarchs who ruled England, Wales and Ireland from 1485-1603

Three of them - Henry VII, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, all played important roles in transforming a weak country into the powerful Nation that would dominate much of the world for centuries

The period between 1558 and 1603 is usually treated separately as the 'Elizabethan Era'

Catherine of Aragon
William Shakespeare
Catherine of Aragon (Queen from 11 June 1509 - 23 May 1533)

This marriage was organized by Henry VII a short time before he died, because it was very important for Henry to keep an alliance between England and Spain

Catherine gave birth to Mary but Henry wanted a son to continue the House of Tudor and Catherine was not able to provide him with one

This led to Catherine being divorced, banished from Court, and separated from her daughter; consequently dying from a broken heart, four years later

Henry VIII's main motive for marriage was for a male heir to ensure the continuance of the
House of Tudor
, and he would go to any lengths to achieve this

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King Henry VII (28 January 1457 - 21 April 1509)

Henry VII became king of England in 1485 when he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field; ending a civil war known as the War of the Roses and establishing the Tudor dynasty

A very shrewd King, he turned a poor, weak, divided country into a very rich and powerful one; bringing stability and law and order back to England

He married Elizabeth of York, to prevent the House of York challenging his power; betrothed his daughter to King James of Scotland; arranged the marriage between his son Arthur, and Catherine of Aragon, and when Arthur died, arranged that she then married his next heir apparent, (Henry VIII)

King Henry VIII (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547)

Was probably the most famous, or infamous King that England has ever had, being only 17 when crowned, he was an energetic fun loving King

Very popular with his subjects, one of his first acts was to reduce the level of taxation that his father had imposed and to have the tax officials executed

When his first wife was not able to produce a male heir and the Pope would not permit a divorce, Henry created a new Protestant religion, the 'Church of England', made himself Head of it, and divorced her anyway

He married six times in all, Six Wives of Henry VIII







King Edward VI (12 October 1537 - 6 July 1553)

Edward never ruled the country himself; his uncle, the Duke of Somerset, governed as regent because Edward was so young; dying of tuberculosis, aged 15

His uncle had great hopes of ensuring the dominance of the new protestant religion which was in stark contrast to Edward's sister Mary, who was a devout Catholic as a result of her mother being Spanish, (Catherine of Aragon)

Both Edward and his advisers were devoted protestants and made many changes to church services, introducing a new English prayer book


















Lady Jane Grey (16 October 1537 - 12 February 1554)

Edward VI was persuaded to change the succession and leave the crown to Lady Jane Grey; ensuring the continuation of the protestant religion by preventing the succession of the Henry VIII's Catholic daughter, Mary Tudor

But she reigned for just nine days as Mary Tudor claimed the throne with great popular support and Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London

Her subsequent execution was a political and religious necessity for Mary Tudor but despite her youth, aged only 16, Jane met her end with great dignity and courage

Queen Mary I (18 February 1516 - 17 November 1558)

Mary Tudor was keen to make England a Catholic country again and became despised for marrying a Spanish Prince, King Philip II of Spain, and having many people killed for herecy; including the Archbishop of Canterbury

She was the first female to hold sole monarchical power in England and became known as 'Bloody Mary' for her persecution of Protestants

Mary was unable to have children and so when she died of cancer in 1558 her 25 year old half sister Elizabeth became queen, which meant that England would again be governed by a Protestant































Anne Boleyn
Anne of Cleves
Catherine Parr


Jane Seymour







Anne Boleyn (Queen from 28 May 1533 - 19 May 1536)

Anne Boleyn was English and the Maid-in-Waiting to Catherine of Aragon

She gave birth to a daughter, who became Elizabeth I but Henry still wanted a son so, after creating false evidence, charged Anne with treason and adultery

It is most likely that Anne was innocent but she was convicted by a unanimous vote and beheaded at the Tower of London in 1536



Anne of Cleves (Queen from 6 January 1540 - 9 July 1540)

Henry needed an alliance with Lutheran Germany and other protestant countries to prevent England becoming totally isolated against Europe's Catholic Empires

He sent the painter Holbein to Germany to paint a portrait of this German princess and agreed to marry her but when she arrived in England he found her too ugly to bear

The marriage only lasted six months as Henry arranged a quick divorce and Anne received a large sum of money, an estate, and she 'Kept Her Head'





Jane Seymour (Queen from 30 May 1536 - 24 October 1537)

Jane, an English Lady-in-Waiting to Anne Boleyn, married Henry only eleven days after Anne's execution

Jane was the first and only wife to provide Henry with a proper male heir but she was unable to recover from the birth and died twelve days later

After Jane's death Henry did not remarry for more than two years and she is the only wife to share his Grave












Catherine Parr (Queen from 12 July 1543 - 5 September 1548)

Catherine was more of a nurse than a wife to Henry, as he was now 55 and very ill

She had been married twice before, though still only 31, and became the only one of Henry's wives to outlive him

Catherine had a great influence on the King and re-united Henry with his three children; who all came back to the Court





Catherine Howard (Queen from 28 July 1540 - 13 February 1542)

Catherine, a Lady-in-Waiting at Court and maid of honour at his previous marriage to Anne of Cleves, married Henry only sixteen days after the divorce
She was a cousin of Anne Boleyn and only 19, whilst Henry was almost 50

Henry lavished Catherine with love and gifts, until he was informed of his wife's extramarital activities, so got Parliament to pass a bill declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king and two days after the bill was passed,
Catherine was beheaded in the Tower of London



William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 23 April 1616)

The most famous playwright of all time who lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and worked in London writing 38 plays, 154 sonnets and many poems

His plays remain highly popular today and have been translated into every major living language and performed more often than those of any other playwright

Tudor theatres were different from modern theatres; the stage would be central with the audience surrounding it; probably without seats








Sir Francis Drake (c.1540 - 27 January 1596)

Sir Francis Drake was one of the great explorers that enabled England to begin the colonisation process, leading to the massive expansion of the British Empire

He was the first Englishman to sail around the world, sank much of the Spanish navy in the port of Cadiz, (a very daring raid), and was vice admiral of the Fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada, making England the major world power

A "pirate with a Queens permission"; she made a lot of money from his exploits





Sir Francis Drake


King Philip II of Spain


Sir Walter Raleigh









Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1552 29 October 1618)

He was a famed writer of several very well known books from the Elizabethan era as well as a poet, courtier and explorer; responsible for establishing the first English colony in the 'New World' - Virginia

He was also responsible for bringing tobacco and potatoes into this country

Raleigh gained favour through his extravagant explorations and as one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites, was mainly disliked for the attention he received






King Philip II of Spain (21 May 1527 13 September 1598)

As the King of Spain, Philip was a fearsome foe and had a very good claim to the English throne; having been married to Queen Mary I

Being a staunch Catholic, he wanted to make England a Catholic country again and also disliked the English because of their famous 'pirates' - Drake and Raleigh

War was inevitable between the two great powers and the Spanish Armada was sent to invade England in 1566 - and comprehensively destroyed