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Length of reign of British monarchs from the House of Tudor 1485-1603

The Wars of the Roses, which lasted from 1455 to 1487, resulted in the deaths of all legitimate heirs to the English throne, from both sides of the House of Plantagenet. The first Tudor monarch was Henry Tudor, who ascended to the throne via his mother’s connection to the Lancastrian side of the House of Plantagenet. After Henry defeated the Yorkists in the Battle of Bosworth Field (where King Richard III also died), he became the new King of England, and subsequently married Elizabeth of York, uniting both sides of the war in doing so. Henry VII economic stability and political structure back to England, after over a century of consistent war, although he was unpopular at the time of his death due to the high taxes he imposed upon his subjects.

Henry VIII

One of the most famous English monarchs ever was King Henry VIII. Henry VII is renowned for having six wives, and setting in motion the English Reformation after he was excommunicated by the Vatican for trying to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII believed that he had been chosen by God to rule England, and he also appointed himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England (Elizabeth I later renamed the title to Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which is still held to this day). Henry was also the first monarch to invest heavily in a navy, which would later allow Britain to become the most powerful empire in the world in later centuries. Henry's unhealthy and extravagant lifestyle caused him to be morbidly obese in later life, and unable to move without mechanical help. He died in 1547, and he was succeeded by his nine-year-old son, Edward VI, whose mother was Henry's third wife. Edward's reign was short, and it was mostly presided over by other nobles who had surrounded the young King and were able to manipulate him into doing their bidding.

Complicated succession

When Edward fell fatally ill at the age of fifteen, he named his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his successor, in order to prevent his Catholic half-sisters (Mary and Elizabeth) from becoming Queen. Queen Jane reigned for just nine days, before she was deposed (and later executed) by Queen Mary I. Mary spent much of her reign (sometimes violently) undoing the Protestant reforms of her father and half-brother, and she also married Prince Philip of Spain, uniting the Habsburg and Tudor ruling houses for a brief time. She died in 1558, at the age of 42, and was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I, who would go on to reign for 44 years. Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen (and to whom the naming of the US states of Virginia have been attributed to), was the final Tudor monarch, before the House of Stuart took over. Her reign brought some moderation and stability back to England, and her re-establishment of the Church of England helped facilitate a new sense of national identity in England. After years of avoidance, she eventually engaged in military conflicts in Europe, gaining decisive victories such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Eventually, Elizabeth died on New Years Day 1603 (although it was still 1602 in the Julian calendar), and her reign is also remembered through the works and exploits of historical figures such as William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Drake.

Length of each English monarch of the House of Tudor's reign, from 1485 to 1603

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Release date

July 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

1485 to 1603

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Statistics on "The British Royal Family (UK)"

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