There have been many debates about the legitimacy of the Beauforts, and their claim to the throne. However slim his claim undoubtedly was, Henry VII took the throne of England through conquest. His marriage to Elizabeth of York added weight to the Tudor’s right to rule, and their children indeed had royal blood. Henry VII repealed Titulus Regius, and all was well, the Tudor claim upright and solid. However, recent discoveries prove that all of the children of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York were, themselves, illegitimate.
Henry Tudor lived in exile with his uncle Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke from 1471 to 1485. A strong young man, with a young man’s appetites, he was not idle in these years. While his mother, the redoubtable Margaret Beaufort, worked tirelessly to return Henry to England, bargaining and negotiating with Edward IV to guarantee the safety of her son, Henry was pursuing interests of his own.
Thought to have fathered at least one illegitimate child in Brittany, Roland De Veleville, it has been long accepted that Henry Tudor was of loose morals while living in exile, taking pleasure where he found it, and moving on. One young woman, Louise Boulonga , captured Henry’s heart. From a letter recently discovered from Jasper Tudor to Margaret Beaufort, we now know that Henry was married to Louise in February, 1483.
When Edward IV died unexpectedly in April, 1483, things changed dramatically. The young prince Edward was declared illegitimate by his uncle, the morally upright Richard III. Many Yorkists fled to Brittany to join Jasper Tudor and his wayward nephew, while Elizabeth Woodville took her daughters, and the royal treasury, to sanctuary. One who joined the Tudor camp was Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset. Dorset was Elizabeth Woodville’s son, and carried with him a plan that had been schemed up between his mother and Margaret Beaufort. The women decided, in a hag’s agreement, that Henry Tudor would invade Richard’s peaceful England, and steal the throne. A marriage between Henry and Elizabeth of York was plotted, to ensure support from Yorkists who could be bought with promises of reward. But Henry was married already. What to do?
As Jasper and Margaret plotted, schemed, bribed, and possibly even killed to ensure this plan would succeed, Dorset was finding out about Mrs. Tudor. Despite Jasper forcing Henry to announce a betrothal to Elizabeth of York at Rennes Cathedral on Christmas morning, 1483, Dorset could not help but learn that Louise and Henry were man and wife. Horrified at the duplicity and lax morals of the man, Dorset notified his mother. Elizabeth Woodville came to an agreement with Richard, whom she knew was far too honest a man to have ever killed her son, and exited sanctuary. Her daughters became beautiful white roses to adorn Richard’s court, and Dorset attempted to leave Tudor’s camp. Jasper intercepted him before he could return to England and go running off at the mouth about all he had learned.
Margaret Beaufort was not to be deterred. Convinced that her son was destined by God to be king of the world, she continued nonplussed, as if all was still as had been agreed upon. No letters between Margaret and Elizabeth Woodville have ever been found, so it can be assumed that they simply did not discuss it. Her son was forced by Jasper to leave his beloved Louise, who was heavy with child, and invaded England on Margaret’s orders in 1485. Despite a lackluster performance on the field of battle, Henry defied all odds, and emerged victorious at Bosworth Field, August 22, 1485. Treachery prearranged by Margaret, and Richard’s unflinching valor, led to the end of the true Plantagenet kings of England. It also sealed the fate of poor Louise.
Margaret Beaufort knew that a foreign queen would never do. The memory of Margaret of Anjou was still too fresh in the mind of England, and grief for their righteous king too strong. She knew Elizabeth Woodville to be a grasping and greedy woman, and Dorset was still held in exile. So the hags once again struck a deal. Elizabeth of York would indeed marry Henry VII. Neither party was happy about it, and a more miserable match is hard to imagine. Although Henry Tudor applied for papal dispensation twice, careful examination of these papers shows no process for the annulment of Henry’s first marriage! On January 18, 1486 Elizabeth of York entered into a bigamous and invalid marriage, much as her mother had done years before, and Louise Tudor drifted into historical obscurity.
We do not know what happened to Louise, nor the child she carried. Although Professor S.B. Chrimes of Cardiff University asserted in a 1967 article that De Veleville was not Henry Tudor’s natural child, he and other biographers are silent about Louise and the child she carried. Dorset eventually returned to England, but Henry Tudor was too distrustful of his mother in law to believe she would keep the secret. She was imprisoned in Bermondsey Abbey in March of 1487, pronounced dead, and was never seen again. Margaret Beaufort accomplished her goal to be one of the most maligned women in history, and Henry Tudor’s son, Henry VIII, was a bastard.
Weir, Alison “Elizabeth of York”
Gregory, Phillipa “The Red Queen”, “The White Princess”
Some guy named Jeff
2 historians who prefer not to have their names attached to this article
Thomas More, who came to me in a dream.
About the Author- My name is Jeff “the wiz” Berlin. I am an active agent in an international spy agency , and a pinball enthusiast. My family is directly descended from Anne Boleyn, and has had to change our name several times to avoid Tudor vengeance. We have long worked behind the scenes to dispel Tudor propaganda, but the program “The Tudors” has undone all of our good work. My cousin Jeff failed to kidnap Jonathan Rhys Meyers and force him into exile in 2006, so that is pretty much all his fault.