History Extra explains... Why were they called the Tudors?

As part of our 'History Extra explains' series, leading historians answer the burning questions you were too afraid to ask...

Catherine of Valois, widow of Henry V (Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty)

Why were they called the Tudors?

The Tudors were originally from Wales, but they were not exactly of royal stock. The dynasty began with a rather scandalous secret marriage between a royal attendant, named Owain ap Maredydd ap Tudur, and the dowager queen Catherine of Valois, widow of King Henry V.

Surprisingly, the two were allowed to remain married, and their children were recognised as legitimate. But it would be two of their sons, Edmund and Jasper Tudor, who would rise at court, recognised as half brothers to Henry VI. 

It was also Edmund’s son by his wife, Margaret Beaufort, Henry Tudor, who emerged as a strong claimant for the throne through his mother, a descendent of Edward III. 

Lauren Mackay is the author of Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and his Six Wives through the Life and Writings of the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys (Amberley Publishing).

For more burning historical Q&As on the Tudors, ancient Rome, the First World War and ancient Egypt, click here.

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here