Q&A: Why were they called the Tudors?

The Tudor dynasty began with a scandalous secret marriage between Owain ap Maredydd ap Tudur, a royal attendant, and King Henry V's widow, Catherine of Valois

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

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).


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