Why were they called the Tudors?

Why are the Tudors called the Tudors? As Lauren Mackay explains, the royal 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...

Why were the Tudors called the Tudors? The answer lies with Catherine of Valois (pictured), widow of Henry V. (Photo by Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty)

Why were Henry VIII and his family called the Tudors? Where did the ‘surname’ come from?

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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 King 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 


Watch: Tracy Borman on everything you needed to know about the Tudors (but were too afraid to ask) 

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