The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was an English royal dynasty that lasted 118 years, from 1485 to 1603, a period known as the Tudor period. Descended patrilineally from Welsh courtier Owen Tudor, and with a disputed claim on the English throne through the maternal line, the Tudors nevertheless emerged from the Wars of the Roses as England's rulers.
Ascent to the throne
The Tudors descended matrilineally from John Beaufort, one of the illegitimate children of 14th Century English Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (third surviving son of Edward III of England), by Gaunt's long-term mistress Katherine Swynford. The descendants of an illegitimate child of English Royalty would normally have no claim on the throne, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and Swynford eventually married in 1396 (25 years after John Beaufort's birth). In view of the marriage, the church retroactively declared the Beauforts legitimate via a papal bull the same year. A subsequent proclamation by John of Gaunt's legitimate son, King Henry IV, also recognised the Beaufort's legitimacy, but declared them ineligible to ever inherit the throne. Nevertherless, the Beauforts remained closely allied with Gaunt's other descendants, the Royal House of Lancaster.
John Beaufort's granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort, a considerable heiress, was married to Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond. Tudor was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tewdr and Katherine of Valois, widowed Queen Consort of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. When the House of Lancaster fell from power, the Tudors followed.
Edmund's son Henry Tudor grew up in exile in Brittany, while his mother Lady Margaret remained in England and remarried, quietly advancing the cause of her son in a Kingdom now ruled by the rival House of York. With...