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Tudor Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Philip McMurry

Philip has taught college history, English, and political science, and he has a doctorate in American history.

This lesson is about the Tudor family, who ruled England from the late 1400s to the early 1600s. Let's learn about the importance this family played in developing England into a powerful and independent nation.

Family Rivalries

Have you ever competed against a brother or sister in a sport or at school? Imagine what it would be like for each of your siblings to take turns ruling an entire country! Who would do the best job? Well, the Tudor family had a brother and two sisters who took turns ruling England in the 1500s and early 1600s. This family played an important role in making England one of the most powerful nations of Europe.

The Battle of Bosworth Field

The Tudor family came to power in England when Henry Tudor overthrew King Richard III in 1485. Richard was a very unpopular king and when Henry Tudor claimed the throne, many people in England rallied to him. The two armies met in a large area of rolling hills called Bosworth Field, and during the battle King Richard was killed. Henry Tudor was then crowned king becoming Henry VII.

The Battle of Bosworth Field
Bosworth

The Search for a Son

When Henry VII died in 1509, his son Henry was crowned king and became Henry VIII. One of Henry VIII's greatest fears was that he would not have a son to take the throne after his death, throwing the country into chaos. When his wife Catherine was unable to produce a son, he sought to divorce her so he could marry a younger woman. The Catholic Church would not allow it so Henry broke England away from Catholicism. He made himself head of the new Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church) and gained his divorce. In all, Henry would have six wives and father three children who could legally claim the throne. It was these children who would take turns ruling England.

Henry VIII
Henry

Edward VI

Edward was Henry VIII's only son and he was crowned king at age nine in 1547. As a young man, he took great interest in religion and while he king, he pushed the Anglican Church even further away from Catholic rituals and traditions. However, at 15, Edward developed a lung infection and died.

Mary I

Mary was the oldest of Henry's children and she became queen in 1553. Her mother Catherine had been a committed Catholic so when Mary became queen, she tried to return England back to Catholicism. However, many English were no longer interested in Catholicism. Mary had many non-Catholics arrested and over 200 of them executed, giving her the nickname 'Bloody Mary.'

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth was the youngest of Henry's children and ruled the longest. She ruled from 1558 until 1603. Her reign had the greatest positive impact on England.

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