Something New Every Day – how a Welsh page fathered the most famous royal line of all Britain
Catherine of Valois was daughter to France’s king Charles VI and wife to the second Lancastrian king of England, Henry V for just two short years before his death.
Their first and only child together was a male (Henry VI) which made Catherine dowager Queen of England at the ripe old age of 21. The death of Catherine’s own father just a couple of years later meant that her toddler son suddenly found himself King of England and France. English parliament moved after several years to create a bunch of rules relating to the marriage of a dowager in order to stop every man and his dog attempting to marry Catherine and seize control of the two countries (and the infant king). If she married without the permission of the king, the suitor’s lands, titles and money would be forfeit. But…the king had to be of majority to approve such a union. And he was only six at the time.
So what’s a healthy, beautiful 21yo woman to do?
She entered into an affair with a welsh squire of the court, Owen Tudor (Owain ap Twdwr – the keeper of her wardrobe but who had been at Agincourt under Henry V.) It is believed this was a love match and although no marriage records now exist, she supposedly did marry him (against the law) six years later and went on to have six children by him before her death (at 36 years).
One of those half-brothers of the king, Edmund Tudor, had his own little Henry who went on to found the Tudor royal line.
I love this story!! Finally a marriage for love! How long has it taken us! The English parliament who had been so very busy protecting the Lancastrian line from interlopers totally failed to notice that a handsome Welshman in the Queen’s own household stole her heart and then founded one of the most famous royal lines of all time – the Tudors.
Not that any of them knew it at the time. Catherine and Owen married for love. Because she was beautiful and husbandless and because he was dashing and Welsh…and there!
Other interesting Owen-isms…
Owain ap Twdwr used his grandfather’s name in England and anglicised it to Owen Tudor. Had he used his father’s name then the most powerful ruling Dynasty of England would have been The Merediths Somehow I can’t see Jonathan Rhys-Myers on a promo poster called ‘The Merediths’. (Wikipedia)
Owen Tudor was the ancestor of our own queen, Elizabeth II.
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