Henry VIII dies in 1507 - what happens?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by mandead, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. mandead Resurrected

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    After the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales in 1502, Henry VII withdrew his sole surviving male heir from public life and kept him as a virtual prisoner so as to reduce the chances of him being injured or killed.

    After his wife's death, Henry VII was urged to re-marry for political reasons, but also for the possibility of siring additional heirs. He refused.

    Let's say the young Henry, Duke of Cornwall dies of plague or sweating sickness in around 1507. By this point he has likely not consummated his marriage to Catherine of Aragon (his brother's widow) and so has no children, legitimate or otherwise.

    This scenario therefore imagines Henry VII as the last surviving member of the Tudor dynasty - he is widowed, emotionally withdrawn, and becoming physically frail. All of his sons have died childless.

    What happens now? How would the succession likely unfold?
     
  2. Jan Olbracht Well-Known Member

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    Henry VII is now desperate to remarry, maybe even with his subject-there is no time for dispensations and building international alliances.
     
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  3. mandead Resurrected

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    Well, you'd assume Henry would re-marry because by that point he's out of options, but he may also feel that it's pointless. By all accounts he was absolutely devastated after the deaths of Elizabeth and Arthur, and so it's possible Henry's death would have finished him off.

    What I was more so wondering was whether we'd end up with the Union of the Crowns a century earlier, or if the remaining Plantagenet claimants (the de la Poles, etc.) would have stood a chance of either being invited or perhaps even invading and hoping for a reverse of Bosworth. Given that Henry had daughters who were married I can't imagine he'd have been happy to nominate a Plantagenet heir.

    Henry's first grandchild - James Stewart - was born in 1507, so he'd have been heir by primogeniture.
     
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  4. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Henry’s eldest daughter Margaret would become the informal Princess of Wales, inheriting the crown after her father’s death. The younger daughter Mary would most likely remain engaged to the future Charles V, unless James IV of Scotland and I of England decided to marry her elsewhere (but Charles is the best match available for her and Christian II of Denmark the only plausible alternative)
     
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  5. mcdnab Well-Known Member

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    I think in those circumstances Henry will almost certainly smooth the way for his elder daughter to follow him. The issue will be if on his death you get a smooth transition or rebellion in England.
    The only one well-connected and powerful enough to try and give an alternate is Edward Duke of Buckingham - and he might take advantage of the situation - his eldest son was unmarried at this point and could easily be tied to the Princess Mary (she would only be five years older than his heir) and he claims Margaret's rights forfeit due to her "foreign" marriage etc - it might get some traction and Edward rules as regent for his young daughter in law. Will mean an Anglo-Scots succession war though.
    There aren't any other strong contenders around - Margaret and Mary are the senior heirs in both lines (York and Lancaster), Elizabeth of York's surviving sister Catherine's children are relatively young at this point, and Margaret Pole was loyal and her husband's low birth would dent her claims a bit (also no Henry VIII means no restoration of the earldom of Salisbury for her and those lands still in the crowns hands would not have been restored to her - so she isn't wealthy), the de la Pole's would require foreign support to even mount a claim at this point etc.
     
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  6. UnaiB Well-Known Member

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    Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester, could be an interesting and plausible candidate to the throne. He was the last male member of the Plantagenet dinasty.
     
  7. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    But also from a very illegitimate line
     
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  8. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

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    Not really- if you're counting Charles Somerset (the bastard son of a Beaufort- itself a bastard line) as a Plantagenet, surely you'd have to count Edward IV's bastard Arthur Plantagenet too?
     
  9. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter

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    Very interesting! I might have a look at this. This is the sort of thing I used to know well a quarter of a century ago after studying its minutiae at university. I'll see what I can bang out over the weekend, if anything

    Best Regards
    Grey Wolf
     
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  10. mandead Resurrected

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    @Tyler96

    Arthur Plantagenet would be an interesting proposal actually - he lived well into the reign of Henry VIII and was an acknowledged son of Edward IV, so I wonder if he'd ever be in a position to put forward a claim. I think you'd absolutely need to have run out of legitimate male heirs, though. I believe he was in charge of the Calais port/garrison, though I don't know if that was as early as 1507.

    And then of course there are the legitimate pretenders: the de la Poles and Poles... though technically would the senior claimants not be the St. Legers?
     
  11. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    It would be the Poles would it not? Given they descend through the male line, whilst both the de La Poles and St Legers descend through the female line
     
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  12. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

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    Depends if you're running with the "George of Clarence was attainted and therefore his kids have no claim" thing, which supposedly justified Richard III passing over Warwick.

    I suppose if you ignore attainders and rumours of illegitimacy, the Yorkist line of descent goes- Edward IV's daughters (ITTL leading to the Tudor girls, the potentially still alive Howard son of Anne of York, and the Courtenays), George of Clarence's daughter (leading to the Poles), Anne of York's daughter (Anne St Leger and her Manners kids), Elizabeth of York's descendants (the de la Poles), and then the descendants of Richard Duke of York's sister Isabella (assorted Bourchiers).

    Though in these jumbled circumstances the proper line of descent doesn't necessarily count for much.

    Yeah, I feel like there's definitely be more connected claimants going about than Arthur, and it'd take something pretty drastic to get him on the throne.

    His time in Calais was apparently in the 1530s, and 1507 is also prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Grey (which is what got him the Lisle title IOTL)- she married Arthur after her first husband Edmund Dudley was executed by Henry VIII.
     
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  13. mcdnab Well-Known Member

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    There are plenty of legitimate claimants to start off with in 1507 i would have thought at this point without looking at illegitimate lines - though with the exception of his daughter's those claims would be "in pretence" given Henry VII reigned by right of conquest (to avoid having to make his claim through his still living mother or rule through his wife's rights)
    Descendants of Edward IV
    Margaret Tudor Queen of Scots and issue
    Mary Tudor
    Cecily Plantagenet (died August 1507)
    Anne Plantagenet Lady Howard (d1511)
    Thomas Howard (d1508 or so)
    Catherine Plantagenet Countess of Devon
    Henry Courtenay
    Margaret Courtenay
    Descendants of George Duke of Clarence
    Margaret Pole and issue (she had five children)
    Descendants of Anne of York
    Anne St Leger Baroness de Ross and issue (she had 11 children)
    Descendants of Elizabeth of York
    Edmund de La Pole (3rd Duke of Suffolk)
    Sir William de La Pole
    Richard de la Pole
    Catherine de la Pole Baroness Stourton.
    Descendants of Isabel Plantagenet Countess of Essex (aunt to Edward IV)

    Henry Bourchier 2nd Earl of Essex
    Walter Devereux
    Anne Devereux
     
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  14. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Could Howard marry Mary Tudor?
     
  15. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

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    That often gets suggested in scenarios like this.

    Probably depends on if Howard Snr has the influence to pull it off- the Courtenays have a similarly-aged kid with royal blood, and Buckingham is floating around in the background (with a son also in Mary's age range).

    Depends on if the scenario involves Henry VII trying to involve a domestic match to set Mary up as heir (would he have reason to screw over the Scots?) or if Henry VII conks it after losing his second son and there's a free for all (which could result in people trying to grab Mary as a legitimising measure).
     
  16. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Considering his answer to the people who asked him if was not worried about Margaret marrying James IV after Arthur’s death I think who Henry VII will do his best for securing the English crown for Margaret and James...
     
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  17. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Hmm this is true. I imagine that as @isabella said, if Henry VII doesn't conk it from losing his second son, he will try and keep Margaret and her descendants open as his successor, perhaps through an Act of Parliament or some such. If he does die though, I can see Howard trying something.
     
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  18. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Henry will try to stay strong and secure England for his daughter as England do not need another civil (and he will not want see his reign remembered as an interlude between two civil wars).

    James IV will surely claim the English crown in name of Margaret and everyone know that
     
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  19. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Agreed, the question is whether they'd get any support should Henry die before he can secure it for them
     
  20. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Most likely yes. James’ rights as Margaret’s husband are pretty incontestable, plus he is already a King in his own right (the only who share borders with England) and likely willing to transfer in England, and amenable to compromise about how many Scots/foreigners he can appoint in what roles...
    Personal union between the two kingdoms will resolve once for all the borders troubles and James as foreign but not too much is more acceptable to everyone than his rivals