WARNING: This contains spoilers.
My cable box shut down before the end of episode 4, and I thought that Henry Tudor being presented to King Henry VI was at the beginning of episode 5. When I turned on episode 5 to take my notes, imagine my surprise to see it in in the background scenes!
The story goes that Margaret Beaufort took Henry to meet his uncle, Henry VI. The old and slightly mentally unstable king looks at the boy and tells him that one day he will also be king, foreshadowing Henry VII’s rise in 1485. In my opinion, this story belongs with Margaret’s other prophetic stories, such as receiving a “vision” that she should marry Edmund, Earl of Richmond.
Henry VII’s true ascendance to the throne was through conquest. He was noble and royal, but his only blood link to the throne was through the Beaufort line- through Margaret- which had been barred from the succession. Henry’s grandmother, Katherine of Valois, was a queen of England but she was French; this did not give him a claim.
While there is no problem with being a conquering king (all British monarchs are descended through William the Conqueror, after all), there was an attempt to make his blood claim more legitimate, and these stories are part of that. To show that God was on his side, such stories were made up to prove that Henry was His choice. I take them with a grain of salt. Could Margaret have been divinely told to marry Edmund? I have less of a problem with that.
The tale of getting Henry VI’s blessing? I don’t believe so. Henry VI’s son, Edward Prince of Wales, was still alive. Not only was Edward the rightful heir, he was married to Anne Neville and could have produced an heir of his own. There is no reason to think that the king would doubt this, unless we are to assume that his mind is so addled that he doesn’t know what he is saying. Henry Tudor was his nephew, so seeing the king and receiving a general blessing might be expected. But to say that he would one day be a great king? There were still too many bodies to step over.
This story is fiction. A beautiful legend, but still a stretch of the truth.
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