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Edmund Tudor

1430 - 1456

Edmund Tudor (Earl of Richmond)

Edmund Tudor was the first son of Owen Tudor by Catherine of Valois, the widow of King Henry V and mother of Henry VI. Edmund’s father Owen was a squire at the court of Henry V and was a keeper of the queen’s wardrobe. When her son’s regents, John of Bedford and Humphrey of Gloucester (brothers of Henry V) denied her permission to marry John Beaufort Duke of Somerset, she conceived her child with Owen and may have married him in secret.

A resolution was passed in 1428 which forbade dowager queens to marry without permission, which brought Catherine and Owen’s relationship into question, but later Henry VI recognised their ranks and legitimised their line. 

Edmund and his younger brother, Jasper, were cared for by Catherine de la Pole after their mother retired to the abbey of Bermondsey in 1436 where she died soon after. The boys stayed in the care of Catherine de la Pole until 1442 when their half-brother King Henry VI took over the care and education of the boys. 

Edmund remained at the court. The king appears to have been fond of him: in 1449 he knighted Edmund and in 1452/3 assigned him the title of Earl of Richmond. Furthermore, the king gave Edmund large grants and it was through the king's influence that Edmund was married to the young heiress Lady Margaret Beaufort

Edmund fought for King Henry VI and the Lancastrians in the early stages of the Wars of The Roses, but his life was cut short when he was imprisoned by the Yorkists at Carmarthen Castle where he contracted plague and died. Edmund's wife Margaret gave birth to his son, Henry Tudor (who went on to be Henry VII) after his death. 

From The Red Queen

‘Did you not hear, Margaret? I wish you would pay attention. This is an even greater match for you. You are first going to be the ward, and then the wife of Edmund Tudor, the king’s half-brother. The Tudor boys are the sons of the king’s own mother, Queen Catherine of Valois, by her second marriage to Owen Tudor. There are two Tudor brothers, both great favourites of the king, Edmund and Jasper. Both half-royal, both favoured. You will marry the older one.’

‘Won’t he want to meet me first?’

‘Why would he?’

‘To see if he likes me?’

She shakes her head. ‘It is not you they want,’ she says. ‘It is the son you will bear.’

Image: A Sketch/Etching of the Tomb Effigy of Edmund Tudor

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