The Tudor Society

April 21 – The death of Henry VII and the accession of 17-year-old Henry VIII

A portrait of an older Henry VII with a portrait of Henry VIII painted in 1509, the year of his accession

On this day in Tudor history, 21st April 1509 fifty-two-year-old Henry VII died, leaving the throne to his seventeen-year-old son, also called Henry.

Henry VII had ruled for over 23 years, since defeating King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The accession of Henry VIII, who was a good-looking and athletic young man of 6’3, was greeted with rejoicing. He seemed to be the ideal Renaissance Prince.

The Spanish ambassador wrote that the "people are as joyful as if they had been released from prison" and Lord Mountjoy wrote to Erasmus of how avarice was no expelled from the country and that the new king desired virtue, glory and immortality, rather than riches.

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