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The Tudor Society

Was Henry Tudor a Coward at Bosworth? – Julian Humphrys

This week's Friday video is sure to get you talking and thinking! Some say that Henry Tudor was a coward for hiding behind his men and that Richard was the braver of the two men at this battle - but is this the right assessment?

There are 4 comments Go To Comment

  1. R /

    I must admit I was wondering if an expert might say something on the debate on social media. I said I didn’t agree that Henry was a coward, but his inexperience and shrewd nature led him to leave the fighting to those who knew what they were doing. Oxford was a veteran and best placed to lead the action. Richard, when he charged was more experienced in warfare but also he had little choice. He wasn’t making a death charge, he wasn’t reckless or ill as someone suggested, he was trying to end the battle. He saw what was happening and where Tudor was and aimed to take him out and win the day. He came pretty close as well, taking out William Brandon and John Cheney. Richard was betrayed at this point by William Stanley and killed in the crush of men from everywhere. I don’t believe Henry was a coward. He wasn’t a warrior, even if he did receive training. Richard was and went for glory. Had his charge succeeded and he killed Henry Tudor, then victory was his. Henry was probably doing the right thing. Richard was the hero, but Henry won the day. The same with James iv, his death lost him the battle against lesser numbers. I wouldn’t have put it past Katherine of Aragon to have fought if she arrived with her reinforcement force but it wasn’t needed.

    Kings had to balance victory with safety. Richard had little choice and his ememies hailed him, but as a Ricardian I wish he had sent in an assassination squad like William the Conqueror and taken Henry out that way, going on to win and having a glorious long life and reign.

  2. L /

    Great assessment and comparison to other battles! It certainly is appropriate that a king (or perspective king) is expected to take responsible actions and decisions on the battlefield, for their men and the whole realm..

  3. C /

    I found that fascinating, Julian. Thanks for a thought provoking video. I always seem to underestimate how different royals were thought of in the medieval and Tudid times. Your logic makes sense.

    The two things that have kept me going during lockdown have been my membership here, and my membership of BT, which i joined after your earlier lecture on here. I spent all day yesterday on Zoom at the conference on the Civil War, all relatively new to me but fascinating. Thanks for all you do for this society and BT.

  4. M /

    Thank you! I find your talks fascinating and illuminating. Michelle t

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Was Henry Tudor a Coward at Bosworth? – Julian Humphrys