(Today I am lucky enough to have a guest blog post by Mary Anne Yarde, the fabulous author of the fabulous Du Lac Chronicles. The books are set in the Dark Ages Britain, when politics was still a matter of combat and moistened tarts lobbing swords at you from overly-large ponds, and are great reads! )
Britain has always been a land of myths and legends. From St George and the Dragon to Robin Hood. Dick Whittington and his Cat to the Loch Ness Monster. But nothing has captured the imagination of the populous quite like King Arthur and his Knights.
Let’s take a trip back in time…
For thirty years, England had suffered a terrible civil war. It was the ultimate family argument. And that argument was all about legitimacy. The House of York argued that the Lancastrian King, Henry VI, had no right to the throne. The House of Lancaster disagreed.
In the year of our Lord, 1485, Henry Tudor marched from Wales, under the battle standard of King Arthur — the famous red dragon — and met King Richard III at Bosworth Field. This battle changed the course of history and while the last of the Plantagenets screamed:
“Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!”
Henry Tudor seized the throne of England for himself.
But, being victorious does not make one King. For Henry to be crowned King he had to provide a legitimate claim.
Henry Tudor was a Lancastrian, but he had a problem. It was argued, that Henry had not an ounce of English Blood. Henry’s Father, Edmund Tudor, was the son of the French Queen Dowager Katherine of Valois. Edmund’s father, Owen Tudor, was a Welsh groom. Their marriage was a scandal that had rocked the nation. Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, was a direct descendant of Edward III, but the Beaufort’s had been barred from the throne, so her blood did not count.
Henry had to prove his claim and to do that he employed genealogists who traced his family back to Cadwaladr, a Welsh King, who in turn was a direct descendant of King Arthur. You couldn’t get more English than King Arthur. Henry presented his pedigree to the court.
With King Arthur as an ancestor, the nobles could not argue Henry’s claim to the throne.
Long Live King Henry…
Henry then married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV of England — thus uniting the House of York and Lancaster and bringing an end to the Cousins War. But, like Edward III before him, Henry had fallen for the romance of King Arthur.
It is worth mentioning that Bosworth was not the only noteworthy event to happen in the year 1485. Sir Thomas Malory, who was at the time languishing in prison, penned his great work, Le Morte d’Arthur. Arthur fever once more took hold of the nation, and now they had a king who claimed to be a direct descendant of Arthur. The future looked promising.
Henry’s firstborn child was born at Winchester — which, at the time, was widely believed to be the place where Camelot had once stood tall and proud. His firstborn child was a son, and he named that son Arthur.
But Henry’s dream of an Arthurian future took a fatal blow when his son, Arthur, became ill and died at the age of 16. It was said that Henry and Elizabeth were devastated by his death. Elizabeth died the following year.
In the subsequent reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, Arthurian legend and Arthurian prophecy continued to play its part in the monarchy’s dynamics. But from this day forward there has never been another King Arthur. We are still waiting for the Once and Future King to reclaim his throne…
Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Best Selling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, the Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.