Henry was in Brittany when he received the letter. He kissed the ring, but waited long before he made up his mind to try his fortune. At last he sailed in a French ship, and landed at Milford Haven—for he knew the Welsh would be delighted to see him; and, as he was really descended from the great British chiefs, they seemed to think that to make him king of England would be almost like having King Arthur back again.
They gathered round him, and so did a great many English nobles and gentlemen. But Richard, though very angry, was not much alarmed, for he knew Henry Tudor had never seen a battle. He marched out to meet him, and a terrible fight took place at Redmore Heath, near Market Bosworth, where, after long and desperate struggling, Richard was overwhelmed and slain, his banner taken, and his men either killed or driven from the field. His body was found gashed, bleeding, and stripped; and thus was thrown across a horse and carried into Leicester, where he had slept the night before.
The crown he had worn over his helmet was picked up from the branches of a hawthorn, and set on the head of Henry Tudor. Richard was the last king of the Plantagenet family, who had ruled over England for more than three hundred years. This battle of Bosworth likewise finished the whole bloody war of the Red and White Roses.
Henry VII. A.D. 1485—1509.
Henry Tudor married the Lady Bessee as soon as he came to London, and by this marriage the causes of the Red and white Roses were united; so that he took for his badge a great rose—half red and half white. You may see it carved all over the beautiful chapel that he built on to Westminster Abbey to be buried in.
He was not a very pleasant person; he was stiff, and cold, and dry, and very mean and covetous in some ways—though he liked to make a grand show, and dress all his court in cloth of gold and silver, and the very horses in velvet housings, whenever there was any state occasion. Nobody greatly cared for him; but the whole country was so worn out with the troubles of the Wars of the Roses, that there was no desire to interfere with him; and people only grumbled, and said he did not treat his gentle, beautiful wife Elizabeth as he ought to do, but was jealous of her being a king’s daughter. There was one person who did hate him most bitterly, and that was the Duchess of Burgundy, the sister of Edward IV. and Richard III.: the same who, as I told you, encouraged printing so much. She felt as if a mean upstart had got into the place of her brothers, and his having married her niece did not make it seem a bit the better to her. There was one nephew left—the poor young orphan son of George, Duke of Clarence—but he had always been quite silly, and Henry VII. had him watched carefully, for fear some one should set him up to claim the crown. He was called Earl of Warwick, as heir to his grandfather, the king-maker.