Assess the claim that the pretenders were the most serious threats to Henry VII’s kingship

After gaining kingship in 1485 after winning the battle of Bosworth he immediately set about to gain security, which he did not have from the moment of his kingship and he faced a number of challenges including the serious threat based around the pretenders, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck and the Yorkist supporters who followed them. The main aims of Henry VII’s reign were unity and peace between the Yorkists and Lancastrians but also, essentially to establish himself safely as king and remain king so he could hand on an unchallenged succession to his descendants. His policies both abroad and home were of course dictated to securing and strengthening his dynasty. The weakness of Henry VII’s claim to the throne and the way in which he became king might encourage others to try the very same thing he had done at Bosworth and due to the very frequent changes of kingship that had occurred for the past years meant that few expected Henry VII would last long on the throne. The pretenders posed a serious threat to the reign of Henry VII because they could raise a rebellion and usurp or kill Henry, ending his reign immediately and possibly his life. So due to the nature of Henry’s own usurpation of Richard III, an inevitable rising from Yorkist followers was inevitable. The careers of the two pretenders, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck were of great significance to Henry VII because they were such a dangerous challenge to his hold on the crown. The main reasons for their seriousness of the threat these posed was due to the foreign backing and entanglement, but also because they both merely lasted for quite a long time. Henry was also said to be fearful, particularly near the beginning of the Lambert Simnel rebellion, of how many of his leading and supposedly loyal subjects would remain so or if they would defect to the Yorkists when a crisis came to a head. Henry’s claim to the throne was not as good as one of the princes in the Tower or Warwick, although a pretender so Yorkist support would be great and the prospect of even Lancastrians not backing Henry was likely. But when the rebellion actualy started to become a reality with Lincoln landing with an army in Lancashire in 1487, less Yorkist support was received than expected, most likely due to the reputed bad behaviour of the Irish mercenaries that made up a large part of the army. But the rebellion still had the intention and possible power to completely overthrow Henry VII which is why they were such a threat to his kingship. The Nature and intent of the support for the pretenders from some of the nobility and from abroad did certainly suggest they posed a real threat to Henry VII. The appearance of Perkin Warbeck in Ireland in 1491, pretending to be Richard, Duke of York whose murder in the Tower had been assumed but never proved meant that more trouble was one the way for Henry, especially as it may well have been a means of blackmail towards him from Charles VIII of France and probably Margaret of Burgundy as well who used Warbeck with the idea of warning Henry VII about becoming too anti-French over Brittany, which the French king wished to annex. There is little evidence of this, other than Warbeck’s own was

as England would not fare well in a war with France in its current state. Due to the efficient and swift reaction to the Warbeck’s attempted landing in Kent by Henry and his agents. the nature of the pretenders could allow us to consider them as a less serious threat to Henry VII’s kingship than might at first be apparent. in which he claimed he was “sent as an ambassador into Ireland. between Catherine of Aragon and Henry’s son as the Monarchs of Spain would not contemplate sending their daughter to marry the heir to a contested crown. However. Warbeck travelled to Scotland to meet James IV who seized the opportunity to provoke his English counterparts. This foreign backing was a cause for concern of Henry’s. Henry was well prepared to meet the expected threats from his rivals and disaffected Yorkists.” By the French King. the rebellion failed.confession. James IV hoped to stir opposition in England against Henry VII and actually managed to threaten Henry’s government and also Henry’s planned marriage alliance with Spain. On the other hand. .

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