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Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford

From Academic Kids

Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford (c. 1431December 21/26, 1495) was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and the architect of his successful conquest of England and Wales in 1485.

Jasper was the third son of Owen Tudor and the former queen Katherine of Valois, widow of King Henry V. Hence he was a half-brother to King Henry VI, who, on attaining his majority, made Jasper Earl of Pembroke (sometime in 1452 or 1453). Although there was uncertainty as to whether Jasper and his two (or three) brothers were legitimate, their parents' probably secret marriage not being recognised by the authorities, he enjoyed all the privileges appropriate to his birth until 1461, when he was subject to an attainder for supporting King Henry VI against the Yorkists, who eventually deposed him.

Jasper was an adventurer whose military expertise, some of it gained in the early stages of the Wars of the Roses, was considerable. He remained in touch with Margaret of Anjou, queen of Henry VI, as she struggled to regain her son's inheritance, and he held Denbigh Castle for the House of Lancaster. He also brought up his nephew, Henry Tudor, whose father had died before his birth, until 1461, when custody was taken over by William Herbert. Following the return of the Yorkist king Edward IV from temporary exile in 1471, Jasper took the teenage Henry with him into exile, this time in Brittany. It was thanks to him that Henry acquired the tactical awareness that made it possible to defeat the far more experienced Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. On Henry's accession in 1485, Jasper was restored to all his former titles, including Knight of the Garter. He was made Duke of Bedford. In 1488, he took possession of Cardiff Castle.

He died in December, 1495, and was buried at Keynsham Abbey in Somerset.

Marriage and children

Jasper was married on November 7, 1485 to Catherine Woodville (c. 1458 - 1513).

Catherine was the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, and thus was sister to (among others) Elizabeth Woodville, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers and Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers. She was also the widow of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

They may have had one stillborn son born c.1490. Catherine survived her second husband and was later remarried to Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle.

Jasper reportedly had two illegitimate daughters:

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