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Edmund Tudor, the royal patriarch whose tomb stands in St. David’s Cathedral

As the Prince and Princess of Wales attended a small service at St. David’s Cathedral in Wales to mark the anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, they walked past the tomb of another important figure in royal history. The Princess laid a small bouquet of flowers on the altar during the service, having passed the last resting place of a man whose dynasty changed England forever.

The altar in St. David’s Cathedral is rather unique. The remains of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, the father of King Henry VII, were entombed in the altar in 1540 after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Tudor’s grandson, King Henry VIII. 

Edmund was the son of Catherine de Valois, widow of King Henry V, and her second husband, Owen Tudor. Edmund was the half-brother of King Henry VI, and he remained close to Henry and served as one of his advisors. 

Henry suffered a major mental breakdown in 1453, leading to a civil war. During the War of the Roses, Edmund and his brother Jasper supported Richard of York while Henry was incapacitated. 

Edmund married Lady Margaret Beaufort, the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, in November 1455. It was through Margaret’s great-grandfather, John of Gaunt, that Henry VII was able to stake his claim on the throne. At only twelve years old, she became pregnant almost immediately. 

In 1456, Edmund was captured in battle and later died of bubonic plague. Margaret became a widow at twelve and was seven months pregnant. Some thought that Edmund may have been murdered, but the resulting trial was inconclusive. 

He was initially buried at the Franciscan church in Carmarthen until the Dissolution of the Monasteries led to his reburial at St. David’s.

His tomb describes him as a ”father and brother to kings”.

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