Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. He was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the civil war.
His supportive stance of the British Isles' wool industry and his standoff with the Low Countries had long lasting benefits to all of the British economy. However, the capriciousness and lack of due process that indebted many would tarnish his legacy and were soon ended upon Henry VII's death, after a commission revealed widespread abuses. According to the contemporary historian Polydore Vergil, simple "greed" underscored the means by which royal control was over-asserted in Henry's final years. Henry can be credited with a number of administrative, economic and diplomatic initiatives. He paid very close attention to detail, and instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues and after a reign of nearly 24 years, he was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII. The new taxes were unpopular and two days after his coronation, Henry VIII arrested his father's two most unpopular ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were charged with high treason and were executed in 1510.
Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, originally from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle of Anglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V. He rose to become one of the "Squires to the Body to the King" after military service at the Battle of Agincourt. Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Henry V, Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII. Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, and "formally declared legitimate by Parliament".
Henry's main claim to the English throne derived from his mother through the House of Beaufort. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III, and his third wife Katherine Swynford. Katherine was Gaunt's mistress for about 25 years; when they married in 1396, they already had four children, including Henry's great-grandfather John Beaufort. Thus Henry's claim was somewhat tenuous: it was from a woman, and by illegitimate descent. In theory, the Portuguese and Castilian royal families had a better claim (as far as "legitimacy" is concerned) as descendants of Catherine of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt and his second wife Constance of Castile.