Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford (ca 1431- December 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, created Jasper Earl of Pembroke (some time 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 Lancastrians. 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 created Duke of Bedford and married the former Katherine Woodville, sister of Queen Elizabeth Woodville and widow of the Duke of Buckingham. In 1488, he took possession of Cardiff Castle. He died in December, 1495, and was buried at Keynsham Abbey in Somerset.
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