Posthumous Reversal of the Attainder on King Henry VI

One aspect of the Tudor regime’s establishment was the restoration of King Henry VI. Henry VI, and his family had been attained by the Yorkists. The reversal of the attainder of King Henry VI was one aspect of legally legitimising the Tudor regime. 

Legitimacy and legal due processes

This needed to be reversed by Henry VII as part of the legitimisation process. Henry VI was his uncle. His father and other uncles, the late King Henry Vis half-brothers, were also affected by this attainder and so, through birth, was the new King himself.

Henry Tudor’s attainder

His own attainder had been accepted as being overturned by virtue of his victory at Bosworth. He now set about the process of legally restoring his family’s rights and privileges. This was done formally through Parliament reversing the attainder on Henry VI. This happened on 21 November 1485.

Reversal of the attainder on King Henry VI

This extract from the Parliamentary roll outlines the key points:

“…and all actes of atteynder, forfeture and disablement made or hadde in the said parliament or in any parliament of the said late Kynge Edwarde, ayenst the said moste blessed prince Kyng Herry, or ayenst the right famous princesse Margarete, late quene of Englande, his wife, or the right victorious prince Edwarde, late prince of Wales, sonne of the same blessed Kynge Herry and Margarete, Jasper duke of Bedford, late erle of Penbroke, or Herry late duke of Somerset, the whiche Jasper and Herry late duke of Somerset, for their true allegeaunces and servicez doon to the same blessed Kynge Herry, were atteynted of high treason, or eny of theym, by what name or names they or any of theym be named in any of the said actes, be ayenst the said blessed Kynge Herry, Quene Margarete, Edwarde late prince, and the same dukes, and the heires of every of theym, voyde, adnulled, repelled and of no force ne effecte”.


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