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Margaret Beaufort

(The Lady Margaret)

1441–1509

Margaret Beaufort
THE LADY MARGARET, MOTHER OF KING HENRY VII
Lady Margaret was the mother of Henry Tudor, and during his reign was one of the best known philanthropists and benefactors in England. She was a patron of Caxton, the first printer in England, and also supported several schools and colleges. She also contributed to the building of churches, hospitals, and contributed to the support of the destitute. She held a high position at his court and was greatly esteemed during her lifetime. She died shortly after her son.

Lady Margaret was a descendent of John of Gaunt, meaning that she was a member of the Lancastrian line during the war of the Roses. She married the half-brother of Henry VI when she was only twelve, and gave birth to Henry Tudor a year later. Her first husband, Edmund Tudor died soon after their marriage, and she married several other times, but had no additional children.

During the War of the Roses, she sent her son to France for safe-keeping, since any descendent of the Lancastrian line was at risk. Her third husband however, was on good terms with the Yorks, so she herself was friendly with the royal family, including Elizabeth Woodinville. When Richard III usurped the throne from Prince Edward, the rightful heir, she conspired with Elizabeth to bring Henry Tudor to claim the throne and marry Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Woodinville and the deceased Edward IV. She was therefore instrumental in planning the take-over of the throne by her Henry Tudor. She was thereafter a very important person at the court of her son, and well regarded throughout England for her good works.


Key events during the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort:


Year
Event
1443
Margaret Beaufort born, a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt.
1455
Married Edmund Tudor at age twelve.
1456
Gave birth to Henry Tudor, two months after death of Edmund Tudor.
1459
The War of the Roses begins in earnest. Margaret marries the Earl of Stafford.
1461
Henry Tudor is sent to France after Edward VI assumes the throne.
1483
Death of Edward IV; Richard III usurps the throne.
1485
Conspired with Elizabeth Woodinville to overthrow Richard III.
1485
Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
  Patron of the arts, religion, and literature. Supported Caxton's print shop.
1497
Founded several schools
1505
Founded two colleges at Cambridge.
1509
Death of Henry Tudor, followed shortly by his mother Margaret.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
Lady Margaret  in  Great Englishwomen  by  M. B. Synge


Image Links


The Lady Margaret, Mother of King Henry VII
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts


Contemporary
Short Biography
Henry VII Descendent of John of Gaunt (a Lancaster) who fought Richard the Usurper for the throne.
Elizabeth Woodinville
Richard III On death of his brother Edward IV, he killed his nephews and usurped the throne.
Elizabeth of York
William Caxton Brought first printing press to England. He translated and printed many important books in the English language.