Lady Margaret Beaufort Biography

Lady Margaret Beaufort was King Henry VII's mother and grandmother to King Henry VIII of England. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and death

Quick Facts

Birthday: May 31, 1443

Nationality: British

Famous: British Women Women Historical Personalities

Died At Age: 66

Sun Sign: Gemini

Born Country: England

Born in: Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom

Famous as: Mother of King Henry VII

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Spouse/Ex-: Edmund Tudor - Earl of Richmond, John de la Pole - 2nd Duke of Suffolk, Sir Henry Stafford, Thomas Stanley - 1st Earl of Derby

father: John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset

mother: Margaret Beauchamp of Bletso

children: Henry VII of England

Died on: June 29, 1509

place of death: London, England, United Kingdom

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Lady Margaret Beaufort was King Henry VII's mother and grandmother to King Henry VIII of England. She played an integral role in the 'War of Roses' and founded the Tudor Dynasty. She has been attributed to the setting up of two well-known Cambridge colleges. Lady Margaret Hall, named after her, was the first institution to provide education to women, and it also houses her statue in the chapel. Margaret was a powerful lady who engineered the rise of her son's life as a king. She was actively involved in making her son, Henry Tudor's claim to the throne legitimate and was able to sway her then-husband, Thomas Stanley, to not support King Richard III. Henry VII defeated King Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field and subsequently became the king of England. Lady Margaret Beaufort also exercised influence over her son's decisions. She arranged the marriage alliance between Henry and Elizabeth of York, which played a significant part in cementing Henry VII’s claim to the English throne.

Childhood & Early Life
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  • Margaret was married to John de la Pole, the son of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk. There are conflicting reports regarding the date of the marriage but most probably they were married in January 1450.
  • William de la Pole married his son to Margaret because he had been arrested and he wanted to secure his son’s future through the marriage.
  • Margaret never accepted this marriage and three years later the marriage was dissolved. Thereafter, King Henry VI granted Margaret’s custody to his own half-brothers, Jasper and Edmund Tudor.
  • King Henry VI chose Margaret as bride for his half-brother, Edmund Tudor and they got married on November 1, 1455. At that time Margaret was 12 and Edmund’s age was 24.
  • The War of Roses had broken out just before their marriage and less than a year after their marriage, Edmund, a Lancastrian was taken prisoner by Yorkist forces. marriage,
  • Edmund Tudor died of plague in captivity on 3 November 1456. At the time of his death, Margaret was seven months pregnant with their child.
  • After Edmund's death, Jasper took her in, and Mararet gave birth to her only son, Henry Tudor, on 28 January 1457. Childbirth was difficult for her as she was very young and small in size. She never had any children after Henry.
  • Margaret and Henry lived in the Pembroke Castle till it was given to Lord Herbert of Raglan.
  • Henry was sent to live in Wales from the age of two. He then lived in exile in France from the age of fourteen. During this time, mother and son wrote letters and visited occasionally.
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  • She married Sir Henry Stafford, the son of 1st Duke of Buckingham, Humphrey Stafford on 3 January 1458. She had an amicable marriage with him and received a somewhat dilapidated Woking Palace, which she also restored.
  • In 1471, Henry Stafford died of injuries suffered at the Battle of Barnet, while fighting for the Yorkists. Margaret was only 28 years old at the time.
  • In June 1472, she married Thomas Stanley, the Lord High Constable and King of Mann. The marriage enabled her return to the court of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Queen Elizabeth also chose her to be the godmother to one of her daughters.
  • After Edward's death, the throne was taken by Richard III, and she was soon serving Anne Neville, the new queen. However, Richard III passed an act and seized all her properties, then transferred it to her husband.
  • She was plotting against Richard III, and colluding with dowager queen Elizabeth Woodville. It is believed that she played a part in Buckingham's rebellion.
  • As Queen Elizabeth's sons were presumed murdered it was decided that Margaret’s son, Henry, would be engaged to Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Elizabeth, and Edward IV; thus creating a marriage alliance that both the Yorkists and Lancastrians would favour.
  • Her husband Stanley did not participate in the Battle of Bosworth Field even though he was summoned, while Richard held his son George Stanley as a prisoner.
  • After the war, Stanley crowned his stepson, Henry VII. His mother, Margaret, was designated as 'Countess of Richmond and Derby.' She was also ordained as 'Lady Companion, Order of the Garter’ in 1488. Henry VII also dubbed Stanley as the 'Earl of Derby.'
  • During this time, her family financed the establishment of chapels across Wales. She also encouraged the advancement of the printing press by William Caxton and Wynkyn de Worde.
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  • Lady Margaret supported book production and built her library. She was also a successful translator and was the first to translate 'Imitation of Christ' and 'The Mirror of Gold for the Sinful Soul' in English.
Kings Mother
  • After Henry VII was crowned, Margaret was called "My Lady the King's Mother.”" As predetermined, Henry was married to Elizabeth of York.
  • Lady Margaert exercised social and legal freedom, which other married women could not. She had properties that only belonged to her. She was also allowed to exercise justice over the northern part of England. But, she was not happy about the fact that she had lower status than the dowager queen Elizabeth or even her daughter-in-law, the queen consort.
  • As believed by many historians, the retirement of the widowed queen Elizabeth Woodville in 1487 was mostly on the bidding of Lady Margaret.
  • Lady Margaret was a devout woman and encouraged education. It is also said that her son listened to her and often took her advice on various matters.
  • King Henry died on 21 April 1509 and deemed his mother the sole executor of his will. She was in charge of her son's funeral and also her grandson's coronation. She took priority over all the other royal women at the funeral proceedings.
  • On 29 June 1509, Lady Margaret died in the Deanery of Westminster Abbey. She died the day after her grandson's birthday and just about two months after her son's death.
  • Her tomb rests in the 'Henry VII Chapel' of the Abbey. Her grave now lies between those of William III and Mary II and the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Pietro Torrigiano designed her elaborate tomb and Erasmus wrote the Latin inscription on it.

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- Lady Margaret Beaufort Biography
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Last Updated
- November 18, 2019
Lady Margaret Beaufort

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