Lady Margaret Beaufort

On this day in history, 29th June 1509, the matriarch of the House of Tudor, Lady Margaret Beaufort, died at the age of 66, a great age for a Tudor.

Margaret died just four days after enjoying the coronation celebrations of her grandson, Henry VIII, and Henry Parker, Lord Morley, who acted as her cupbearer at the coronation ceremonies, reported that “she took her infirmity with eating of a cygnet”. His grandmother’s death, just two months after his father’s death, was a blow to the new, young king and David Starkey points out that:-

“In less than two months, Henry had lost the two dominant figures of his youth: his father and his grandmother. He was now not only king but paterfamilias and undisputed head of his family. And all this at the age of only eighteen.”

The woman who had been matriarch of the Tudor court and who had had such a powerful influence on English history was gone.

Facts About Lady Margaret Beaufort

Here are some facts about Lady Margaret Beaufort:-

  • Margaret was born on the 31st May 1443 at Bletsoe Castle in Bedfordshire.
  • Her parents were Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe and John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, grandson of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress (and eventual wife) Katherine Swynford, and Margaret was their only child.
  • Although a 1397 act of Parliament legitimized the children of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford, but in 1407 Henry IV, while recognising the legitimacy of his Beaufort half-brothers and sisters, declared that they could never inherit the throne.
  • Margaret was married four times: c 1450 to John de la Pole, a marriage which was dissolved in 1453 (some say that the marriage never happened and was just a betrothal); 1453 to Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, eldest son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois and half-brother of Henry VI; 1462 to Henry Stafford, son of the 1st Duke of Buckingham; and finally in 1472 to Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and the Lord High Constable and King of Mann.
  • Margaret had just one child, Henry VII. She gave birth to him at the age of 13 and his father was Edmund Tudor.
  • Margaret was a powerful lady and was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster. She actively supported her son Henry Tudor’s claim to the throne and was able to persuade her then husband, Thomas Stanley, and his brother to swap sides and support Henry at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry defeated Richard III and became Henry VII of England.
  • Margaret and Elizabeth Woodville co-plotted the marriage of Henry, Margaret’s son, and Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter by Edward IV.
  • Margaret was the Countess of Richmond and Derby but, after her son’s victory at Bosworth, was referred to as “My Lady the King’s Mother” and refused to accept a lower status than the queen consort, Elizabeth of York.
  • David Starkey writes of how Arthur, Prince of Wales, inherited his grandmother’s Beaufort looks: hooked nose, hooded eyes, bags under the eyes and a slim build.
  • She took an active interest in education and she established the Lady Margaret’s Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge University, refounded and added to God’s House, Cambridge, turning it into Christ’s College, and her estate founded St John’s College, Cambridge. The Queen Elizabeth’s School, formally Wimborne Grammar School, came about as a result of her intention to build a free school in Wimborne, Dorset.
  • John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was Margaret’s friend, political and spiritual adviser, and executor of her estate. He was eventually executed for treason by her grandson, Henry VIII.
  • The Beaufort motto was “Souvent me souviens”, “I remember often”.
  • Lady Margaret Beaufort’s resting place is at Westminster Abbey in London, in the south aisle of Henry VII’s Chapel. Her tomb was sculpted by Pietro Torrigiano and features a portrait effigy of Margaret dressed in traditional widow’s dress, her head resting on two pillows decorated with the Tudor badge, her hands raised in prayer and the Beaufort family crest at her feet. The Latin inscription, written by Erasmus, translates as “Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII, grandmother of Henry VIII, who gave a salary to three monks of this convent and founded a grammar school at Wimborne, and to a preacher throughout England, and to two interpreters of Scripture, one at Oxford, the other at Cambridge, where she likewise founded two colleges, one to Christ, and the other to St John, his disciple. Died A.D.1509, III Kalends of July [29 June]”.

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64 thoughts on “Lady Margaret Beaufort”
  1. Aloha!
    What an amazing woman, again challenging our ideas of what women were capable of in those distant times. Of course, our Western culture now frowns on marriages (or betrothals) at 7 years of age, and her SECOND marriage at the age of 10 would certainly be anomalous these days. However, Lady Margaret Beaufort apparently was not equipped by her nature to act simply as a powerful family’s pawn, but helped create the Tudor lineage through her remarkable personal resources and abilities. Thank you for the interesting thumbnail sketch of this pivotal Tudor lady, Claire.

  2. Claire, we were discussing Lady Margaret back on the “Henry VIII – A Tyrant or Just Misunderstood?” posting and were wondering if you know of a biography of her?

  3. Lady Margaret braved many dangers to put her son Henry on the throne as Henry VII; there were murders, executions, arrests and threats not only to Henry’s person, but to those of Margaret herself, her supporters, and her stepchildren, Earl Thomas’s sons. She was brave enough, bold enough and intelligent enough to take on Richard III, who was quite a shrewd strategist himself. Richard’s fatal mistake may have been the chauvinism of the times, and was unable to believe a “mere woman” was capable of bringing him down, whether directly or indirectly.

    I wonder what Lady Margaret would have thought of Anne, who had many of the same strengths Margaret herself did.

    1. In my view, R3 focused only on what appeared to be a palpable threat and in his present surrounding. That may have been his biggest mistake. MB was a praying soul and she kept quiet and was not really considered a big threat not even to EB. She was astute and within her core she knew. Never forget Isabeau d Baviere is Rvii grandmother too.

      1. In my view, R3 focused only on what appeared to be a palpable threat and in his present surrounding. That may have been his biggest mistake. MB was a praying soul and she kept quiet and was not really considered a big threat not even to EB. She was astute and within her core she knew. Never forget Isabeau d Baviere is Rvii grandmother too. She knew her goal and never moved her eyes from it.

  4. Margaret Beauford was a woman with a very strong personality. Supposedly to was very cruel to her daughter in law, Elizabeth of York. She wanted to have higher status that every other woman at court, and even walked only a pace behind her son (something reserved only for royal spouses) I have read about how she even signed her name, Margaret R- et mater Henrici septimi regis Angliæ et Hiberniæ (mother of Henry VII, king of England and Ireland), despite having never been queen herself.

    Its amazing just how many strong willed women existed in Tudor times, despite the old addage that they were to be seen, and not heard.

  5. I haven’t read them but “The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby” by Jones and Underwood has good reviews on Amazon and there’s another one called “Life Of Margaret Beaufort – Countess Of Richmond And Derby, Mother Of King Henry The Seventh” by C A Halsted. Also, Elizabeth Norton has written one which is due to be published in the Autumn – I’ll definitely be reading that one as she’s a very good author and historian.

  6. Yes, Margaret Beaufort sounds like the mother-in-law from Hell, poor Elizabeth of York! Sheena, you’re right, she did sign herself Margaret R but this also stood for Margaret Richmond (she was Countess of Richmond) so she got away with it!

  7. Claire – Many thanks for this post – I knew more or less all the points you made but Margaret Beaufort is not a well known woman in history and yet was extremely influential. She alo seemed to be a chameleon being all to everyone when in reality it was her son that was teh most important person in her life.

    Milady Blue – yes I agree that Richard III did understimate her by a long way but from a lot of things I read about this king, he was just too trusting.

    Whether one like Margaret Beaufort or not (and I have to be on the side that I would even let her into my life) she was increidibly clever and knew how to manipilate people. However, she obviously didn’t realise the monster that she helped to create in H8 because from te time he became king he never heeded her advice

    1. Never read fiction if you love history as you may recall wrong facts argue with historians and insult your own brain with lies. The person who invents words and who said what was not present at the time of age. Better to read pure fact .Go back into records and be as surprised with fact instead of fiction. The damage writers do with historic fiction is that most innocent readers read that stuff and then spread their new found knowledge to all you will listen in work place, pub and bus stop talk. Fact will never change and the person who studies it closely knows more of life and interest than any one else around. Education is the best way to

      1. Do you really believe there is fact in history, fact that is not tainted by the personal agenda of the writer or researcher? Social studies is not a pure science, Sir Kevin.

        1. haaahaahaa! History is written by the winners and as long as there were two people to tell it, there will be two versions or more.

  8. Rosalie,

    is that the one by Alison Weir? If so, I was given it as a present a just over a year ago and found it extremely interesting!!! If not, pse let me know the name of the suthor pf the book you are referring to

  9. Phillipa Gregory is also writing a book about her called “The Red Queen” that will be released in August. It is the second part in her “Cousins’ War” series that started with “The White Queen” which was about Elizabeth Woodville, her co-plotter and arch rival.

    1. Even though it is considered historical fiction, The Red Queen is an extraordinary book which goes into great detail on Margaret Beaufort. Of course, the author took great pains to remain as historically accurate as possible. It will give you a picture of this woman like no other I’ve read. Very powerful, very crafty woman with one single purpose in life, to see her son on the throne.

      1. The author did not take great pains to be historically accurate as far as I can see? Why did she give Margaret an obsession with Joan of Arc, which there is absolutely no evidence for and indeed Joan of Arc was still at the time considered by the English to have been a heretic, not a saint? Why does she move the Battle of Edgecote to 1470 when it was in 1469, and make it the event that restores Henry VI and when it was not? Why does she have Elizabeth Woodville give up her son Richard before instead of after Hastings’ execution? Why does she drag up the highly discredited Blaybourne rumour? The Red Queen is definitely not as historically accurate as possible, and further the writing style leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t believe Margaret was anything like the character in The Red Queen.

        1. Fiction is fiction. all you have to do is add correct names and you can call it historical fiction. Phillipa is a writer of fiction, how much basic history she adds to her writing.

  10. Another biography of Margaret Beaufort is “Of Virture Rare: Margaret Beaufort, Matriarch of the House of Tudor”, which was published in 1982 and written by Linda Simon. It’s been a long time since I read it (as a matter of fact, I’d forgotten about it until I read Carolyn’s post). Apparently it is still available – I looked on the Amazon website and noticed that they have one new book in stock and 45 used ones.

  11. I went to Queen Elizabeth’s School in Wimborne. In 1998 the Queen and Prince Philip visted our school to commemorate its 500th birthday.

  12. Margaret Beaufort owned and palace in our village (Collyweston, North East Northants) regrettably all trace of it has gone apart from a few mullion windows and various bits of stone amongst other buildings in the village. She was a powerful woman of deep convicition and was totally devoted to her son and the Tudor dynasty, it would appear that she was also very kind to the members of her household and the local residents. Rather strangely there appears to be no reference to her or her Court in our village Church? She apparently had a chapel here and entertained guest regularly at Christmas with services and performances by her choir. My family have connections with the village going back to the early 1600’s and from the archives they appear to have worked on the estate after her death. As families did not travel around the country it is possible that they also worked on the estate during Lady Margaret’s era. If anyone has any information concerning her Royal Palace at Collyweston I would be very intersted to hear from them. It seems the village remained in the hands of the Crown certainly until the death of Elizabeth I, Henry VIII’s Court was held here on at least one occasion, and his son Henry Fitzroy also visited. We then have a gap in the village history until it appears to have been owned by Robert Heath, Attorney General to Charles I, after his demise it was take back by the Crown then disappears from history, presumably demolised due to lack of use? Any leads or bits of information would be much appreciated.


  13. I was fascinated to read Lady margaret Beaufort was buried in the Abbey as my local Parish church [Ormskirk Parish Church, Lancashire] believes she was buried with her husbandThomas Stanley Earl of Derby. there is an effigy in the Derby chapel of the church said to be hers. does seem more likely she has been buried in the Abbey but leaves a mystery as to whose effigy is in the Derby chapel!

  14. I would be interested to find out about one of her ladys inwaiting Bess fullilove who had a son by Henry vii ;Then was banished . Did the said Bess end up in Lincolnshire ? not to far away as my branch of the fullaloves comes from lincs 1665 john fullilove the name later changed to fullalove:

  15. to sandra,

    just translating eric ives book and there is written, that based on acts of parliament in april 1536 the village was included into anne`s property, being transferred from the duke of richmond, so probably went back to the crown or was transferred to elizabeth

  16. This makes me want to know more about this formidable woman–I have read she was a strong influence on Henry VIII as well as his father. So many amazing women of that age–imagine giving birth at 13… no wonder she had no more children.

  17. I was just talking about Margaret, she really changed my view of tudor women!
    She was powerful, strong and had a major influence on English history…

    1. And she killed both young Princes in the tower. One wicked evil sly power mad wh*re. Check out her reputation in France where she lived most of her time. Her desire to put her bastard son on the English throne involved destroying the King Richard. In part his actions helped to frame him. She then saw that he was out of London so why not set him against his own nobles. The act of murder of children placed at his feet made her sons act of treason easier to accomplish on the battle field. Margaret husband made sure all deserted the framed King. It was her master stoke and it worked. You see it was so cleaver that ever since all blame poor Richard for the dead without looking deeper into motive. Sheep all of those who never research but read books by those who copy from the last book written. So on and on nothing new ever.

  18. Lady Margaret Beaufort was one of the most cruel and malicious females on the planet-even of her time when war was a constant. She cared absolutely nothing of the suffering and killing of others as long as her son carried on the Tudor name, become King and then of course her ultimate desire: being known as the Mother of the King. She spent all of her life trying to convince people that she was called upon by God to do this. I believe she was a little crazy. Yes, she had a hard life but she spoke of being God’s messenger since she was a little girl and was constantly amazed that no one ever saw it. I would agree that she was strong but not in a good way at all. More like strong willed and sneaky. Not someone I’d care to associate with.

    1. This is based on a reading of ‘The Red Queen’ by Philippa Gregory.It’s an excellent novel partly basedon historical research but it is still fiction.See Elizaeth Norton’s recent book for a more factual acccount.

      Most imprtantly, it’s highly unlikely that Margaret Beaufort was responsible for the murder of the princed in the Tower. Richard iii is a much moreobvious candidate.

      We could go into psychobabble about why Margaret might have done it. It is now wonder if she murdered a twelve year old. Her own childhood had been murderd at the same age when she was legally raped by Edmund Tudor.

      But is even the last bit true? We know Margaretwas bon on 31 May but historians are undecided if it was in 1443 or 1441. If the latter, she ws fourteen when Henry was conceived and fifteen when he was born. That’s still too young and it’s awful that she and the baby neary died but it’s not as bad as if the ages had been twelve and thirteen.

      I can’t sy Margaret appeals to me. But if Richard really murdered the princes and she was motivated by appropriate indignation in conspiring to overthow him, that would show her in a goodlight. Of course it was also a great opportunity for her son and herself.

    2. Indeed her belief that she was Gods agent on earth made her the murderess on two Princes in the Tower . A ploy to bring down Richard.To weaken his faithful and make her sons job easier to win the throne in nay way she could. Richard was already crowned King. If he wanted to kill his brothers children off he would have had to murder even the girls. No Salic law in UK ever , so girls could rise over Richards claim to throne too. Richard loved children and has been blamed for centuries for something he clearly did not do. Margaret Beaufort was evil enough and willing to do anything to have her bastard son King. WHAT better plan to destroy Richard than divide him from both his friends and his public. That one way paved the path to the throne for her son.She wanted to be Queen but now the way was open to be the Kings mother. One evil woman along with evil friends like Tom her new husband and Archbishop Morton the tax man who robbed the British public of millions by his designed hard law we call Mortons Fork. He said You love your King so pay up. You do not love your King ,you are fined .He pocketed his share before paying the tax office of the King. Richard hated him.

  19. Elizabeth Woodville faced a dilemma; her two sons were either murdered by Richard, or Henry? One of them would marry her daughter Elizabeth of York? Margaret Beaufort’s third husband was Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, who promised to support Richard III on the battle of Bosworth-but the future step father of The King of England: held back his forces! It is suggested that Margaret knew the bargaining power Thomas had in the house of York; and that’s why she married him? Margaret may have stirred up rumours of Richard III involvement in having a hand in murdering his brother George 1st Duke of Clarence; his cousin Henry VI, and his two nephews’, before Shakespeare wrote his plays? Elizabeth of York’s hand in marriage; was won for her title, like she was property, rather than a person, certainly not out of love ! She too would have had suspicions over the death of her younger brothers’.

    The War of the Roses crowned a ten year old king Richard II. It also crowned a nine month old baby Henry VI. The monarchy created a dynasty against women-where Henry VIII murdered Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Howard. He divorced his first wife to gain a strong male heir, before murdering Anne for the same reason. His daughter Elizabeth I became arguably the greatest ruler we ever had-unlike his son (who was weak). Throughout history women have been under estimated-it’s nice to know that history is readdressing their role !

    1. the war of roses, so called, did not start with Richard II. He was the legitimate heir to Edward III. Alot of what you saying here is horse manure: old tudor propaganda al la Morton via Moore. (and Shakespere).

    2. I agree. I often wonder how things would have been different if Henry the viii instead of divorcing and killing his wives would have built a power base around Mary I. If instead married her off wile young to provide possible grandchildren who would be heirs and Thierby securing the Tudor throne in that manner. Mayb she would have had many male children herself and become a great ruler without all the animosity and emotional damage caused to her by her fathers divorce of her mother and his subsequent ruthless search for a male heir. She seemed by my accounts to be very disposed to compassion and possibly would not have become a Catholic fanatic if she was not treated as a bastard and her mom just disposed of like a unwanted possession. The English people seemed to have loved both her and her mother and it appears to me would likely accepted her as a queen regent. I am an American I would like to hear your thoughts especially from any British individuals keen on Tudor history. Thanks

    3. Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville negotiated the idea of this marriage while Henry was in exile and Elizabeth in sanctuary. No, Richard iii had no intention to commit incest by marriage with his neice, Elizabeth of York. No, Richard did not murder Clarence. Edward iv lawfully tried privately executed his brother in 1478 for treason. You need to start to read the contemporary sources, forget Shakespeare. Yes, Lord Stanley held back until the last moment, but it was William Stanley who came to rescue Henry Tudor. Margaret could only hope her fourth husband, not third, would support her son, she didn’t know he would. Elizabeth of York did not know what happened to her brothers, if they were indeed dead or just presumed dead. There is no conclusive evidence that they were killed by anyone, let alone Richard iii or Henry or even Buckingham or Margaret Beaufort.

      As below, although history books set the scene that shows a series of events from the death of Richard ii to the insanity of Henry vi created the political instability which gave birth to the series of battles we now call the wars of the roses, they didn’t put Richard ii on the throne or start with him. They began with the stupidity of Margaret of Anjou refusing to work with and accept the Protectorate of Richard, Third Duke of York. Her lover and supporter Beaufort , Duke of Sommerset started it, leading to the Battle of Saint Albans in 1455. York attempted to prevent further battles but was given little choice. After he returned from exile in Ireland, he was ambushed and killed at Wakefield in 1460, just weeks before Edward his son became King and defeated Henry at Towton 1461. Edward was king with a few skirmishes and small battles before Warwick abandoned him and joined Clarence and Margaret. He made a come back, defeating Warwick at Barnet and Margaret and Jasper Tudor and the Prince of Wales at Tewkesbury 1471. Edward, Prince of Wales was killed in the fighting or rout and Warwick killed at Barnet. Edward iv was king in peace for another fourteen years until his sudden death in April 1483. Richard iii was King, in peace for almost there years before Henry Tudor poked his nose in. Henry Tudor did not end the so called wars of the roses, nor did he reconcile both sides. First, the wars had been over since 1471. Second, there was nothing to reconcile. Most people accepted and desired Richard’s reign and he could have won at Bosworth. He was betrothed to Joanna of Portugal, whose marriage would also have united the house of Lancaster and York. Henry married Elizabeth as the most eligible representative of the ruling house, to uphold his own claim. There marriage did unite both sides, but it also divided both sides as Yorkist restorationists tried to put one pretender or another on the throne as either Edward of Warwick or Richard, the young brother of Edward V.

      Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were executed not murdered and whether Elizabeth I was our greatest monarch is a matter of opinion.

  20. I hear what you guys are saying but Margaret probably in some way encouraged the two princes to be murdered, and just sneakily made suggestions to both Henry and Richard and watched for the right moment to strike. I admire her she was a strong woman, but I think her being such a fanatic about religion, was why she became so cruel . I hope your right and she was a bit older than 13 when her marriage was consummatted, but why didnt she have any more children?.

    1. Apparently, she was so injured after giving birth so young that she could not give birth again. Lucky it was a boy, in her case.

    2. “Margaret probably in some way encouraged the two princes to be murdered”.

      Produce one shred of evidence to support that statement. And what is your evidence that she was “cruel”? The Red Queen is fiction and does not count as evidence whatsoever as to Margaret’s actions or character. Margaret was not a “fanatic”, rather, contemporaries considered her to be pious, which was what was the ideal and aspired to at the time. Modern connection between being religious and being a fanatic is a mindset that did not exist in the 15th century where people overwhelmingly believed in true faith as the path to salvation. Margaret was indeed 13 when her marriage was consummated, if not even younger, from her birth date and her son’s birth date.

      1. While I haven’t read “The Red Queen” I did watch some of “The White Queen” on TV and could only stomach a couple of episodes, Margaret Beaufort was depicted as a complete mad woman who was besotted with Jasper Tudor. So sad that such a strong woman, whose real story is fascinating, could be boiled down to that caricature.

  21. My Grandma shares Margaret’s birthday, she would have been 94 today. I’ve always been interested in the Beaufort family and such.

  22. Wow its very interesting to know that woman were very influencial in the ruling of the country but who was she really was a sneaky person or was she the circumstances or was she forced to be that way because of the times back then I guess living in those times were a threat to your livelyhood its sad that that’s the way they lived but no matter how many things we know of the tudors either they were tyrants or influencial they will be forever in history already written. Kind regards maritzal

  23. I personally think Margaret Beaufort was an amazing woman – imagine giving birth at age 13? She was also ‘legally’ raped by her husband aged 12 (when their marriage was consumated) to have Henry. How awful to know that your only child was the product of rape.

    Margaret was apparently a small and very undeveloped child when she was married (I believe the first instance to just be a betrothal), and so her nannies and carers agreed unaminously that she was far too young and small to have the marriage consumated, but her husband wanted a boy so much that he took her to the marital bed and did it anyway. As a result of this and the childbirth when she had barely begun her period, her womb was so damaged that she could never carry another child.

    It’s just so sad…

  24. I think Margaret Beautfort was a very brave young woman. What a terrible ordeal for a young girl of just over 13 to give birth to a child, especially im those days; with her husband dead and with little security. She would have difficulty today let alone back then, but from what I have read she was in labour for several hours and all around despaired of the life of both mother and son. But both survived and she must have been very protective of Henry, her only child and poor Margaret suffered terrible internal wounds and could not have any more children. I also think that she was brave to commit to yet another marriage and to negotiate her way through the political and divisive goings on during the wars of the roses. Margaret had her lands and her son taken from her and was forced to swallow her pride at times in order to serve people that she did not like or were against her in order to promote the cause of her son. I think Margaret was very pius and she would also believe that she had a destiny in her son.

    Margaret also took risks that put both her and her son in danger and was not always sensible in her choices; causing the death of her half brother and others who were caught up in her plans. I think that she was desperate to be with her son when they were seperated and she made plans and plots to attempt to get his rights back. Margaret was also sensible enough in 1471 to come to court and offer her service to the Queen; Elizabeth Woodville. By now Henry was in exile and I think she was trying to get the King to allow him to return in peace and restore his rights. After Edward’s death in 1483 is when the fun began, with Margaret involved in a dangerous plot with Buckingham and others against King Richard III, and with the Woodville survivors to gain her sons elevation to the throne.

    It was only because at this time that she was married to Lord Stanley, I believe that Margaret escaped prison or execution as a traitress when the plots failed. Stanley was able to persuade Richard that he had no part in the plot and agreed that he would be his wife’s jailor. Margaret did lose her rights and her property, wealth and her wine to her husband and she would not be able to contact anyone without his consent. Somehow, however, she did manage to contact someone: Elizabeth Woodville and came to an agreement that they would support Henry Tudor and he would marry her daughter Elizabeth of York. Elizabeth was probably the Yorkist heir now as it was feared and rumoured that the Princes in the Tower: Edward V and Richard of York had been killed.

    Margaret would never give up and she was to be proved correct and vindicated when her son was providentially victorious over Richard III at Bosworth. Margaret also appears to have been his closest ally and his good couseller and he depended on her advice much of his reign. It could only create conflict however having two Queen mothers around and her relationship with Elizabeth must have had its moments although there is no evidence that she was unkind to Elizabeth. On the contrary Elizabeth was also treated with respect and it was her own choice to retire late in life and spend her life in a convent. It was not correct that she was forced there either by Henry or Margaret. She was given a pension and lived in relative comfort. Henry continued to rely on his mother for much though and she must have felt some relief when Elizabeth took a back seat.

    We went to a local village called Ormskirk in Lancashire where the parish church was built by and is the main burial place of the Stanleys who lived at near-by Lathom and Knowsley. In the Stanley Chaple there is the tomb effergy (sorry about spelling) of Lady Margaret Beaufort, although of course she is is buried in Westminster, but the family had the effiggy made just the same to commemorate her here; and on the other side is Lord Thomas Stanley and his first wife, and next to Lady Margaret is his eldest son Lord Strange. There is also another effergy of Ferdinando, the third Lord Stanley who was also famous in Henry VIII’s reign. The tombs of all these and their bodies, save Lady Margaret are in the crypt below. The carved figure is very slender and shows her in her regalia as a Countess with her emblems about her neck on a chain and is very well made. Although part of the face was defaced by local yobs called Roundheads in the 17th century; it is still slender and beautiful and shows a woman with a very determined look and character within its features. It is lovely that we have something of this lady here and that London has not claimed all of her. It is also something of local pride to be connected to such interesting and vital characters as the Stanleys given the role that they played in changing and advancing English and Tudor history. In fact without them: the Tudor dynasty would never have been. Now is that not an awesome thought.

    There is also a baptismal font and a very large pillar that commemorates another local Stanley event: the siege of Lathom house, during which Lady Charlotte wife of the 7th Earl of Derby defended in the absense of military support and her husband who was in Guernsey; her home for several months against the troops of Oliver Cromwell and Fairfax; who of course damaged the tombs of their ancestors in the chaple above. Lady Charlotte was another formidable woman. The Stanleys seem to really know how to marry well.

    1. Yes she said she was raped. Sad indeed but she made up for that herself in sin. My argued tale is why did the boys have to die by Richards hand as three sisters had as much right in law to rule. So killing the boys was not in his agenda as he was already crowned King. One could then argue that to kill the boys stopped Woodville family rising against Richard. They had stolen the treasury and shipped it out of England reach. Then the girls could be used that way also so Richard had no motive at all.The motive strong was putting the new king on Richards throne and so all falls to Margaret Beaufort as only one with real motive and she was not the sort to worry who fell as long as her son was King and she the power behind his throne.

      1. Sir Kevin Parr, Margaret was thirteen when she gave birth to her husband. She didn’t actually say she was raped and how is any sin hers? What else do you call a 28 year old man having sex with a 12_,year old child? Margaret was legally allowed to have sex within marriage at this time, but it was advised by the Church to wait at least two more years. It is extremely difficult for a 13 year old girl to give birth even now with medical assistance, it must have been terrible for her back in 1457 with nobody, just a midwife, in the Winter in South Wales. A number of people advised against it. It was one of the reasons she was unable to have more children. I find your insensitive comments appalling.

        There is no evidence that Margaret Beaufort or Richard iii killed the Princes in the Tower and we don’t know what happened to them.

        The so called treasure that the Woodville clan ran off with didn’t even exist. Edward iv was actually broke and she didn’t have time to gather it in any case. Yes, she was a scheming so and so but EW was also a mother who felt her son’s rights had been violated. She could have come out of Sanctuary at any time and retired but chose to remain in the Bishops palace instead. Richard didn’t have a motive after the boys were declared as illegitimate, that is true but Margaret did not have the access to them. She may remain a suspect but there isn’t any evidence that she even attempted to harm Edward V and Richard of York.

    2. I went to Ormskirk last year but there was a funeral and I could not go into the church.
      I am related to the Stanley’s through my Hornby ancestors.
      Is the church usually open or have you got to contact someone to open it?

      1. Carol, the Church is open every Sunday and Saturday and every Tuesday and Thursday.

        It is also Market Day so I would recommend you park by the station or go by train. In the Church you will find Lord Thomas Stanley and his first wife, Eleanor and his son, Lord Strange and his wife, and Lord Ferdinand Stanley, their son. You will find an effigy to Margaret but she is buried in Westminster Abbey.

        Latham Hall is not far away, but is a private home. However, Latham Chapel is open every day 2 to 5 p.m. The house was defended by Charlotte, wife of James Lord Stanley during the English Civil War. A baptism font recalls them in the Church. They also have a connection to Knowsley Hall and Knowsley Church, Sefton outside Liverpool and to Childwall Parish Church in Liverpool. West Derby is nothing to do with them despite some claims. Liverpool Tower which was under the protection of Lord Stanley was on Water Street and a fire hydrant marks the spot. Stanley Church is open on Sunday at 2p.m for visitors.

  25. What was Richards motive in murdering his nephews? No Salic law in England so the nephews sisters had as much rite to reign. Who had motive really strong to rule was the new wife of Thomas Lord Stanley. A hated name in my family. You see to discredit Richard as Margaret Beaufort the sex machine had her bastard boy waiting with the army she had indeed paid for in the wings. In fact already waiting to land from ships on our coast. Morton hated Richard as he had been found out by him. In the tower she and her two assistants arrive and dismissed Brackenbury. He ran to find Richard. Richard on planned progress was far away from London. The deed of killing two small boys was not the way a soldier thinks but a woman such as a wh*re like Beaufort and her claim to throne in progress knew that deed would be pointed at Richard and his end in sight by public demand finished by hand of war was all she could think about. When Richard returned what could he say as he had no idea himself what happened to the nephews. The Beaufort bastard had Lord Stanleys army on his side. Stanley had contacts and at the day of battle it had been decided even before Richards brave death who would be king. Margaret Beaufort was the richest woman in England she loved sex and half the French army had had her.She was power mad and her family came from Royal kings. So did mine but who would stoop so low to win is but the Devils agent

    1. I am a Ricardian and even I believe your theory to be complete nonsense. Margaret did plot with EW to marry Elizabeth of York to Henry and helped him unsuccessfully invade in October 1483,_that is true, but she didn’t have her agents enter the Tower and there is no more evidence for Margaret Beaufort, Henry Tudor or the man in the moon, let alone Richard or Blackenbury killing the “Princes” _in the Tower.

      Henry could not have invaded in 1483 even had he wanted to, his fleet was blown back to Brittany. He had one ship and Richard was waiting for him. We have no idea if Richard knew the fate of the boys or not, he said nothing, he couldn’t produce them dead or alive. Buckingham probably had something to do with their disappearance. The evidence is very divided, some sources accused Richard, others didn’t have a clue, others Buckingham, none even mentioned Margaret Beaufort. Thomas Stanley didn’t actually commit himself until the day of the battle and did as he and his brother had done in 1460 and 1470, sat on the fence. It was William Stanley’s forces which helped Henry at Bosworth, not Thomas Stanley who did nothing.

      Henry Tudor was not a bastard and the Beaufort family had actually been made legitimate. Margaret was lawfully married to her husband, Edmund Tudor, although his father and mother may or may not have been married, the sources disagee. The story of the confession and Blackenbury in Thomas More a pupil of Morton was never found, made in 1503 when Tyler was condemned as a traitor and trying to get off with a beheading. Yes, Margaret did send financial support so as Henry could raise an army in 1485 but no he wasn’t waiting with a fleet to invade. His army was smaller than that of Richard’s and he was supported by a number of discontented gentlemen from Southern England, the Earl of Oxford and a bunch of convicts from a French prison, Welsh pikes raised on his march towards London and at the very last as Richard made his famous charge to bring Henry down by the Stanley Redcoats.
      What has the Devil got to do with it? These are the actions of men, flawed human beings who made mistakes.

  26. I read somewhere that her chaplain was Henry Hornby. I found a copy of his seal on the Internet but cannot find anymore information.
    He was mentioned in one of P Gregory’s book.

  27. Claire, on what do you base Margaret Beaufort being the mother in law from hell? There is absolutely no contemporary evidence to support this now outmoded theory. I blame Michael Jones for not updating his book first published back in 1957 when it was republished in the 1980s.

    Margaret was a strong willed woman, yes, but Elizabeth of York was no wilting flower to be wrapped up and kept in a vase of warm water. The young Elizabeth was feisty and thought her uncle Richard was hot. Although there is no evidence of any inappropriate relationship between Richard iii and Elizabeth of York that didn’t stop the author of the Crowland Chronicle who disapproved of everything from spreading rumours and the idea was out there. Richard made a public proclamation about it denying it and arranged to marry Elizabeth off to the future Portuguese King. It was part of his own arrangements to marry Joanna, sister of John Ii of Portugal who was also preparing to take holy orders. She agreed to come out and marry him. This was after his wife had died. Elizabeth was eighteen, beautiful and having a good time at the Christmas parties in 1484 which apparently were wild and raucous. She had a crush on Richard nothing more.

    When Elizabeth was brought to her home to await and prepare for her future wedding to Henry Tudor, Margaret was good to the young woman, she didn’t bully her, she protected her and guided her. Margaret remember had given birth to Henry when she was only thirteen, imagine that, thirteen, under developed and small for her age it was a very difficult birth. She was a widow and for the next 28 years found herself on various sides of the wars which tore the country apart and her son spent 14 years in exile. Before that he was taken from her when he was four. I think I would be a bit over protective as well, especially if my future daughter in law had accidentally gotten a dubious reputation, deserved or not. Margaret was being cautious and who can blame her? I find it totally baffling that people still blame Margaret Beaufort for being overbearing and a proud mother or for signing herself with a title she was perfectly entitled to use. Margaret was a proud and strong woman and mother and she was protecting her son and his “inheritance”. Henry relied on his mother’s advice and Margaret took an interest in the wellbeing of her grandchildren, especially the marriage of Princess Margaret. She laid down Ordinances which protected royal women during pregnancy and childbirth. No doubt Elizabeth didn’t want to be restricted to her chambers, but it was for her own good. Margaret helped her daughter in law during the early years of her marriage and the evidence is that they got on well. Elizabeth might have needed a firm hand. It wasn’t unusual for older women to guide and instruct young wives and mothers, her own mother was plotting against Henry and had retired in 1487 to a convent. However, Elizabeth Woodville was allowed to visit after her children were born and on other occasions. Elizabeth sought Margaret’s advice, she wasn’t the mother in law from hell. I just wondered where people get these unsubstantiated ideas as they are not backed up by the contemporary sources.

  28. Margaret Beaufort was a cruel manipulative woman who thought she was better than everyone else and believed God ONLY spoke to her. I personally believe that she was 100% responsible for the deaths of the princes in the tower NOT Richard lll. Margaret Beaufort knew that no one from her family could sit on the throne with being from bastardized lineage & Edmund Tudor being a descendant of welsh servants. 1407 Henry lV declared they could NOT sit on throne.
    Margaret Beaufort was a cruel vindictive person to her daughter in law Elizabeth of York. It was well know that neither one of them liked the other; nor did Margaret like Queen Elizabeth Wydeville & was responsible for putting Queen Elizabeth Wydeville into Berdmonsdy Abbey. Everyone says they like and admire Margaret Beaufort however I cannot admire a usurper, murder and a vindictive hateful woman whom thought she was better than everyone else & thought God told her to murder the princes in the tower. There is NO DIVINITY IN MURDERING IN GOD’S NAME & she will be judged harshly by her God & creator.

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