Lady Margaret Beaufort

Margaret Beaufort
Lady Margaret Beaufort from NPG.jpg
Lady Margaret Beaufort at prayer
Born31 May 1441/1443
Died29 June 1509 (aged 66 or 68)
London, England
Burial placeHenry VII Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey
TitleKing's Mother
Countess of Richmond and Derby
Spouse(s)
ChildrenHenry VII of England
Parents

Lady Margaret Beaufort (usually pronounced: t/, BOH-fərt; or t/, BEW-fərt) (31 May 1441/3 – 29 June 1509) was the mother of King Henry VII and paternal grandmother of King Henry VIII of England.

She was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses and an influential matriarch of the House of Tudor. She is credited with the establishment of two prominent Cambridge colleges, founding Christ's College in 1505 and beginning the development of St John's College, which was completed posthumously by her executors in 1511.[1][2] Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, the first Oxford college to admit women, is named after her and has a statue of her in the college chapel.[3]

Origins

She was the daughter and sole heiress of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (1404–1444), who was a great-grandson of King Edward III through his third surviving son, John of Gaunt by Katherine Swynford. Margaret was born at Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire, on either 31 May 1441 or, more likely, on 31 May 1443. The day and month are not disputed, as she required Westminster Abbey to celebrate her birthday on 31 May. The year of her birth is more uncertain. William Dugdale, the 17th-century antiquary, suggested that she may have been born in 1441, based on evidence of inquisitions post mortem taken after the death of her father. Dugdale has been followed by a number of Margaret's biographers; however, it is more likely that she was born in 1443, as in May 1443 her father had negotiated with the king concerning the wardship of his unborn child should he die on campaign.[4]