Margaret Beaufort Facts and Timeline

About a Key Figure in English Tudor History

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby
Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Also see: Margaret Beaufort Biography 

Margaret Beaufort Facts

Known for: founder of the (British royal) Tudor dynasty through her support for her son’s claim to the throne
Dates: May 31, 1443 – June 29, 1509 (some sources give 1441 as birth year)

Background, Family:

  • Mother: Margaret Beauchamp, an heiress. Her father was John Beauchamp, and her first husband was Oliver St. John.
  • Father: John Beaufort, earl of Somerset (1404 – 1444). His mother was Margaret Holland and his father was John Beaufort, first earl of Somerset.
  • Siblings: Margaret Beaufort had no full siblings. Her mother had six children with her first husband, Oliver St. John

Margaret’s mother, Margaret Beauchamp, was an heiress whose maternal ancestors included Henry III and his son, Edmund Crouchback.  Her father was a grandson of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who was a son of Edward III, and of John’s mistress-turned-wife, Katherine Swynford. After John married Katherine, he had their children, given the patronym Beaufort, legitimized through a papal bull and royal patent.  The patent (but not the bull) specified that the Beauforts and their descendants were excluded from the royal succession.

Margaret’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Holland, was an heiress; Edward I was her paternal ancestor and Henry III her maternal ancestor.

In the wars of succession known as the Wars of the Roses, the York party and the Lancaster party were not completely separate family lines; they were much interconnected by family relationships.

 Margaret, though aligned with the Lancaster cause, was the second cousin of both Edward IV and Richard III; the mother of those two York kings, Cecily Neville was the daughter of Joan Beaufort who was the daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. In other words, Joan Beaufort was the sister of Margaret Beaufort's grandfather, John Beaufort.

Marriage, Children:

  1. Contracted marriage with: John de la Pole (1450; dissolved 1453). His father, William de la Pole, was Margaret Beaufort’s guardian. John’s mother, Alice Chaucer, was the granddaughter of the writer Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife, Philippa, who was the sister of Katherine Swynford.  Thus, he was a third cousin of Margaret Beaufort.
  2. Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond (married 1455, died 1456). His mother was Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France and widow of Henry V. She married Owen Tudor after Henry V died.  Edmund Tudor was thus a maternal half-brother of Henry VI; Henry VI was also a descendant of John of Gaunt, by his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster.
    • Son: Henry Tudor, born January 28, 1457
  3. Henry Stafford (married 1461, died 1471).  Henry Stafford was her second cousin; his grandmother, Joan Beaufort, was also a child of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.  Henry was a first cousin of Edward IV.
  4. Thomas Stanley, Lord Stanley, later Earl of Derby (married 1472, died 1504)

Timeline

Note: many details have been left off.  See: Margaret Beaufort biography

1443

Margaret Beaufort born

1444

Father, John Beaufort, died

1450

Marriage contract with John de la Pole

1453

Marriage to Edmund Tudor

1456

Edmund Tudor died

1457

Henry Tudor born

1461

Marriage to Henry Stafford

1461

Edward IV took crown from Henry VI

1462

Guardianship of Henry Tudor given to a Yorkist supporter

1470

Rebellion against Edward IV put Henry VI back on throne

1471

Edward IV again became king, Henry VI and his son both killed

1471

Henry Stafford died of wounds suffered in battle on behalf of the Yorkists

1471

Henry Tudor flees, went to live in Brittany

1472

Married to Thomas Stanley

1482

Margaret’s mother, Margaret Beauchamp, died

1483

Edward IV died, Richard III became king after imprisoning Edward’s two sons

1485

Defeat of Richard III by Henry Tudor, who became King Henry VII

October 1485

Henry VII crowned

January 1486

Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

September 1486

Prince Arthur born to Elizabeth of York and Henry VII, Margaret Beaufort’s first grandchild

1487

Coronation of Elizabeth of York

1489

Princess Margaret born, named for Margaret Beaufort

1491

Prince Henry (future Henry VIII born)

1496

Princess Mary born

1499 – 1506

Margaret Beaufort made her home at Collyweston, Northamptonshire

1501

Arthur married Catherine of Aragon

1502

Arthur died

1503

Elizabeth of York died

1503

Margaret Tudor married James IV of Scotland

1504

Thomas Stanley died

1505 – 1509

Gifts to create Christ’s College at Cambridge

1509

Henry VII died, Henry VIII became king

1509

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon coronation

1509

Margaret Beaufort died

 

Next: Margaret Beaufort Biography