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Lady margaret beaufort

The meaning of «lady margaret beaufort»

Lady Margaret Beaufort (usually pronounced: /ˈboʊfərt/, BOH-fərt; or /ˈbjuːfərt/, BEW-fərt) (31 May 1441/3 – 29 June 1509) was a major figure in the Wars of the Roses of the late fifteenth century.

A descendant of King Edward III, Beaufort passed a disputed claim to the English throne to her son, Henry Tudor. Capitalising on the political upheaval of the period, she actively maneuvered to secure the crown for her son. Beaufort’s efforts ultimately culminated in Henry’s decisive victory over King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field . She was thus instrumental in orchestrating the ascension of the Tudor Dynasty.

Of it would come two of Britain’s most famous monarchs: Henry VIII (her paternal grandson) and Elizabeth I. With her son crowned Henry VII of England, Beaufort wielded a considerable degree of political influence and personal autonomy – both unusual for a woman of her time. She was also a major patron and cultural benefactor during her son’s reign, initiating an era of extensive Tudor patronage.

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]

She was the daughter and sole heiress of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (1404–1444), a legitimised grandson of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (third surviving son of King Edward III) by his mistress 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]

At the moment of her birth, Margaret's father was preparing to go to France and lead an important military expedition for King Henry VI. Somerset negotiated with the king to ensure that if he were to die the rights to Margaret's wardship and marriage would be granted only to his wife.[citation needed]

As a tenant-in-chief of the crown the wardship of his heir fell to the crown under the feudal system. Somerset fell out with the king after coming back from France and was banished from the royal court pending a charge of treason against him. He died shortly afterwards. According to Thomas Basin, Somerset died of illness, but the Crowland Chronicle reported that his death was a suicide. As his only surviving child, Margaret was heiress to his considerable fortune and inheritor of his contested claim to the throne. Both effectively rendered Margaret, as her biographers Jones and Underwood write, "a pawn in the unstable political atmosphere of the Lancastrian court".[5]

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