The Tudors Wiki

Lady Margaret Beaufort  (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. Capitalizing 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. 

A Child Mother[]

Taken into the care of her brother-in-law Jasper Tudor, on 28 January 1457, the Countess gave birth to a son, Henry Tudor, at Pembroke Castle. Just thirteen years old at the time, the birth was extremely difficult for Margaret, as she was not yet physically mature. 

A Proud Mother[]

After her son's victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the Countess was referred to in court as "My Lady the King's Mother". Beaufort was well rewarded for her lifelong endeavors; her son’s first Parliament reversed the attainder against her and named her a “feme sole”. This title, previously reserved almost exclusively for queens, granted Beaufort considerable legal and social independence from men. She was allowed to own property separately from her husband (as though she were unmarried) and sue in court – two rights denied her contemporary women.

As arranged by their mothers, Henry married Elizabeth of York. The Countess was reluctant to accept a lower status than the dowager queen Elizabeth or even her daughter-in-law, the queen consort. She wore robes of the same quality as the queen consort and walked only half a pace behind her. 

While Margaret's position in the royal court was, to some extent, an expression of gratitude by her son, she was likely far less the passive recipient of Henry's favor one might expect.  

A Busy Grandmother[]

Beaufort and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth worked together when planning the marriages of the royal children. They wrote jointly of the necessary instruction for Catherine of Aragon, who was to marry Elizabeth’s son, Prince Arthur. Both women also conspired to prevent Princess Margaret from being married to the Scottish king at too young an age; in this matter, Gristwood writes, Beaufort was undoubtedly resolved that her granddaughter "should not share her fate".

After Elizabeth’s death due to child birth complications in 1503. Margaret became the principal female presence at court. When the death of Prince Arthur necessitated a new heir apparent, Margaret played a part in ensuring Prince Henry was raised appropriately by selecting some members of his new household.

Involvement in Son's Death[]

Henry VII died on 21 April 1509, having designated his mother chief executrix of his will. For two days after the death of her son, Margaret scrambled to secure the smooth succession of her grandson, Henry VIII.

She arranged her son's funeral and her grandson's coronation. At her son's funeral she was given precedence over all the other women of the royal family.


Margaret died on 29 June 1509. This was the day after her grandson Henry VIII's 18th birthday, and just over two months after the death of her son. She is buried in Westminster Abbey.