Back by popular demand, after his wonderful talks on King Henry VII, is Nathen Amin! Nathen is author of Tudor Wales, York Pubs, and the bestseller The House of Beaufort, and is currently working on his fourth book, Henry VII and Pretenders to the Tudor Crown.
Nathen's talk is on the Beaufort family and we do hope you enjoy it. Nathen will be joining is in the Tudor Society chatroom on Sunday 28th April to answer your questions on the Beauforts, his books and research.
Hi Nathan and thanks for your talk. Very interesting and informative as always. I was especially interested in the legal shenanigans of changing the legal status of the Beaufort family in the reign of Henry iv to exclude them again, or at least their royal dignity. I guess one doesn’t really want the half brothers claiming the throne when you are King. You are quite right, it is assumed that they were always excluded, but this clearly isn’t the case.
However, the Beaufort claim may have been legitimate but it was a distant claim, not a direct or strong claim, the family were only half siblings to the Lancastrian Kings. Henry Tudor still had only a distant claim, not a strong one, although the fact he met Richard iii in the field and won a victory at the Battle of Bosworth.
There is a question mark over the parentage of Edmund Tudor, however, with Edmund Beaufort being the current favourite, rather than Owen Tudor, who didn’t dispute his kids being his, which would make the relationship between Edmund Tudor and his bride, Margaret, a bit close for comfort. Various Beaufort female nobles are also among the prime suspects for having “parental accidents” according to the DNA of Richard iii on that side of the family. This is speculation and not verified but it is a debate recently reopened after the discovery of Richard in 2012.
Through their children, the Beaufort family, especially Joan of course went on to found just about every well known noble family and the Neville family, through proud Cis we have the mother of Edward iv and Richard iii. Margaret Beaufort of course gave us the birth of the Tudors.
It was, however, I think outrageous that Margaret was left pregnant at the age of twelve with a future son as her husband was in prison and died there, leaving her a widow and mother aged 13, because Edmund Tudor couldn’t wait as he should have done until she was 14. Of course she wouldn’t have had Henry had he waited but then she would have probably have had children with Humphrey Stafford instead. I understand 12 was the legal time to marry but it was advised to wait a couple of years to consummate the marriage. Some people believe Margaret was damaged by this birth and lucky to live and this was why she tried to make the experience of birth better for her grandchildren.
Thank you for your wonderful talk, especially on Joan Beaufort who was every bit as important and impressive as her daughter Cecily Neville. The Beaufort family are of course ancestors to both the House of York and Lancaster and Joan a redoubtable woman. Although she is known for her marriage to Ralph Neville, which gave us the Kingmaker and his two daughters, Anne and Isabel, her personal piety and her charity are perhaps less well known and it was interesting to hear your talk highlighting them. Taking a personal interest in the decision of a young couple to marry without permission and for love shows true humanity and compassion.
Yes, we know about the Duke of Somerset and Edmund Beaufort and his exploits during and before the Wars of the Roses, but its also interesting and even more important to read about the lives of the women as they were the ones who brought the connections, bore and raised the children, networked and often ran the estates, who negotiated for the future of their house and who gave us an insight into Medieval culture through patronage. The First Battle of Saint Albans saw the death of Edmund Beaufort and the Battle of Tewkesbury 1471 saw the end of the male Beaufort line, with the execution of Henry Beaufort, but the line lived on in Margaret. She would see her only child and son crowned as King Henry vii and her grandchildren would become Queens of France and Scotland (Mary and Margaret) and the famous King Henry Viii, whose coronation she also saw, shortly before her death. Tewkesbury also ended the House of Lancaster as far as the direct line, but of course, Henry Vii is a member of that House as well.
For me Margaret Beaufort was a fighter and she never gave up on her dream of seeing Henry on the throne, even when that must have appeared unlikely with three victorious Sons of York and their own families ahead in the Succession, especially when her son was in exile for fourteen years. She made astute and politically sound marriages, especially her final marriage to Lord Thomas Stanley which brought her close to the heart of Yorkist power. Margaret served Elizabeth Woodville and for a short period, Anne Neville, especially at her coronation. I can understand her plotted behind the back of Richard iii, from her point of view, but also her double talking as she hoped to come to an arrangement with regards to the return of Henry from exile. However, her role in the so called Buckingham rebellion was treason as was her plotting with E W and she was exceptionally lucky that Richard graciously refused to ratify the Act of Attainder and spared her life. I don’t agree with her actions, but I can understand her as a mother as well as a woman with a mission. It was interesting hearing about her ancestors, especially Joan, whose spirit and fortitude Margaret inherited. Thanks again.
One question….Wasn’t another Joan Beaufort Queen of Scotland?
Thanks again for your wonderful talk.
Do you have any plans to do a life of Joan or Margaret?
That should read Henry Stafford, not Humphrey who married Margaret Beaufort and Edmund the next Duke of Somerset and his brother John Beaufort, killed after Tewkesbury 1471. They are buried somewhere under what is now the shop in Tewkesbury Abbey.
I was amazed at the number of connections to the Abbey with numerous chantry chapels and tombs of the Neville and Beaufort families.. George, Duke of Clarence and his wife, Isabel Neville, daughter of the Kingmaker are buried in the Clarence vault. There is a memorial stone to Edward, Prince of Wales, killed in controversial circumstances and in very uncertain circumstances after or during the Battle of Tewkesbury, who was buried somewhere in the Choir before the High Alter. He was the first husband of Anne Neville, the Queen of Richard iii. This terrible battle was fought all around the Abbey and saw the end of the Beaufort male line.
The other Joan Beaufort was the daughter of John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset and eldest child of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford, so she was the niece to Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmoreland. She met James I of Scotland while he was a prisoner in England and they married in 1424. She became the mother of James II of Scotland among many others.