Navigating The Who’s Who In A Tumultuous Time in England: The Wars of the Roses

Guest article by Sari Graham

Anyone who has an interest in Tudors history has surely heard of the Wars of the Roses, otherwise known as The Cousins’ Wars. For many, this is a very confusing period in history, as there are multiple players on the board with multiple claims to the throne, all thanks to the multiple sons of King Edward III. It sure doesn’t help that many of them all share the same given names! Due to the extensive detail of this period of history, there was a lot of back and forth and up and down as the Wheel of Fortune turned, before the penultimate checkmate at Bosworth and the union of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First off, who were the Plantagenets?
The Plantagenets were a powerful European family originally from Anjou, a duchy in France and a prominent fief to the French crown. The word ‘Plantagenet’ comes from planta genista, which is the Latin name for the Yellow Broom Flower, which was worn as an emblem by the Counts of Anjou. In total, the Plantagenets ruled England for 331 years, which includes the Lancastrian and Yorkist kings, starting with King Henry II in 1154 and ending with King Richard III in 1485.

Here is where things will start to get a bit tricky- The Plantagenets can be subdivided into four parts:

The Angevins (3 kings; Henry II, Richard I, and John)
The Plantagenets (4 kings; Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III)
The House of Lancaster (3 kings; Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI)
The House of York (3 kings; Edward IV, Edward V de facto, and Richard III)

So what does a thirty yearlong war have to do with a king who was already dead for 78 years? Well, it has less to do with King Ned than it does his offspring.

Let’s review:

Edward III and his wife Philippa of Hainault had thirteen children- Yes, THIRTEEN (God bless her,) however we are only concerned with his four surviving sons:

-Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
-John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
-Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
-Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester

It was the descendants of these four men that would spark the Cousins’ Wars. Two brothers fostered the York branches, and two fostered the Lancaster branches.

Lionel of Antwerp was the third son of Edward III, but second to survive infancy after his eldest brother, Edward of Woodstock (aka The Black Prince, a nickname he was not given in his lifetime. He predeceased his father in 1376.) Lionel and his first wife, Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster had one daughter, Philippa, 5th Countess of Ulster in her own right. It’s through his daughter and her descendants that the female line of York descends. Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York gets his claim to the throne via his mother Anne Mortimer, who was a granddaughter of Philippa and great-granddaughter of Lionel.

Interestingly enough, Richard Duke of York’s claim to the throne also comes through his father’s line as a grandson to Edward III’s fourth surviving son, Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. Richard’s father, The 3rd Earl of Cambridge was the second son of Edmund of Langley and his first wife, Isabella of Castile. Richard inherited the duchy of York from his childless uncle, Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York.

Confused yet? Are you keeping all of these Richards and Edwards and Dukes straight?

In summation, Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York had excellent ancestry from both of his parents’ families, which is where the York line get their claim. Through his mother, he was a great-great-great grandson of King Edward III, and through his father he was a great-grandson of Edward III. It was this heritage that his son, the future King Edward IV, would use as his claim to the throne as the first Yorkist king.

Moving over to the Lancaster side of things, we will now discuss the descendants of John of Gaunt, as his ancestors also split down two lines.
John of Gaunt is probably the most well known son of Edward III. He was the fourth son, but the third to survive infancy. An inordinately large suit of armour housed in the Tower of London is said to have been his, standing at a towering 6’9″, however this claim is disputed and very likely incorrect. It’s through his first and third wives that the claimants of the House of Lancaster descend.

John of Gaunt and his first wife, Blanche of Castile were the parents of King Henry IV, who overthrew his cousin King Richard II in September 1399. (Remember earlier when I mentioned Edward of Woodstock predeceased his father? Richard II was his son, and therefore succeeded his grandfather Edward III.) This made them the ancestors of Henry V as well as Henry VI. Whew, that was easy! Aahh, but not so fast. It’s through John’s third marriage to Katherine Swynford that things get a bit more complicated.

Katherine was first his mistress for many years, and together they had four illegitimate children, three sons and one daughter. Richard II later legitimized these children as adults, some time after John and Katherine were married, but they were barred from succeeding to the throne by their half-brother, Henry IV. However, when has a parliamentary statute ever stopped someone from pursuing the crown?

It was their eldest son, also named John, that the Lancasters derive their second branch from.

John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and later 1st Earl of Somerset was the eldest of four children of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. He and his siblings took the name of Beaufort, likely from their father’s lordship of Beaufort in Champagne, France. Is Beaufort sounding familiar? It should! It was John’s granddaughter, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby who passed her claim to the throne to her son, Henry Tudor.
This lineage makes Henry Tudor a great-great grandson of John of Gaunt, and a great-great-great grandson of King Edward III. However, this line was often met with criticism as it was viewed as being illegitimate, despite the fact that the four Beaufort children had been legitimized not only by Richard II and parliament, but also by Pope Boniface IX in 1396.

Finally, we come to the fourth son, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. His descendants get their claim mostly through marriage of the female line, which many felt invalidated their claim entirely.
Thomas was attainted as a traitor in 1397 as the leader of the Lords Appellant, who opposed and sought to impeach some of the King’s (Richard II) favourites in order to curb what they felt was bordering on tyrannical rule. On behalf of King Richard II, Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, murdered the undle of the King.

It was through Thomas’ daughter Anne and her marriage into the powerful Stafford family that his line gets claim. Anne’s son, Humphrey Stafford was created Duke of Buckingham in 1444, and because of his mother’s ancestry, gave him royal blood as a cousin to King Henry VI. His wife was the Lady Anne Neville (Not that Anne Neville,) who herself was a daughter of Joan Beaufort, which connects back to John of Gaunt as his granddaughter.

Still with me?

Humphrey Stafford was succeeded by his son, another Henry, in 1460 as the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. His wife was the Lady Katherine Woodville, sister to Edward IV’s queen Elizabeth.
It was this Henry who was implicated in the disappearance and possible murder of the Princes in the Tower in the summer of 1483. He was later executed by King Richard III on 2 November 1483 for his role in Buckingham’s Rebellion. He left a young son, Edward, who was allegedly hidden away during the rebellion in order to protect him from the wrath of King Richard III. After the victory of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth, the young Edward Stafford was made a Knight of the Order of the Bath as the Duke of Buckingham in October 1485. The attainder against his father (which would have prevented him from inheriting titles,) was reversed a month later.

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham’s claim to the throne was due to him being a {4x great-grandson – check this} of Edward III through the youngest son, Thomas of Woodstock, as well as a […. To be continued]

So it would seem that everyone had a blood claim to the throne of England. The real question is, whose claim was the strongest?

Most Influential Tudor Women: Margaret Beaufort

On my Facebook page called, Tudors Dynasty, I asked my followers who they believed to be the most influential women of the Tudor era. It is because of this poll that I decided to turn this into a series of episodes about some amazing Tudor women.

Before I start, let’s understand what influential truly means.

The Definition of Influential is: having great influence on someone or something.

Now that we know the definition of the word, does that change our ideas about who we believe were some of the most influential of the Tudor period?

Poll Results

When I posed this question on my blog and took a poll, the winner was, with 35% of the votes, Queen Elizabeth I, followed by her great-grandmother, Margaret Beaufort with 27% and rounding off the top three was her mother, Anne Boleyn with 19%. I honestly was not too surprised by the results.

Since I have already done a six-part series on Elizabeth I decided to do this episode on Margaret Beaufort – someone whom many of you have requested I talk more about.

With that, this article could not have happened without the wonderful guidance of Susan Abernethy and her website, The Freelance History Writer. Susan is also the admin for the Facebook page, Tudor History Lovers.

So, here we go…

Margaret Beaufort

Let’s talk about Margaret Beaufort. Authors like Philippa Gregory have not done Margaret the justice she deserves. While Gregory used to be one of my favorite Historical Fiction authors, I agree with many that her dislike for Beaufort is evident in her books.

Margaret lived quite an amazing life. Born on the 31st of May 1443, Margaret was the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp. Margaret’s father was the grandson of the well-known, John of Gaunt and his mistress (whom later he married) Katherine Swynford.

Margaret Beaufort was married several times. Not unusual for the time. Her first marriage (which may have only been a betrothal) was around 1450 – Margaret was merely six or seven years old and she wed John de la Pole. Pole’s father, the Earl of Suffolk had arranged the marriage. Whether or not there was an actual marriage is unclear but Margaret was returned to her mother and it is agreed that the marriage was never consummated. However, when the Earl of Suffolk was disgraced in 1450, their marriage (or betrothal) was voided. It was as if the marriage never happened and later in life Margaret never considered him as one of her husbands.

That same year Edmund and Jasper Tudor were granted her wardship by their half-brother, King Henry VI.


Before I go forward, for those unfamiliar with their genealogy, the King, Edmund and Jasper all shared the same mother, Katherine of Valois. Katherine was the wife of King Henry V and they had a son, Henry, who became the Sixth King Henry upon the death of his father and predecessor.

Katherine, still young (not quite 21) and stunningly beautiful fell in love with Owen Tudor (a member of her household), they may have secretly wed (there is no evidence available to prove a marriage) but we do know that they were the parents of Edmund and Jasper. Following along?

First Marriage

Some have speculated that Henry VI planned the wardship of 1453 so that one of his half-brothers could wed Margaret, who was a surviving member of the House of Lancaster. Two years later (1455) Margaret, then twelve years old married Edmund who was twenty-two and the Earl of Richmond.

Even though Margaret was only twelve at the time of their marriage the marriage was consummated and Margaret soon became pregnant. Margaret was just a child by today’s standards and physically she most definitely was still very petite.

In August of 1456, while Margaret was pregnant with his child, Edmund Tudor was captured by an ally of the Duke of York and imprisoned. He died three months later of the plague at Carmarthen Castle. After the death of her husband, the heavily pregnant thirteen year-old girl placed herself under the protection of Jasper Tudor, her brother-in-law at Pembroke Castle, the place her son Henry (named for King Henry VI) was born at the end of January 1457.

Wars of the Roses

Shall we discuss briefly the Wars of the Roses briefly?

The Wars of the Roses were the civil wars fought in England and Wales between the Houses of York and Lancaster between 1455 and 1485 and most definitely ended with the battle of Bosworth in 1485, when the army of Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII, the first Tudor king) killed Richard III. In my opinion, the battles began when King Henry VI could no longer rule his country due to his health condition. What was his health condition?


The great disorder or illness that struck down King Henry in August 1453 and kept him in what appears to have been a catatonic stupor for over a year. The causes are still not known to modern medicine. Most modern diagnoses of the King’s illness tentatively identify it as catatonic schizophrenia. Henry’s maternal grandfather King Charles VI of France suffered from recurring, severe bouts of “madness”, during which he became dangerously violent, did not recognise his wife or the fact that he was king.

When the Henry VI was having one of his bouts was about the time that Richard, Duke of York (father of Edward IV and Richard III) began to fight for what he believed was his rightful place on the throne of England. Anyway, I digress – Back to Margaret.

Birth of Henry Tudor & Second Marriage

At thirteen years old, the birth of her son had been hard on the young woman’s body. It is believed that Margaret suffered permanent damage from childbirth and would have no other children.

For the first year of Henry’s life Margaret remained at Pembroke with her brother-in-law. She had asked Jasper for assistance in finding her a second husband. Finally an agreement was made and Margaret married the Duke of Buckingham’s son, Henry Stafford in January 1458. After the wedding, young Henry stayed in the custody of his uncle Jasper and Margaret and her husband made regular visits.

Separated From Her Son

Unfortunately their happiness would not last long when in 1461, Edward, Earl of March became King Edward IV, Margaret’s son’s wardship was sold to a Yorkist supporter – Lord Herbert. Luckily for Margaret she was still able to schedule regular visits to see her son and when she could not see him she would send letters to Lord Herbert asking about her son’s well-being.

The Battle of Barnet, in April 1471, was a game changer for Margaret and her little family. Her husband was wounded and had to return home due to his injuries. Less than a month later there was another Yorkist victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury. It was at Tewkesbury that Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou was defeated and their son Edward was killed.

Roughly a week after the Battle of Tewkesbury, Henry VI, who had been locked in the Tower was killed – or murdered.

Because of the death of Henry VI, Margaret Beaufort and her son held the strongest claim to the English throne on the Lancastrian side. Because of those claims, young Henry’s life was in danger as he posed a threat to Edward IV and the House of York – because of that Jasper Tudor fled England with Henry and ended up in Brittany.

Six months after he sustained his injuries at the Battle of Barnet, Margaret’s second husband (Henry Stafford) died, most likely from his wounds.

Third Marriage

Margaret, a Lancastrian (with rights to the throne) was in danger without a husband during the reign of the Yorkist, Edward IV. Eight months after the death of her second husband, Margaret married for a third time to Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby. With Stanley’s influence and position at court Margaret was able to protect her land and wealth, but Stanley, as her husband, would now have access to it all – so it benefited him in the long run.

Since her new husband was tight with King Edward IV both Stanley and Margaret did spend time at court. It does not appear, however, that their marriage was necessarily a happy one. That is no unusual as many marriages during the time were arranged and did not happen out of love.

While at the court of Edward IV, Margaret tried everything in her power to return her son Henry to favor.

It wasn’t until 1476 that she gained favor with the Queen consort, Elizabeth Woodville and six years later Margaret was given the honor of holding Princess Bridget at her christening.

After ingratiating herself with the King and Queen she was able to persuade Edward IV to allow her son, Henry to return to England. Part of the deal was that they had also discussed a marriage between their daughter the Princess Elizabeth and Henry Tudor. Unfortunately, before the deal could be finalized Edward IV died. Henry could not yet return to England – it was not safe.

Reign of Richard III

Margaret and her son were once again thrown into political uncertainty with the reign of the new young King Edward V. Because of the young King’s youth his uncle and protector, Richard of Gloucester had the children of his brother (Edward IV) and Elizabeth Woodville declared illegitimate due to a marriage between the deceased King and Eleanor Butler prior to his marriage to Woodville. The next in line to the throne after Edward’s children was….you called it, Richard. He then became Richard III.

Richard did not have an easy time of it. There were many who believed what he had done was completely unacceptable (especially Elizabeth Woodville) and would do whatever it took to remove the usurper.

This was about the time that Margaret Beaufort and dowager queen Elizabeth Woodville began to discuss more seriously a marriage between their children. This marriage would benefit both parties and the two women were eager to see it come to fruition.

Richard III at the time was not sure who he could trust, I mean, it was really his own fault. Did he truly believe that his nieces and nephews were illegitimate? Or did he just use it as an excuse for his ambition? Since Richard did not know for sure if Stanley, the husband of a Lancastrian heir would be loyal to him, he imprisoned him for a short while. Once Stanley had declared his support for Richard III he was released. Surprisingly, both Stanley and Margaret took part in the coronation of Richard and his consort, Anne Neville. Margaret had gained enough favor that she carried the queen’s train.

Henry was constantly on Margaret’s mind. All she wanted for her son was to regain his titles and lands that were stripped from him when Edward IV came to throne. In addition, she wished for her son to return to England after YEARS in exile.

With the help of her nephew, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret felt confident that her son could return to England and fight for the Crown.

When Richard III discovered the plot to remove him from the throne, the Duke of Buckingham was apprehended and executed. Margaret’s life was spared (only because of Stanley’s loyalty to the king) but she was attained for treason by Parliament and sentenced to life in prison (really house arrest) – her goods and lands were also confiscated by the Crown.

Battle of Bosworth

Even though Margaret was under house arrest she was still able to keep in contact with her son. By the Summer of 1485, Henry was on his way to England with his uncle Jasper and troops. It was the Battle of Bosworth that changed the course of history when the troops of Henry Tudor (along with the help of his step-father) defeated and killed Richard III.

Henry Tudor became King Henry VII of England when Richard III took his last breath and his army was defeated.

Margaret, at least for a moment, could breathe a sigh of relief. She was released from her house arrest (and obviously got back her goods and land) and after fourteen years apart the mother and son were reunited.

Henry VII

With her son was back in England and now King, the marriage she had planned with Elizabeth Woodville happened on the 18th of January 1486, about two months after his coronation. This marriage combined together the Houses of York and Lancaster, effectively ending the War of the Roses.

From day one of Henry’s reign Margaret was by her son’s side. He had been away from England for over a decade and she was able to offer him advice on politics when needed. Margaret also played an important role in Henry’s new reign as she assisted in many matters including ceremonies and special commissions.

I love this next part – due to her new position as My Lady, the King’s Mother, Margaret was able to gain independence from her husband. This allowed her to have sole claim to all her property and land. Almost unheard of back then.

Margaret may have also been a mother-in-law from hell. Poor Elizabeth of York (who had been raised to marry one day and become a consort) was overshadowed by Margaret who essentially acted like she was Queen.

When it came to her grandchild, Margaret was delighted. She is said to have had a special relationship with her grandson, Henry.

From Susan Abernethy and her website,

In her later years Margaret made significant religious, educational and literary contributions. She became a patron and benefactor of two colleges at Cambridge University.

Margaret would just barely outlive her son, Henry VII who died in April 1509. She was able to witness the wedding of her grandson Henry to Katherine of Aragon and then the dual coronation. Margaret passed away on the 29th of June 1509 – five days after Henry’s coronation.

After years of upheaval and struggles, Margaret Beaufort could finally rest in peace knowing that the Tudor name would be carried on through her grandson Henry VIII. Little did she know how it would all play out. The Tudor dynasty reigned 118 years.


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3rd Duke of Buckingham: Victim of Hearsay

(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was born 3 February 1478, at Brecon Castle in Wales to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Katherine Woodville.

Katherine Woodville was sister to Elizabeth Woodville who became Queen of England after secretly marrying Edward IV.

Photo Andrew Tivenan
Photo Andrew Tivenan – Brecon Castle


Edward Stafford had a viable claim to the throne through his paternal grandfather, Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who was the son of Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of Edward III. Some said Buckingham boasted that his claim was stronger than Henry VIII’s since Henry’s father was from the illegitimate line of Edward III through his son, John of Gaunt.

The discussion, or hearsay, began after it became evident that Henry VIII’s queen, Katherine of Aragon would no longer be able to produce a male heir. It was assumed that the Tudor line would die out since a girl (Princess  Mary) had not been considered as an heir.

When Henry VIII was informed of the things his royal cousin was “saying” he requested and investigation.

“On April 8, 1521, the duke was ordered to London from his castle at Thornbury. He set out for the court, seemingly unaware of any danger, and was greatly shocked when arrested along the way and taken to the Tower. At his trial, he was charged with “imagining and compassing the death of the king,” through seeking out prophecy from a monk named Nicholas Hopkins about the chances of the king having a male heir. Evidence was supposedly obtained from disgruntled former members of the duke’s household.

Buckingham denied all charges. But a jury of 17 peers found him guilty, led by the duke of Norfolk, who condemned him — while weeping.”

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 12 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

It is reported from England that the King had ordered the arrest of the Duke of Buckingham, the chief personage in that kingdom, together with two other Knights of the Garter. The real cause is not known, but according to report the Duke had plotted to assassinate Cardinal Wolsey. This the English ambassador denies, though he does not know the reason, affirming merely the fact of the arrest, and that the King had surrendered the Duke for trial by the peers of the realm.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 13 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

The Royal Courts (li eonsegli regj) have condemned the Duke of Buckingham to death. He will be definitively sentenced this morning (13 May) at Westminster, the final sentence having been passed ordering him for decapitation; and he is gone back to the Tower to be executed according to the custom here, and they will do by him as was done by his father and grandfather.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 14-17 May 1521 - Lodovico Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in England, to his brother Gasparo Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in France:

This morning the late Duke of Buckingham was taken “in forza de’ brazi” from the Tower to the scaffold, at the usual place of execution, with a guard of 500 infantry. He addressed the populace in English. Then on his bended knees he recited the penitential psalms, and with the greatest composure calling the executioner, requested that he would dispatch him quickly, and forgave him; after which he took off his gown, and having had his eyes blindfolded, he laid his neck on the block, and the executioner with a woodman’s axe (fn. 11) severed his head from his body with three strokes.

The corpse was immediately placed in a coffin and carried to the church of the Austin Friars, accompanied by six friars and all the infantry.

The death of the Duke has grieved the city universally. Many wept for him, as did one-third of the spectators, among whom was I. Our Italians had not the heart to see him die. And thus miserably, but with great courage, did he end his days on the 17th of May.

On 17 May 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason.

Scandal Of Buckingham Sisters – 1510

A little insight on Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and the scandal of his sisters (Anne & Elizabeth) which caused havoc with the relationship of Edward Stafford and King Henry VIII:

Letter from  Don Luys Carroz to Miguel Perez De Almazan, First Secretary of State of King Ferdinand the Catholic, 29 May 1510:

Note: We believe the man referred to as Conton is actually William Compton, friend of Henry VIII.

Anne Stafford
Buckingham’s sister, Anne Stafford

What lately has happened is that two sisters of the Duke of Buckingham, both married, lived in the palace. The one of them is the favourite of the Queen, and the other, it is said, is much liked by the King, who went after her. Another version is that the love intrigues were not of the King, but of a young man, his favourite, of the name of Conton, who had been the late King’s butler. This Conton carried on the love intrigue, as it is said, for the King, and that is the more credible version, as the King has shown great displeasure at what I am going to tell. The favourite of the Queen has been very anxious in this matter of her sister, and has joined herself with the Duke, her brother, with her husband and her sister’s husband, in order to consult on what should be done in this case. The consequence of the counsel of all the four of them was that, whilst the Duke was in the private apartment of his sister, who was suspected [of intriguing] with the King, Conton came there to talk with her, saw the Duke, who intercepted him, quarrelled with him, and the end of it was that he was severely reproached in many and very hard words. The King was so offended at this that he reprimanded the Duke angrily. The same night the Duke left the palace, and did not enter or return there for some days. At the same time the husband of that lady went away, carried her off, and placed her in a convent sixty miles from here, that no one may see her. The King having understood that all this proceeded from the sister, who is the favourite of the Queen, the day after the one was gone, turned the other out of the palace, and her husband with her. Believing that there were other women in the employment of the favourite, that is to say, such as go about the palace insidiously spying out every unwatched moment, in order to tell the Queen [stories], the King would have liked to turn all of them out, only that it has appeared to him too great a scandal. Afterwards, almost all the court knew that the Queen had been vexed with the King, and the King with her, and thus this storm went on between them. I spoke to the friar about it, and complained that he had not told me this, regretting that the Queen had been annoyed, and saying to him how I thought that the Queen should have acted in this case, and how he, in my opinion, ought to have behaved himself. For in this I think I understand my part, being a married man, and having often treated with married people in similar matters. He contradicted vehemently, which was the same thing as denying what had been officially proclaimed. He told me that those ladies have not gone for anything of the kind, and talked nonsense, and evidently did not believe what he told me. I did not speak more on that subject.”


Eleanor Percy
Eleanor Percy

Edward Stafford
Edward Stafford

Family Tree of Edward Stafford and Eleanor Percy:

Mary Stafford (born c. 1495) She married George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny. They were the parents of:

  • Mary Neville, Baroness Dacre

Elizabeth Stafford (c. 1497 – 30 November 1558). She married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Together they were the parents of:

Catherine Stafford (born abt. 1499 – 14 May 1555); She married Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. They were parents of:

    • Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland
    • Sir Thomas Neville
    • Edward Neville
    • Christopher Neville
    • George Neville
    • Ralph Neville
    • Cuthbert Neville
    • Dorothy Neville
    • Mary Neville
    • Margaret Neville
    • Elizabeth Neville
    • Eleanor Neville
    • Anne Neville
    • Ursula Neville

Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford (18 September 1501 – 30 April 1563); He married Ursula Pole, daughter of Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury.
They were parents of:

  • Henry Stafford
  • Thomas Stafford
  • Henry Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford
  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Baron Stafford
  • Richard Stafford
  • Walter Stafford
  • William Stafford
  • Elizabeth Stafford
  • Anne Stafford
  • Susan Stafford
  • Jane Stafford
  • Dorothy Stafford, Lady Stafford
    2 daughters whose names are not known

Interesting Notes:

Edward Stafford’s father, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason against Richard III. His mother, Katherine Woodville, married Jasper Tudor. Jasper was the son of Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor. Jasper Tudor was brother of Edmund Tudor – father to Henry VII.



‘Venice: May 1521’, in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526, ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1869), pp. 119-130. British History Online

The Mother of the Tudor Dynasty

Margaret Beaufort – The Queen Mother

"Margaret R" signature
“Margaret R” signature
© National Portrait Gallery, London

I’ll be honest, after reading The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory (the first I read in the Cousin’s War series) I strongly disliked Margaret Beaufort. I felt she was the most evil religious person I had ever read about. Philippa Gregory doesn’t paint her in a very good light in The White Queen either.  She is very obviously the antagonist in her books.

Looking back at the history of Margaret Beaufort her life definitely made her into the woman she became and I cannot blame her for that. She was forced into marriage at the age of twelve when all she wanted was to become a nun. When I was twelve years old I was only beginning to think about boys – I can’t image being married and becoming pregnant at that age.  She was a strong woman who fought for what she thought belonged to her and her family. I can now say I respect her for her determination. She is responsible (with the help from Jasper Tudor) for her son becoming Henry Vll of England.

Courtesy of: Lady Margaret Beaufort – The King’s Mother

Margaret Beaufort was born on May 31, 1443, the daughter of Margaret Beauchamp and her second husband John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset. John Beaufort was at the centre of a complicated royal family. His father, another John Beaufort, was the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt and his mistress Katherine Swynford whom he later married.  The children were legitimised, which resulted in an awful lot of contenders for the throne.

Courtesy of: History Today – Lady Margaret Beaufort

The foundation of the Tudor dynasty in 1485 reflected both the abilities and the good fortune of the new monarch, Henry VII. Henry’s success without doubt owed much to the remarkable determination of his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who had helped arrange his prospective match with Elizabeth of York, sent him money and organised part of the 1483 rebellion. During the new reign Margaret had considerable influence with the King.

With Margaret’s son Henry being crowned king on the battle field (Battle of Bosworth) all of Margaret Beaufort’s dreams and ambitions had come true. She is the mother of all Tudors and deserves more recognition than she receives in the history books and historical fiction novels.

John of Gaunt - son of Edward III
John of Gaunt – son of Richard ll
John Beaufort, Margaret’s father-Grandson to John of Gaunt © National Portrait Gallery, London
possible Margaret Beaufort © National Portrait Gallery, London
Henry Vll © National Portrait Gallery, London