Tudors Dynasty Podcast: Interview with Historian Dan Jones

*Note: This episode may include curse words or statements that may offend you, but let’s be honest, that’s what makes this one the most fun!

This episode is my final episode before I take a brief break from recording – don’t worry, I’ll be back in September. When I made the announcement that I would be switching to seasons in order to be able to spend more time with my family I figured I needed my final episode to be a big one – one to hold you over for two months. I am pleased to announce that (in my opinion) I was able to do that by booking Dan Jones as a guest.

Dan Jones is a historian and author who many of you may recognize without needing an introduction. For those who are not as familiar with Dan you may recognize him as the host of Secrets of Great British Castles on Netflix, or Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty as well as a plethora of Tudor themed programs. Dan has eight books under his belt with his most recent one, Crusaders due out in the US his Fall.

In this episode we really cover a WIDE variety of topics and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it.


Pre-order Dan’s upcoming book:

Barnes & Noble

Special thank you to historian and author Heather R. Darsie for her assistance with some of the questions. Check out her book Anna, Duchess of Cleves – out July 1 in the US.

The Unfortunate Countess: Margaret Pole

At Farleigh Castle on the 14th of August 1473, a daughter was born to the Duke and Duchess of Clarence. They called her Margaret, most likely after the Duke’s sister’s Margaret of Burgundy. Margaret was born during the brutal and bloody time of the Wars of the Rose – a powerful family divided by the House of York and House of Lancaster, and each believed the throne of England belonged to them. Margaret Plantagenet was born in the middle of this English chaos. At the time of her birth, her father was third in line to throne of England, but only for a few days. On the 17th of August 1473 was born a son to Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. They called him Richard, presumably after Richard, Duke of Gloucester and future Richard III.

If you’d prefer to listen to the podcast that went along with this please click the image below to be directed to it:

George, Duke of Clarence was the troubled middle brother of King Edward IV and Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Like his brothers and father he was an excellent warrior but was easily swayed by power. His wife Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence was the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, or the “Kingmaker” as he is generally referred to. Warwick was instrumental in placing Edward Plantagenet (Edward IV) on the throne. When the new king, Edward IV chose to secretly wed the widowed Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick was not happy. All the hard work to put together treaties and alliances was all wasted. To make matters worse, Elizabeth Woodville was the widow of John Grey – who fought and died for the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses. She was from the enemy’s side.

Warwick’s anger towards his sovereign grew and grew until he took action – once again to prove that he deserved to be called the “Kingmaker”. The King’s brother George appeared to have been a jealous man, and maybe a paranoid man. Of the three brothers, he was the middle brother. Using that to his advantage, Warwick and George plotted to join their two families in marriage. Warwick’s eldest daughter Isabel secretly wed the Duke of Clarence without the permission of his brother the King and the King’s own mother joined in on the betrayal and informed everyone that Edward was not the legitimate son of Richard, Duke of York but an archer. The plan was to disgrace and remove Edward IV and replace him with George and Isabel at the helm. This plan, too, would fail.

Long story short, the Earl of Warwick was killed in battle, Isabel Neville died and George, Duke of Clarence was executed. By 1478 Margaret Plantagenet and her brother Edward were both orphans.

Life After Death

Life for Margaret and her brother would never be the same. They were taken in by the royal household and by 1485 their uncle Edward IV was dead , as were his two sons the princes in the Tower, not to mention their paternal uncle Richard III and maternal aunt and queen consort Anne Neville. The only people remaining were Elizabeth Woodville and her daughters.

When Henry Tudor became King of England in 1485, some believed that Margaret and her brother Edward had a stronger claim to the throne than Henry – who had won the crown on the battlefield. This resulted in Lambert Simnel being touted as the young Edward, Earl of Warwick as claimant to the throne by means of the House of York. Their plan was to get people to join an army against the Tudor king. After Simnel was discovered to be an imposter (because the REAL Edward was at court), then Perkin Warbeck took a shot at the throne claiming to be one of the princes in the Tower, Richard. Warbeck was eventually arrested and in 1499 both he and the real Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick were executed for plotting treason. Margaret Plantagenet was now the only member of her family alive, but she was not alone.


At the age of 14, Margaret was married to Richard Pole, a loyal subject of the king and relative of Margaret Beaufort. The marriage was a good match in the eyes of Henry VII because there was a serious threat of Margaret being a figurehead for further uprisings. A marriage to Pole would make it more difficult for plotters to use Margaret as a figurehead for their Yorkist cause.

Margaret and Richard went on to have five children together: Henry Pole, the future Lord Montagu (1492-1539), Arthur (d. c.1527/8), Ursula (d. 1570), Reginald (1500-1558), and Geoffrey Pole (d. 1558).

At the age of 28 Margaret spent five months in the household of Katherine of Aragon, until the death of the Prince of Wales in April 1502.
Sir Richard Pole died in October 1504. After his death, Margaret was left to raise five children in the difficult financial situation she was left in after her husband’s death. Her jointure was not sufficient for the circumstances she inherited. Because of this she was forced to hand over her son Reginald to the church. She had no other choice.

Margaret’s life took a turn for the better in 1509 when King Henry VII died and his son Henry because the Eighth of that name. Margaret found herself once again in the household of Katherine of Aragon, only this time she was queen consort and not Princess of Wales.
In 1512, at the petition of Margaret, Henry VIII granted her the earldom of Salisbury, making her Countess of Salisbury in her own right. Things were beginning to look up for not only Margaret but also her children as they were in favor of the king.

The fact that Margaret held the peerage title in her own right was a big deal and something rarely heard of in 16th century England. The next notable name to do so was Anne Boleyn in 1532.

The relationship between the King and Margaret wavered a bit in 1518 when Henry repossessed some of her Salisbury lands saying they belonged to the duchy of Somerset.

Princess Mary

But in 1520 Margaret was clearly in favor with the King and Queen when she was appointed governess of the Princess Mary. However, in 1521 she was removed from her position when her sons were implicated the Duke of Buckingham’s treason. Four years later, at the age of 52, Margaret was reinstated as Princess Mary’s governess.

Margaret was very fond of the Princess Mary and protected her like a mother would. Margaret even offered to remain on as Mary’s governess after her household was dissolved in 1533. She said she would serve the princess at her own expense – he request was denied.

Problem Child

It should come as no surprise that after the execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536 Margaret was once again back in favor, but it would not last long. The son who she had given to the church denounced, in writing, King Henry’s royal supremacy. By his letter, Reginald Pole had put his entire family in danger. When Margaret was informed of her son’s letter she wrote him and admonished his letter to the king.

The dissolution of the monasteries, as well as the king claiming royal supremacy, led to what was called The Pilgrimage of Grace.

Evidence remains from the imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys that in 1534 there was already whispers of something big happening in England. Margaret’s youngest son, Geoffrey had been in contact with him. Chapuys was more than happy to report this to his master:

Respecting the disaffection (indisposition) of the Welsh country, to which allusion has been made in the said letters, my information is that the inhabitants are really very much concerned and afflicted at the bad treatment of the Queen and Princess, as well as at what is now being done against the Faith; for they (the Welsh) have always been and are still, to a man, good Christians.

…I am informed from a good quarter, this King is exceedingly annoyed. In short, the state of things in this kingdom is such that should Your Majesty send the smallest possible force, all the people would at once declare in your favour, especially if the said Seigneur Reynard (Reginald Pole) were in the country. (fn. n23)

The latter’s younger brother (Geoffrey) is with me, and would visit me almost every day, had I not dissuaded him from doing so, on account of the danger he might run. He, however, ceases not, like many others, to importune and beg me to write to Your Majesty, and explain how very easy the conquest of this kingdom would be, and that the inhabitants are only waiting for a signal. (fn. n24) I have never spoken to him about his brother (Reginald), except warning him that the latter had much better remain where he is now, and beg his daily bread in the streets, than attempt returning here in these troubled times, for fear he should be treated as the poor bishop of Rochester, or worse still. This he assures me he has done, having written to him many a time, and made his mother also write and warn him not to come here. (8 Nov 1534, Wien, Rep. P.C., Fasc.228, No.62)

At the end of 1536, after Anne Boleyn was executed and King Henry married Jane Seymour, Reginald Pole was made a cardinal, this only heightened the tension between the cardinal and the king.

With the Lady Mary back in favor surely those who backed her with the Pilgrimage of Grace were satisfied.

The Beginning of the End

In the summer of 1538 it all began to unravel for Margaret Pole and her children. A servant of her son Geoffrey called Hugh Holland was arrested. Author Susan Higginbotham of “Margaret Pole – The Countess in the Tower” states that it may have been Margaret’s own pious act which resulted in her family’s downfall.

Margaret maintained a ‘surgeon house’ in Warblington and the house surgeon called Richard Ayer claimed that Margaret kept ‘a company of priests [in her] house which did her much harm and kept her [from] the true knowledge of God’s word’. It appeared to Ayer that Margaret was of the old faith and not the new faith like himself. Word had reached Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal and he sent a spy to collect info for him. The man was Gervase Tyndall and he was a school master. Tyndall lodged at the hospital and Richard Ayer was more than willing to ‘give up the goods’ on Margaret and her family. Ayer told the spy that a servant of Geoffrey Pole called Holland was conveying letters to Reginald Pole and that ‘all the secrets of the realm of England [were] known to the bishop of Rome as well as though he were here.’

Allegedly, when Margaret figured out this Tyndall was of the new religion order Ayer to send him away. Had she been receiving reports that Ayer was spilling the beans? When Tyndall refused to go due to his supposed ‘poor health’ she order Ayer to send all the patients away, but not before it was revealed that Margaret’s council refused to allow her tenants to own an English language bible.

Holland was but a servant and once can assume the man, upon his arrest, was terrified of being tortured. He gave evidence against Geoffrey, which in turn also damned Margaret. Holland stated that he went to Flanders to sell some meat for his master, Geoffrey Pole. While there he was asked to deliver a message to Pole’s brother Reginald. In that letter Geoffrey offered to join his brother – he said, ‘the world in England waxes all crooked, God’s law is turned upside down, abbey and churches overthrown and he [Reginald] is taken for a traiter’, and he also claimed in the letter that assassins had been sent to dispatch Reginald.

In Showtime’s The Tudors, those assassins were Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Thomas Seymour. We don’t know who these assassins but it makes for an interesting story, doesn’t it?

After Reginald read the letter from his younger brother he sent a letter back to his mother, Margaret saying that ‘my hope is in God’ and that he desired her blessing. For his brother Geoffrey he said, ‘meddle little and let all things alone’. But Geoffrey wouldn’t take no for an answer, he clearing wanted to be part of this movement against the King of England. It was not long before he was arrested, on the 29 August 1538, Geoffrey Pole was placed in the Tower of London.

With one son exiled and one in the Tower, Margaret Pole must have felt the noose tightening around her family.

Two months after his arrest Geoffrey Pole was finally interrogated and asked for names of others involved. He named several people, including his own brother Lord Montagu. Pole insisted his brother only wanted change as far as religious matters and that he did not wish harm to the king. By that time it was already too late – he listed his brother, regardless of any disclaimer and it appears that his was so guilt ridden by it all that John Hussee reported to Lord Lisle that Geoffrey was ‘so in despair that he would have murdered himself and, as it was told me, hurt himself sore’. Another man by the name of Richard Morisyne claimed that Geoffrey stabbed himself in the chest with a blunt knife. Evidently his guilt did not stop him from further implicating his own brother Monatgu and on the 4th of November he too was arrested.

During all of this Margaret was at Warblington. Those around her worried that her loose-lipped son would take her down with him just like he did with his brother, Lord Montagu – to that Margaret said, ‘I trow he is not so unhappy that he will hurt his mother, and yet I care neither for him, nor for any other, for I am true to my Prince.’

Eight days after the arrest of her son Lord Montagu, Margaret was visited by the Earl of Southampton, Thomas Goodrich and the Bishop of Ely for questioning at Warblington. For two days they questioned the stoic Countess. Margaret claimed that her son Reginald had not told her that he went abroad because he disliked the way the kingdom was governed. In addition, she had not received any letter concerning him except one from the king. She also did not know about Hugh Holland being sent to deliver letters to her son.

The plot to assassinate Reginald was something that Margaret was aware of, she stated that her son Geoffrey had told her of the King’s plan and she had hoped to change His Majesty’s mind.

Margaret was asked if she knew that her son Geoffrey and Lord Montagu wished to join their brother and she responded that she ‘prayed God she may be torn in pieces if ever she heard such a thing of her sons’. She also denied in questioning that she wished for Reginald to be made Pope.

Margaret admitted that she was sorry for the destruction of the abbey and religious houses where her ancestors were buried.

After questioning had ceased, her interrogators wrote to Cromwell and told him:

“Yesterday…we travailed with the Lady of Salisbury all day, both before and after noon, till almost night. Albeit for all we could do, though we used her diversely, she would utter and convess little or nothing more than the first day, and that she ‘utterly denieds all that is objected unto her; and that with most stiff and earnest words’.”

Her interrogators believed that either Margaret was a marvelous liar or that her sons did not make her privy to their plans.

Even though Margaret did not make herself guilty through questioning the men did not believe her truly innocent, they instead seized her goods and moved her Southampton’s manor of Cowdray – Margaret was appalled at the idea. They hoped that moving her to a less friendly location would get her to open up and confess.

Southampton and Ely were surprised when even that did not work, noting:

We have dealt with such a one, as men have not dealt withal before us; we may call her rather a strong and constant man, than a woman. For in all behaviour howsoever we have used her, she has showed herself so earnest, vehement, and precise, that more could not be.”

Merely two weeks after Margaret was questioned, her eldest son, Lord Montague was tried before a jury of his peers at Westminster. He was followed by the Marquess of Exeter, Geoffrey Pole, Edward Neville, Hugh Holland, George Croftes and John Collins. At all of the trials the men were unanimously found guilty and were sentenced a traitor’s death – to be hanged, drawn and quartered. But since Margaret’s son, Lord Montagu was of a higher ranking he (along with Exeter and Neville) had his sentence commuted to beheading. The other men were not so lucky – after their execution their heads were placed on London Bridge and their quarters were placed ‘on divers gates about London’ – as a reminder to the King’s subjects what happens when you are involved in treason.

Margaret’s son Geoffrey was more fortunate, he was pardoned – something he clearly could not live with as he attempted to take his life in the Tower for a second time since his arrest. Eustace Chapuys reported that he tried ‘to suffocate himself with a cushion’.

By May 1539, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury was attainded on treason. This meant she would not receive a trial. Higginbotham states in her book that ‘the evidence against her appears to have been quite vague, which was undoubtedly why the government chose this means of proceeding.

Her attainder reads:

“And where also Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, and Hugh Vaughan, late of Beckener, in the County of Monmouth, yeoman, by instigation of the devil, putting apart the dread of Almighty God, their duty of allegiance, and the excellent benefit received of his Highness, have not only traitorously confederated themselves with the false and abominable traitors Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, and Reginald Pole, sons to the said countess, knowing them to be false traitors, but also have maliciously aided, abetted, maintianed, and comforted them in their said false and abominable treason, to the most fearful peril of hi Highness, the commonwealth of this realm, &c., the said marchioness and the said countess be declared attained, and shall suffer the pains and penalties of high treason.”

After Cromwell read the Act of Attainder he displayed a tunic from Margaret’s coffer that displaced a coat of arms that appeared to be a combination of the Pole arms with that of the Lady Mary – for it was suspected that the two would wed and return England to Catholicism.

We don’t know for the date for certain but we know that by the 20th of November 1539 Margaret was a prisoner in the Tower of London. The following month Thomas Cromwell was informed that additional clothing was needed for two ladies and their attendants in the Tower, who were under the charge of Thomas Phillips. Margaret apparently made quite a fuss stating that she was in need of proper clothing to keep her warm and to change. Was this why the order was approved by the King to have clothing made for the Countess? The clothing that Katheryn Howard is often given credit for.

Margaret would stay in the Tower for as long as her son Reginald was still a threat.

Margaret Pole was executed on the 27th of May 1541.

French ambassador Marillac said this of Margaret’s execution:

‘yesterday morning, about 7 o’clock, beheaded in a corner of the Tower, in presence of so few people that until evening the truth was still doubted. It was the more difficult to believe as she had been long prisoner, was of noble lineage, above 80 years old, and had been punished but the loss of one son and banishment of the other, and the total ruin of her house.’

Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys had this to say:

The very strange and lamentable execution of Mme. de Salisbury, the daughter of the duke of Clarence, and mother of Cardinal Pole, took place at the Tower in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London and about 150 persons more. At first, when the sentence of death was made known to her, she found the thing very strange, not knowing of what crime she was accused, nor how she had been sentenced; but at last, perceiving that there was no remedy, and that die she must, she went out of the dungeon where she was detained and walked towards the midst of the space in front of the Tower, where there was no scaffold erected nor anything except a small block. Arrived there, after commending her soul to her Creator, she asked those present to pray for the King, the Queen, the Prince (Edward) and the Princess, to all of whom she wished to be particularly commended, and more especially to the latter, whose god-mother she had been. She sent her blessing to her, and begged also for hers. After which words she was told to make haste and place her neck on the block, which she did. But as the ordinary executor of justice was absent doing his work in the North, a wretched and blundering youth … was chosen, who literally hacked her head and shoulders to pieces in the most pitiful manner. May God in His high grace pardon her soul, for certainly she was a most virtuous and honorable lady, and there was no need or haste to bring so ignominious a death upon her, considering that as she was then nearly ninety years old, she could not in the ordinary course of nature live long. When her death had been resolved upon, her nephew [sic], the son of Mr. Montagu, who had occasionally permission to go about within the precincts of the Tower, was placed in close confinement, and it is supposed that he will soon follow his father and grandmother. May God help him!”

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury was laid to rest at St. Peter ad Vincula – the same place where many of our Tudor favorites lay.


Higginbotham, Susan. Margaret Pole – The Countess in the Tower; Amberley Publishing (August 15, 2016)

Pierce, Hazel. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Pole, Margaret, suo jure countess of Salisbury. (28 May 2015)

Facebook no longer shows our posts to a majority of our followers - Don't want to miss out on new articles? Get notified! Subscribe to email updates from Tudors Dynasty.

Join 5,017 subscribers.

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?

Timeline: Henry VII


  • 28 January – Henry Tudor was born to Margaret Beaufort at Pembroke Castle. His father, Edmund Tudor was already deceased.


  • Henry Tudor was made a ward of Lord Herbert. Herbert was a supporter of the newly crowned Edward IV (Yorkist).


  • Lord Herbert was defeated by the Lancastrian faction and executed.


  • 4 May – The Battle of Tewkesbury; Lancaster was defeated. After many deaths Henry Tudor is the last of the Lancastrian royal line and was forced to flee abroad. He spent the next 14 years in exile.


  • 7 August – Henry arrives at Milford Haven. Anchored at Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire and upcoming coming ashore sinks to his knees, looks to the heavens and says, “Judge me O Lord and favour my cause.”
  • 22 August – Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.
  • 27 October – Henry creates his uncle Jasper Tudor as Duke of Bedford and his step-father Thomas Stanley as Earl of Derby.
  • 30 October – Henry Tudor was crowned Henry VII of England at Westminster.
  • 10 December – the Speaker of the House of Commons urged Henry VII to act on his promise to marry Elizabeth of York.


  • 18 January – Married Elizabeth of York – uniting the houses of York and Lancaster
  • 20 September – Birth of first child, son and heir to the throne, Prince Arthur Tudor.


  • Lambert Simnel claims to be Edward IV’s nephew, Edward of Warwick
  • Elizabeth of York is crown Queen of England.
  • 16 June – The Battle of Stoke; Henry VII fought the Earl of Lincoln and Lambert Simnel at Stoke. Simnel was capture and Lincoln was killed.


  • 28 November – Birth of second child, a daughter, Princess Margaret Tudor. Margaret would later marry James IV of Scotland and become Queen of Scots.



  • Perkin Warbeck claims to be Richard, Duke of York (Edward IV’s son).
  • 28 June – Birth of third child, a son, Prince Henry Tudor…future Henry VIII of England.


  • Treaty of Etaples is signed; Peace with France.


  • 18 March – Birth of fourth child, a daughter, Princess Mary Tudor; She would later become Queen of France and then Duchess of Suffolk.



  • Thomas Wolsey is ordained as a priest.


  • 21 February – Birth of fifth child, a son, Edmund Tudor (Duke of Somerset)
  • Edward, Earl of Warwick, 1st cousin to Elizabeth of York and nephew to Richard III is executed.
  • Perkin Warbeck, “The Pretender” is executed.


  • 19 June – Death of fifth child Edmund Tudor


  • 14 November – Henry’s son Arthur marries Katherine of Aragon


  • 2 April – Henry’s eldest son and heir Arthur, Prince of Wales died unexpectedly.



  • 2 February – Birth of sixth child, a daughter, Princess Katherine Tudor.
  • 10 February – Death of sixth child Princess Katherine Tudor.
  • 11 February – Death of Queen Elizabeth of York
  • 25 June – Katherine of Aragon became betrothed to Prince Henry


  • 29 July – Death of Henry’s step-father, Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby.


  • Thomas Wolsey was appointed chaplain to Henry VII


  • 21 April – Death of King Henry VII of England
Henry VII funeral effigy, courtesy Westminster Abbey
Henry VII funeral effigy, courtesy Westminster Abbey

Warwick: The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses

Guest article written by: Tony Riches

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick; John Rous, Rous Roll, 15th century. British Library Add. MS 48976

Sir Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was also known as ‘the king-maker’ or just ‘Warwick’ and lived through one of the most turbulent times in British history. Born on the 22nd of November 1428, he inherited his title through his wife Anne, daughter of the heroic knight and champion jouster Sir Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and became the premier earl in England, and both in power and position.

Although there are at least four major biographies of Warwick, they all skip over his early life. They also fail to explain why one of the richest men in England became such a key figure in what have become known as ‘the Wars of the Roses.’ In the first real battle he led the surprisingly modern ‘guerrilla attack’ through the back gardens of St Albans, while the townspeople were busy barricading the main gate. One of the few men who might have united Lancaster and York, instead he became famous for fighting in major battles on both sides!

As Captain of Calais, he turned privateer, a legitimised ‘pirate’, outrageously overstepping his authority by terrorising merchant shipping in the English Channel with his own private fleet of warships. He sparked an international incident by daring to take on the might of the Spanish fleet – and was rewarded by being made Admiral of England.

The close friend of the kings of England and France, he was the sworn enemy of Queen Margaret of Anjou. Then, in an amazing change of heart, he risked everything to fight for her cause. He lived for his two daughters, yet married Isobel to the king’s hapless and disloyal brother George, and Anne to Margaret of Anjou’s only son. Prince Edward of Lancaster (the only heir apparent to the English throne to die in battle.)

Writers from William Shakespeare to best-selling modern authors – and even a ‘Ladybird’ book (Warwick the Kingmaker: An adventure from history) have tried to show what sort of man Richard Neville must have been, with quite different results.   The only images we have of him are a stylised line-drawing in the medieval ‘Rous Roll’ and a rather stern woodcarving in the Collegiate Church of St Mary’s. Warwick. We also have several examples of his signature, which suggest a striking confidence – and he underline’s his name with a great flourish!

Church of St Mary's Warwick
Church of St Mary’s Warwick
Ladybird Book
Richard Neville’s Signature

I enjoyed immersing myself in the culture of the time, researching what it would have been like to be married at the age of six and knighted by the king as a teenager. He could have had an easy life but instead became a warrior knight, protecting the north against invasion by the Scots. Although we have many references to him in records of the time, embellished stories found their way into popular ballads and poetry, so it is hard to sort out the ‘truth’ from the many myths and legends which developed about him.

Warwick has been called ‘The Last of the Barons,’ a feudal lord, a brave warrior yet a poor leader, although he managed to win the popular support of the people. There is no question that he became a skilled diplomat and successful politician, equally at home in the parliament of Westminster and at the court of King Louis of France.

What is clear is that Richard Neville was one of the most important men in fifteenth century England. He owned extensive lands in Wales and was responsible for many years for controlling the border with Scotland. His story is one of adventure, power and influence at the heart of one of the most dangerous times in the history of England.

WARWICK: The Man Behind The Wars of the Roses

Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon















WARWICK Video Trailer on YouTube

About the Author:

tony richesTony Riches is a full-time author living in rural Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK. To find out more about his books, visit http://tonyrichesauthor.wordpress.com/  and his writing blog at www.tonyriches.co.uk.  You can also find Tony on Goodreads, Facebook and on Twitter @tonyriches




The Redemption of Elizabeth of York

Part 1: Elizabeth of York, mother of Arthur, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Edmund & Katherine Tudor

ElizabethWoodville (2)
Elizabeth Woodville
Maragaret Beaufort
Maragaret Beaufort

In 1485 Henry Tudor took the throne of England from Richard III on the battlefield — with this win he successfully ended the Wars of the Roses.

Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of Elizabeth of York, and Henry Tudor’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, had made an arrangement for Elizabeth of York to wed Henry if he won at the Battle of Bosworth against Elizabeth’s uncle Richard.

As history has recorded, the army of Henry Tudor was successful and thus Elizabeth of York was betrothed to Henry VII.

During the reign of her uncle, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate — when once she had been a prized princess, Richard branded her an outcast and she became less desired for a royal marriage. What Margaret Beaufort and her son Henry were offering was legitimacy — a way to end the wars that had ravaged both of their families for decades.

Henry Tudor was crowned King of England but did not immediately wed the young Elizabeth. Some historians have said that he intentionally waited so he could assert his power as a Tudor and not have it diminished by the daughter of a York. Some believed that Elizabeth deserved the crown over Henry since she was the eldest daughter of Edward IV and she had no surviving brothers (The Princes in the Tower). In addition, Henry and Elizabeth were third cousins — by joining in marriage they together strengthened their combined claims to the throne.

On 18 January 1486, about five months after the Battle of Bosworth, the couple were married. By 20 September 1486, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, a son — Arthur. In November 1487, she was finally crowned queen consort.

Henry VII
Henry VII
Arthur Tudor, c. 1501 - Public Domain
Arthur Tudor
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York






You just read Part 1 of the Series – Catch up here:

Part 2: Arthur: The Man Who Would Be King

Part 3: The Thistle and the Rose: English Princess, Scottish Queen

Part 4: The Legacy of Henry VIII

Part 5: Mary Tudor: English Princess, French Queen

Part 6: Elizabeth Tudor: Lost English Princess