HAHG Lecture: Margaret Beaufort – the Uncrowned Queen

Dr Nicola Tallis gave a stimulating and thoroughly-researched talk to the Henley Archaeological & Historical Group on 2 February about Margaret Beaufort, the ‘devout’ and ‘awesome’ subject of her book entitled “The Uncrowned Queen”.

Margaret was born in 1443, the daughter and sole heiress of the Duke of Somerset. Her childhood was marked by a series of dramatic events – her father’s death when she was aged 1, her marriage (in word) to John de la Pole at the age of 6, her full marriage on her 12th birthday to Edmund Tudor, the death of Edmund and delivery (at the age of 13) of her first, and only, child, Henry.

Things then began to improve for Margaret. Edmund’s brother Jasper helped to arrange a marriage in 1458 to a man of her choice, Henry Stafford. However, following the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, her son was forced to flee abroad and her husband died of wounds received. Margaret remarried, to Thomas Stanley, who was close to King Edward IV.

However, following the death of Edward and the two princes in the Tower, and the accession of Richard III to the throne, Margaret worked with Edward’s widow to advance her son. Henry returned to England and, against all odds, defeated Richard at Bosworth and became King Henry VII. Margaret herself prospered, living alone (but on good terms with her husband), enjoying jewellery and expensive clothes, until she died in 1509.

The group will next convene for its AGM on 2 March, which will include brief contributions by members. The next full talk will be given on 6 April 2021 at 7.45pm by Dr Ed Peveler, on the use of LiDAR technology to reveal ancient features of the Chilterns Landscape.