Lady Margaret Beaufort, the 'Red Queen'
by Dr Mark Nicholls

Date: Thursday 23 March 2017

Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), unofficial ‘Queen Mother' for her son Henry VII, was an eminent background figure in the Wars of the Roses and a great educational benefactress to Cambridge and Wimborne.

Lady Margaret Beaufort, the 'Red Queen'

Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509) was one of the most interesting, as well the richest, Englishwomen of the later Middle Ages. A descendant of Edward III, and three times married, she was the mother of Henry Vll (1485-1509), becoming unofficial ‘Queen Mother’. She was notable for her charitable foundations and was a great educational benefactress, founder of Christ’s and St John’s Colleges, Cambridge. She was born in 1443 and just outlived Henry VII.

Her parents are buried in Wimborne Minster, and she founded the grammar school there. The future Henry VII was born posthumously after the death of her husband when she was only thirteen. He claimed his title through her.  She married secondly the son of the Duke of Buckingham and thirdly Lord Stanley whose non-intervention at the Battle of Bosworth was crucial to the defeat of Richard III. She was a major influence on the Lancastrian side during the latter part of the War of the Roses and during her son's reign. 

Dr Mark Nicholls is a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and a reader in history at Cambridge University. He is a former President of the College and is currently College Librarian. He is an expert on Tudor and Elizabethan history and many will remember his talk to the Society on ‘Sir Walter Raleigh’

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