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The King's Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby [Paperback]

Michael K. Jones , Malcolm G. Underwood
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 April 1993
This is a study of the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and foundress of two Cambridge colleges. It is at once the first biography of Lady Margaret to explore the full range of archival sources, and one of the best-documented studies of any late-medieval woman. Lady Margaret's early experiences of the medieval 'marriage market' anticipated the turbulent political world in which she reached maturity. Deeply involved in the Wars of the Roses, and conspirator against Richard III, she was to become the foundress of one of England's greatest ruling dynasties. Her considerable wealth, much of it owed to her son's triumph, was used to finance education at Oxford and Cambridge, and her lasting memorials are the Cambridge colleges of Christ's and St John's. Behind her activities as both politician and benefactress can be discerned a vigorous, sometimes ruthless, but always enterprising personality, which left a deep impression on her contemporaries. This is a biography of unusual character which brings to life an extraordinary personality under a great variety of aspects, illuminating in depth the political, social, ecclesiastical and academic history through the life of one of the most remarkable women of the age.

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The King's Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby + Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty + Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (22 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521447941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521447942
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Jones and Underwood … have produced a work that stands as a model of its kind. [They] are to be congratulated on a compassionate and sensitive study, which embraces every possible aspect of their subject's life from high politics to intellectual endeavour.' The Ricardian

' … a complex portrait, quite unlike the traditional one-dimensional picture of a pious, nun-like benefactress.' The Times

'[The authors'] diligence has paid handsome dividends, allowing them to draw a rounded and unusually intimate portrait of their subject.' The Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

This is a study of the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and foundress of two Cambridge colleges. It is at once the first biography of Lady Margaret to explore the full range of archival sources, and one of the best-documented studies of any late-medieval woman.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The Beaufort family was the offspring of an adulterous liaison between John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford, who later became his last duches. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Amelrode TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Margaret was the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset. Through him she was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his mistress and third wife, Katherine Swynford, and she became the heiress of the house of Lancaster. But following Gaunt's marriage to Katherine, their children (the Beauforts) were legitimized, but the legitimation carried a condition: their descendants were barred from ever inheriting the throne. Despite this, every monarch after him,including Lady Margaret's own son King Henry VII, is descended from Gaunt and Swynford.

In 1455 she was married to Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond who died only a year later. Edmund was the eldest son of the king Henry VI's mother, Dowager Queen Catherine of Valois (the widow of Henry V) by her second marriage to Owen Tudor. Their only son was to become the first Tudor King of England, Henry VII. He claimed the throne of England through her, ignoring that she and not him should have claimed the crown. Margaret did not contest Henry's right to rule; however, she occasionally used the signature Margaret R, a form limited to queens regnant. She married twice more: Sir Henry Stafford and Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. But she remained first of all The Countess of Richmond.

Margaret was instrumental in secretly conspiring against King Richard III and one if not the driving force to overthrow the king. After her son won the crown at Bosworth Field, Margaret was referred to in court as "My Lady the King's Mother." However, Margaret was reluctant to accept a lower status than the dowager queen consort Elizabeth Woodville or even her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth of York, the queen consort. She wore robes of the same quality as the queen consort and walked only half a pace behind her.
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1 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King's Mother Book 10 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered two of these books and they arrived, as usual, promptly from Amazon. One was slightly damaged but replaced immediately following easy-to-use instructions. Again, thank you Amazon!
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Scholary and Very Detailed 10 Dec 2000
By Ricky Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lady Margaret Beaufort was the Countess of Richmond and Derby and the mother of a king, Henry VII, whose coronation put the finishing touches on the War of the Roses. Looking at her life is a wonderful way to examine this pivotal period in English history as she was a pivotal person, herself, during this period. Sometimes she was a pawn in the plans of others but often she created her own destiny, while all the time remaining a creature of politics and a survivor at a time when very many did not. The authors have done their research well and provide a very detailed account. Often the financial details can be very revealing and occasionally monotonous to the casual historian but always important. This is a very good study of an important woman.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great bio 18 Jan 2005
By Brian Hawkinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let's face it, women of the medieval times aren't too well known, and those that are, such Eleanor of Aquitaine, are hidden behind shadows and are really only noticed through the male figure(s) in her life.

That being said, Jones and Underwood did a great job in illustrating just who Margaret Beaufort really was. Not only do they capture the influence that she had and the political maneuvering that she had to do, but they also capture her life after her son became king, showing her role in religious houses and orders as well as the universities.

A great bio for a great woman. Anyone studying the Tudors should read this book. Anyone, for that matter, interested in England in the fifteenth century must read this book. Margaret Beaufort's role was just too important.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Reliable Academic History 31 Mar 2010
By Judith Loriente - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a thorough and competent study of Lady Margaret Beaufort. Study - not biography. At times it's almost too thorough; it presents a huge amount of information, but doesn't always do so in a lively manner, so that it occasionally reads like a dense catalogue of names, dates and events.

If you're after an easy-to-read biography that rushes along like a riveting novel, this is probably not what you want (Desmond Seward's The Wars of the Roses: Through the Lives of Five Men and Women of the Fifteenth Century might be a better option). But if you're already familiar with the woman and her era and want to read a detailed academic study, or if you're studying fifteenth century England and want reliable academic history instead of popular history of doubtful accuracy, you couldn't ask for more.
5.0 out of 5 stars weighty tome, but worth it! 6 Jan 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a light read, but the time investment is well worth it. Jones gives a detailed and unbiased account of Margaret Beaufort.
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