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4.0 out of 5 stars The history of the Beauforts from John of Gaunt to Henry Tudor, 19 July 2012
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This review is from: A Pride of Bastards: A History of the Beaufort Family, Their Origins and Their Part in the Agincourt War and the Wars of the Roses (Paperback)
The House of Beaufort is an English noble family, which originated in the fourteenth century and played an important role in the political struggles of the fifteenth century. The name Beaufort refers to a castle in Champagne, France (now Montmorency-Beaufort), once the possession of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, third son of King Edward III.

The family is descended from John Beaufort (1371-1410), John of Gaunt's son by his then-mistress Katherine Swynford. Gaunt later married Swynford, and their children were legitimized, but were officially barred from succeeding to the throne ('excepta regali dignitate').

The Beauforts were a powerful and wealthy family from the start, and rose to greater power when their half-brother became King Henry IV.

When the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses broke out in the later fifteenth century, the Beauforts were the chief supporters of Henry VI and the House of Lancaster.

Henry VII traced his claim to the English crown through his mother, Margaret Beaufort, granddaughter of John Beaufort, and great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt. (Since all legitimate descendants of John of Gaunt were dead, the original exclusion of the Beaufort line was set aside.)

The Beauforts suffered heavily in the Wars of the Roses. Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and all four of his sons were killed in the war, leaving no legitimate male heir. The male line was continued through Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset.

Geoffrey Richardson produced another well-written and readable book about the Wars of the Roses and the families involved. His choice of title "A Pride of Bastards" clearly indicates his dislike of this family. Indeed, it is a logical conclusion that England would have been better off without the Beauforts.

Book rec'd as new and well packed.

Recommended.
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Location: North Shields, England

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