The main characters of the War of the Scarlet and White Roses. Mothers of Kings: Margaret Beaufort

The main characters of the War of the Scarlet and White Roses. Mothers of Kings: Margaret Beaufort
Gilded bronze funerary effigy depicting Margaret Beaufort in a black marble canopy tomb. Sculpture by Pietro Torrigiano. Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster

“Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to the destroyers of kings.”
Proverbs 31:3

“Men are guardians of women, because Allah has given some of them an advantage over others <...> And those women whose disobedience you fear, admonish, avoid from the marital bed and beat.”
Koran, 4:34. Surah "Women"

History in faces. History in faces. After the death of Catherine of Bavaria in 1437, her secret husband Owen was very afraid that the uncle of the young king, the Duke of Gloucester, would be angry with him, and therefore first took refuge in a monastery and then fled to his home in Wales. However, Gloucester had long arms, and he managed to arrest Owen and put him in prison. Be that as it may, in 1439 he was forgiven. Moreover, he had no special guilt other than the secret marriage. So he did not suffer for long in prison. They treated his children well (and the children of the deceased queen, naturally). They were placed under the care of the Abbess of Barking, Catherine de la Pole, sister of the Duke of Suffolk. But the real happiness for the Tudors was the interest shown in the brothers by Henry VI. The fact is that the young king, growing up, felt that he needed support from his relatives, and therefore invited both Edmund and Jasper to his court. He could not bring his third son Owen closer to himself, since by this time he had become a monk.

Not a single lifetime portrait of Margaret Beaufort has survived. Yet the famous portraits were painted during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, that is, they depict the countess in her late summers. The plot is all very similar. In them we see a stern-looking lady in a white pointed headdress, in a prayer pose. Most of these portraits were created as a symbol of commitment to the Tudor regime...

This painting belongs to Edmund Blair Leighton (1852–1922). “The little prince, who will eventually occupy the royal throne, is shown to the people.” Private collection

And then it occurred to Henry VI to reward the eldest of the brothers for his faithful service. And he couldn’t think of anything better than... to marry him to a noble girl, the owner of a large dowry. The king's choice fell on his relative Margaret Beaufort. Margarita, without a doubt, was an extremely attractive bride, and noble beyond belief. So, her father was John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, who was the great-grandson of King Edward III, through his third son John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Margaret's mother was also Margaret, from the noble Beauchamp family, owner of Bletso Castle in Bedfordshire, which became the birthplace of both mother and daughter. So Edmund Tudor could only be envied, such a brilliant match was matched to him by his brother the king, even if he was his half-brother. Of course, Owen himself was happy, although... would his joy be so complete if he had the opportunity to find out his future?!*

The exact year of birth of Margaret Beaufort Margaret is unknown, but the exact day is known - May 31, 1441 or 1443. Her father, shortly before his daughter was born, went to fight in France (after all, the Hundred Years' War was still going on at that time). Moreover, on the eve of sailing, he managed to agree with the king that the right of custody of little Margarita and the choice of the groom would belong exclusively to his wife.

Church of the Holy Virgin in Bletso. Photography by Dave Kelly

This is all that remains of Bletso Castle. The house where Marguerite Beaufort was born. Photo of Bedfordshire County Council website

And a moat separating it from... from the rest of the lands. There are no walls or towers left. Photo of Bedfordshire County Council website

But nothing is permanent in this world. Returning from France, Beaufort fell out of favor. For some reason, he was accused of treason, removed from the court, so being in great grief, he either committed suicide, or... “simply died of grief.” Be that as it may, Margaret remained the only heir to his large fortune, but John’s brother, Edmund, received all the titles as a man.

Well, subsequent events once again showed that kings cannot be trusted in anything. So this time the king broke his promise to Somerset exactly four days after his death and made William de La Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, Margaret's guardian. True, they left the mother with the girl. And it turned out to be a large, although, most likely, not very friendly family: after all, Margarita, although she was the only legitimate child of her father, had two more brothers and five sisters from her mother’s first marriage, and subsequently she never spoke about these relatives I forgot.

Margaret's first marriage was to the son of her guardian William de La Pole, John, when she was about a year old, in 1444. Permission from the pope for a marriage between close relatives was received in 1450, but both this marriage itself and the permission received from the pope were inexpensive. The will of the king dominated everything.

"Lady Margaret at Prayer." One version of the portrait that differs from the others is Rowland Lockey's portrait of Lady Margaret, 1598, which shows her in a richly furnished room behind her chambers. The simple table before which she knelt was draped with a tablecloth embroidered with expensive patterns. The Book of Hours that is revealed in front of her is clearly very expensive. There is a trellis hanging with the “Tudor lattice” and the coat of arms of Margaret herself. The small stained glass windows in the leaded lancet window also depict a 'Tudor grille'. Second half of the XNUMXth century, National Portrait Gallery, London

And the king already in 1453 (the year the Hundred Years War ended) annulled this marriage and transferred Margaret to the guardianship of his two half-brothers Edmund and Jasper Tudor. She married Edmund, so he became her first husband and was listed as such in all official documents of that time.

Margaret's marriage to Edmund took place on November 1, 1455, when she was 12-14 years old and her husband was 24 years old. And again, Her Majesty Fate wanted to make sure that the War of the Roses began just at that time, and that Edmund went to fight for the Lancasters, was captured by the supporters of York, and less than a year later, still being captured and became a victim of the plague.

At the same time, the young widow, seven months pregnant, was handed over to the care of Edmond's brother Jasper Tudor. She was supposed to live in Pembroke Castle, where on January 28, 1457, Margaret gave birth to her first-born son, Henry, the future King of England, Henry VII. The birth was difficult not only because of her young age, but also because of her thin build. It seemed to many that neither the mother nor the child would survive. But they survived. True, Margarita had no more children.

Copy of a portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort by Meynnart Viwick circa 1510. St. John's College, University of Cambridge. Photo by John Salmon

Margaret's next and final husband, in early June 1472, was Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, High Constable of England and King of the Isle of Man. That is, a man who is absolutely devoted to King Edward IV, otherwise he would not have seen all these titles. However, the marriage was only a fiction, although it was officially concluded. Margaret needed a return to court, and Stanley needed income from her lands. The main woman of the royal court at that time was Queen Elizabeth Woodville, and she also went to the extent of forgiving such a noble lady for her past misconceptions regarding the choice of color... her rose. Although, on the other hand, it could also be considered that the wife could not go against her husband. Queen Elizabeth, the wife of Edward IV, also showed her mercy by inviting one of her daughters to be godmother.

When King Edward died (and we will talk about all the vicissitudes of his reign in one of the materials in this series), the throne passed to his brother Richard of Gloucester. Now Margaret became the maid of honor of his wife Queen Anne. And she even carried the train of her dress during the joint coronation of Richard and Anne.

It should be noted here that Margarita, from childhood, inspired her son that his destiny in the future was to become the king of England. On this path, she was ready for anything, such was her love for her only son, but the problem was that the lives of as many as seven people stood between him and the throne. First, the deposed but still living King Henry VI, languishing in the Tower. Then King Edward IV himself and his two brothers Clarence and Richard, and there were also the children of Elizabeth Woodville - two boys, and also heirs. And it was not so easy for her to send all seven to the next world so that there would be no more contenders for the throne.

After the release of the series of novels “Cursed Kings” by Maurice Druon, such historical books became very popular in the West. So the English writer Philippa Gregory wrote several books about the events of the War of the Roses: “The White Queen” (2009), “The Scarlet Queen” (2010), “The Kingmaker’s Daughter” (2012) and “The White Princess” (2013). Based on these novels, the BBC made television series in which, among all the other characters, Marguerite Beaufort was shown. This is what she looks like in The White Queen (2013). She is played by Amanda Hale

The continuation of the series “The White Queen” was the series “The White Princess” (2017). In it, Margarita is played by Michelle Fairley, and both actresses play their roles just perfectly

However, even here Fate met her halfway. Henry VI died in prison. Whether he died or was killed is not the point now. It is important that there are fewer applicants. Then the Duke of Clarence, by order of the king (or it is believed that it was his own choice!) was drowned in a barrel of malvasia for treason. Then Richard, who became Richard III, put Elizabeth's children in the Tower. Here Margaret, together with Queen Dowager Elizabeth Woodville, plotted and almost certainly supported the rebellious Duke of Buckingham. For this, Richard III put her into disgrace, deprived her of all titles and possessions, but did not take away the property for the treasury, but transferred it to her husband. And then rumors spread that both sons of Elizabeth, or as they were also called, “princes in the tower", were secretly killed, and the number of contenders for the throne was reduced even further. And then Margaret proposed to betroth her son Henry to the eldest daughter of Elizabeth and Edward IV, Princess Elizabeth of York. It turned out that this union not only strengthened the reputational position of her son, but could also receive the support of both York and Lancaster, that is, unite both warring parties. Well, the women who conceived this union cannot be denied foresight. Although there was still King Richard III, who could only be removed from the path by force weapons...

*The fact is that in his old age, Owen was “drawn into battle,” and he decided to participate in the War of the Scarlet and White Roses. At the Battle of Mortimer's Cross on 2 February 1461, he commanded the Lancastrian army against the future King Edward IV. He lost the battle, was captured and... was beheaded. Moreover, until the very last moment he could not believe that he would be executed, and according to legend he even said: “This head must be bowed before the queen" But Edward of York did not spare him, considering it revenge for his father, who died at the Battle of Wakefield a month before Mortimer Cross.
To be continued ...
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  1. +4
    11 December 2023 05: 25
    Thank you!
    You read and the lines of Shakespeare come to mind - “not everything is so simple in the kingdom of Denmark”!
    All the good days!
    1. +4
      11 December 2023 06: 08
      Quote: Kote pane Kohanka
      “not everything is so simple in the kingdom of Denmark”

      It was our translators, out of the kindness of their hearts, who somewhat softened Shakespeare’s phrase - something rotten in the Danish kingdom... wink
      1. +2
        11 December 2023 10: 24
        For some reason, the phrase “Not all is well” has remained in my head since childhood.
        1. +6
          11 December 2023 11: 55
          Quote: S.Z.
          For some reason, the phrase “Not all is well” has remained in my head since childhood.

          There is a historical anecdote on this topic.
          In honor of Her Majesty's name day, the naval parade is hosted by the august family in the person of Emperor Alexander III and his wife.
          The cruiser Rurik sails past. Her Majesty, tugging at her husband’s sleeve, exclaims how formidable this Pupik is. Alexander III ran his eyes over the ships remaining in the column and saw the Izhora military transport bringing up the rear. Grunting, he leans towards his wife’s ear and asks, dear, please don’t say the last name out loud!!!
  2. +7
    11 December 2023 08: 58
    Beaufort fell out of favor. For some reason he was accused of treason and removed from the court

    He fell out of favor for a very simple reason - he completely failed the military operation in France, which he was entrusted with commanding, allocating a well-equipped and equipped army, providing him with finances, and even assigning him a ducal title so that the Duke of York would not interfere with his command. But Beaufort carried out the campaign entrusted to him absolutely ineptly, wasting all his resources to the wind. So “disfavor” means he got off well.
    1. +5
      11 December 2023 10: 29
      Quote: Dekabrist
      got off well.

      Your phrases are well-honed, Victor. Just take it and paste it into the “expanded and expanded” edition...
      1. +4
        11 December 2023 12: 17

        On the one hand, obviously, long-term reading of high-quality literature has an effect, on the other hand, extensive practice in writing “business literature”, when the fate of a project worth seven to eight zeros often depends on the “sharpness” of the text.
  3. +3
    11 December 2023 10: 25
    wearing a white pointed headdress

    This headdress is called a “gable” or “Tudor bonnet”.
    Now Margarita has become maid of honor his wife Queen Anne.

    Married lady?!
    1. +1
      11 December 2023 10: 27
      She was married almost all the time... So what?
      1. +3
        11 December 2023 10: 32
        Quote: kalibr
        So what?

        This position is for girls.
        Maid of honor (from the obsolete German Fräulein - an unmarried woman, girl, maiden; German Hoffräulein - a girl at court) - a junior court female rank in European countries and post-Petrine Russia.
        1. +1
          11 December 2023 10: 35
          Quote: Senior Sailor
          Quote: kalibr
          So what?

          This position is for girls.
          Maid of honor (from the obsolete German Fräulein - an unmarried woman, girl, maiden; German Hoffräulein - a girl at court) - a junior court female rank in European countries and post-Petrine Russia.

          I also read about this. But that’s how it was written in the English text. The translation is accurate. But what was it really like there... Besides, could she have been the senior maid of honor?
          1. +4
            11 December 2023 10: 57
            Quote: kalibr
            But that’s how it was written in the English text.

            Wild people are children of the mountains! request
            Quote: kalibr
            Besides, she could be the senior maid of honor?

            Doesn't matter. An unmarried woman is a maid of honor, even with the prefix “cameras”. Married - state lady.
            But this is in our tradition, who knows how it is in the soulless West feel
            It seems that Elizabeth Tudor forbade her ladies-in-waiting to marry without her consent. But did they retain their title after marriage?
            PS Comments are printed with a wild delay. Is this my personal glitch or is it like this for everyone?
            1. +2
              11 December 2023 12: 31
              Quote: Senior Sailor
              Is this my personal glitch or is it like this for everyone?

              I have it instantly.
            2. +3
              11 December 2023 12: 33
              Quote: Senior Sailor
              Without a difference.

              I'll try to clarify in the future. Somehow I didn’t think about it.
            3. 0
              April 6 2024 13: 40
              They can also have women as bishops.
              I remember this information came through.
              And homosexuals, by the way, too.
              I can imagine Elizabeth II’s face at this.
              Baba is not trivial; for the sake of Gagarin, she abolished palace etiquette.
              And nothing, she made the decision of the council of bishops in a throne position.
          2. +5
            11 December 2023 12: 53
            I also read about this. But that’s how it was written in the English text. The translation is accurate.

            It may not be accurate. If this is a modern source, then it is definitely inaccurate, since in modern English the term Maid of honor refers not only to the maid of honor - the queen's maid, but also to the principal bridesmaid - the main bridesmaid. If she is unmarried - maid of honor, if married - matron of honor. By the way, the version is confirmed by the description of the coronation. Lady Margaret not only carried the train, but also sat to the queen's left during the ceremony and sat next to the queen at the banquet.
  4. +1
    11 December 2023 10: 41
    The guys didn't have a boring life! You can't say anything.
    1. 0
      April 6 2024 13: 55
      “Having learned about this, the Duke sent 4 bishops to him, who inserted 4 knives under his ribs, after which he died quietly.”
  5. BAI
    11 December 2023 13: 34
    What does the Koran (epigraph) have to do with fanatically Christian medieval Europe?
    1. +5
      11 December 2023 14: 20
      Quote: BAI
      What does the Koran (epigraph) have to do with fanatically Christian medieval Europe?

      The truth of life is the same for everyone, regardless of beliefs, religion and wallet.
      Fanatically Christian England, at the first opportunity, itself fell into crystal, creating the Anglican Church and starting the fight against the papal throne.
      1. 0
        April 6 2024 13: 51
        Fanatically Christian England fell into crystal at the first opportunity, creating the Anglican Church and starting the fight against the papal throne.

        And not only them.
        Well, if one of the dads gave birth during the procession.
        “When the soul of St. Ignatius ascended to heaven, God the Father stood at a loss as to who to give preference to, his son Jesus Christ or St. Ignatius.”
        Life of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order.
        I won’t tell you about a special technique for bringing oneself into exaltic ecstasy, which they consider to be the pinnacle of holiness, you’ll be crazy.
        Secret, of course, for the highest monastic orders, the level of our schema.
  6. +1
    15 December 2023 01: 43
    In general, this is a paradoxical time for Britain.
    Having ended in a minor way the Hundred Years' War, which had begun in a major way, the British stirred up the struggle between Lancaster and York for the throne, as a result of which a dynasty of neither one nor the other came to power for a long time - but the Tudors!
    Like the Romanov dynasty from our Time of Troubles, which no one even ten years ago in their bad dreams could have predicted.
    And one more thing: the War of the Scarlet and White Roses practically exterminated the old hereditary nobility, and social elevators to titles and positions for the “new nobility” opened up, which strengthened the movement of many social strata, and the professions of merchants and pirates became quite respectable and respected.