Sunday, February 25, 2018

Life in the Time of Margaret Beaufort

From author Judith Arnopp at Myths, Legends, Books, and Coffee Pots:
Even for the era she was born into, Margaret’s upbringing was remarkable. During her infancy, her father, John Beaufort, Earl and later Duke, of Somerset, took his own life while awaiting the pleasure of the increasingly unstable/inefficient King Henry VI. Margaret became the ward of one of the most powerful men of his day, William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk (later Marquis and Duke) but she was allowed to remain in the home of her mother, Margaret Beauchamp, at least for the first decade of her life. She was just eight years old when Suffolk, taking advantage of Margaret’s wealth and status, married her to his young son, John, but since neither had yet reached their teens, the marriage remained unconsummated. Suffolk’s subsequent disgrace with the king and his ignoble death saw the marriage hastily annulled and Margaret’s future placed in the hands of the king, Henry VI.
Margaret’s early years were spent learning the graces required of an heiress of high status. We know she was well educated, more than one historian noting that her French was ‘first rate’ but it is unlikely she would have mastered many of the required skills by the time of her second marriage at approximately eleven years of age. It is my feeling that her education continued long after she left the schoolroom at Bletsoe. Margaret set great store on knowledge and in later life endowed many places of learning. After she was married to the half-brother of the king, Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond she accompanied him to a wild and unstable Wales. She would have needed to learn hard and fast, with lessons in politics and survival taking precedence over languages. (Read more.)

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