Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (1443-1509.)
As mother of King Henry VII and paternal grandmother of King Henry VIII, Margaret led a life of devotion and purpose. She founded two colleges and had the first women’s college at the University of Oxford named in her honor. She restored the Church of All Saints in Martock, England, and constructed the church’s tower.
If you’re caught up in the Starz series The White Queen, you’ll know that the show does not put her in the best light (I’m only two episodes in) so I decided to do a bit more research. I still need to do more reading, but my overall opinion is that although she was most likely NOT the life of any party- her devotion to her son drove her to do good and bad things.
She was married 4 times- sort of. The first marriage is a bit of a sham as Margaret was only a year old. Her second marriage was at the age of 12 to Edmund Tudor- but he died of the plague and left a 13 year old PREGNANT widow. Her third marriage was to Sir Henry Stafford- her second cousin. They were happily married, but had no children and once again, Margaret was a widow at the age of 28.
Her fourth marriage was to Thomas Stanley. Although the marriage was of convenience , this union allowed her to return to the court of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. There are various stories that contradict each other about where her loyalties were- but as I mentioned, I think all of her motives trace back to the success of her son.
Well, after a few rebellions and mishaps- Margaret took a vow of chastity and moved to Collyweston. She died at Westminster Abbey, and is buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel of the Abbey.