Margaret Beaufort was born on 31
May 1443 . As a child, she was promised in marriage to John dePole, but this
was an annulled by the pope and Henry VI placed her in the care of his half-brothers, Jasper
and Edmund Tudor. This is how Margaret’s connection to West Wales began as she
went on to marry Edmund at just 12 years old, and lived on his Welsh estate.
In spite of her young age, Margaret
conceived quickly after the marriage which afforded Edmund the rights to her
wealth should she die. However, in a remarkable twist of fate, Edmund was taken
prisoner by Yorksist forces during the Wars of the Roses and died of the plague
in captivity at Carmarthen.
Margaret, a child herself, was
left a widow and seven months pregnant. As such, her brother-in-law Jasper took
her into his care and Margaret gave birth in Pembroke Castle . The birth was
particularly difficult and at one point, both mother and child were close to
death. However, the baby went on to become King Henry VII, and his birthed
signalled the beginning of the historic Tudor dynasty.
Margaret and her son remained in
Pembroke for 14 years and she made sure Henry was educated as a royal
prince. She devoted the rest of her life
to protecting him and ensuring he became King.
Her subsequent marriages were arguably political and designed to enhance
Henry’s position, yet she was to lose her security (if not great love) in 1471
when Sir Henry Stafford died from his war injuries at the Battle of Barnet and
in 1504 upon the death of Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby.