What did we make to Dan Jones on Margaret Beaufort?


Well we’ve come to the end of Margaret Beaufort week, and let’s be clear – it rocked beyond all expectations.

This week of tribute to the Tudor matriarch was triggered  in anticipation of the final episode of Dan Jones’s ‘Britain’s Bloody Crown’ – which carried a promised focus on the formidable mother of Henry VII.  We wanted to join in with the fun.

And of course, at the beginning of the week I promised I would chip in my two cents worth and review the episode.  Margaret has been subject to some pretty dodgy portrayals in recent years, and as Alison Weir hasn’t got time to devote a book to her until 2021 at the earliest, I regularly panic that today’s society will never have the chance to accurately glimpse the Countess’s character.

So I’m over the moon to report that Dan Jones passed the test with flying colours and I recommend that everyone checks out the Channel 5 series which is (at the time of writing) available to view online.

What did I like about it?  Well, I’ll tell ya:

  • It portrayed Margaret as a woman of tremendous strength without making her out to be a savage deviant blamed for crimes that she could never have committed.
  • He didn’t over do the ‘Margaret was the heir to the throne’ narrative that historical fiction writers love but isn’t grounded in an awful lot.
  • She was portrayed as a pragmatist rather than a fanatic. Yes her preferred loyalty in the War of the Roses was to Henry VI and Lancaster, but she would play the game with whoever she needed to.

While Margaret’s Lancastrian credentials tend to be overdone in other portrayals, if I was to be critical of one thing it would be that this was dialed down too much in the programme.  It seemed to suggest that her connection to Henry VI was that she had been married to his half-brother.  She was of course his cousin in her own right and a descendant of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.  Not exactly a major player in the ruling dynasty, but certainly a second division member of the house of Lancaster.  But of course, TV as a medium doesn’t always lend itself to getting these subtler messages across.

Anyway, I’m sure Margaret Beaufort will continue to be revisited on this site. I’ve certainly had a blast with this spotlight on the great lady – I hope you guys have found it almost as enjoyable as me.

Introducing Margaret Beaufort week

Dan Jones Margaret Beaufort

There are a few things on TV really worth watching.  Dan Jones’ ‘Britain’s Bloody Crown’ (which should probably be called ‘England’s Bloody Crown’) is one of them.

Not only is it a well-researched yet entertaining docu-drama (which can be something of a rarity), last week he even managed to achieve the near-impossible and present a moderate, reasoned and non-partisan picture of Richard III which still made it clear that he almost certainly killed his nephews, the Princes in the Tower.

But it was the trail for this week’s episode that really got my ears pricked.  This Thursday, Jones is to devote an entire episode to the legendary Margaret Beaufort, mother of the Tudors and one of my historic heroines.

In excited anticipation of this, I have decided to declare this week MARGARET BEAUFORT week on Royalhistorygeeks.org.  During the week I will flood the site with content of Henry VII’s illustrious mother, inviting comment, dialogue and discussion as I do so.

First, I will kick off with a mini-series on whether the young Margaret really had a valid claim to the throne as many historians and writers have suggested.  Then I will devote a post to explaining why, despite the bizarre suggestions of some Ricardians, she, the Countess of Richmond could not possibly have killed the Princes in the Tower.  After that I will tackle another myth, that Margaret and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth of York did not get along.  I also intend to post a review of Elizabeth Norton’s excellent biography of ‘The Mother of the Tudor Dynasty’.

Finally, I will eagerly watch the episode on Thursday night and post my critique following it.  This week’s gonna be a blast guys.  Join me for the ride!