Magazine article The Spectator

A Woman of Influence

Magazine article The Spectator

A Woman of Influence

Article excerpt

Sir: The article by Paul Johnson asking 'Should a widowed mother aged 13 be a saint?' (And another thing, 6 September) was brought to my attention recently and it was with some concern that I read this potted history of Margaret Beaufort. This is a sublime example of an eclectic approach to history which totally ignores the ambitions of this woman. Johnson states she wasn't 'pushy' and did not try to influence her son when he became king. It seems strange, then, that the ambassadors of Spain and Venice regarded her as having great influence with the king. She dominated her son's court where protocol seemed to be her special prerogative, and she certainly did not wile away her final years living the simple life at Woking as Johnson would have us believe.

The suggestion that she was lucky 'not to have her head chopped off' by Richard III shows a clear lack of knowledge about this king, who did not go around decapitating the ladies, unlike his great nephew. …

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