Margaret Plantagenet: Life Story

Chapter 3 : Widows and Orphans (1504 – 1509)

Sir Richard's salary for the various offices he held would have ceased upon his death, and Margaret's dower rights would have been no more than her common-law entitlement of one-third of the £170 landed income from his manors in Buckinghamshire – as she had brought no dowry to the marriage, she is unlikely to have had a more generous jointure. The lands themselves were held by the King, as was customary, during the minority of the heir, Margaret's eldest son, Henry.

There was no family to whom Margaret could turn – her cousin, Elizabeth of York, who had frequently made presents of money to her sisters when they were in straitened circumstances, had died in 1503. The other York princesses, if they had any ready cash (Cicely had been banished and her lands confiscated in 1503 for making a disgraceful marriage and Bridget was a nun) may not have wished to draw attention to themselves by supporting Warwick's sister.

Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester (c.1460 - 1526)

Margaret did receive some support from Richard's friend, Charles Somerset, a distant cousin of the King, who stood surety with her for a loan of £40 for the funeral and two rather grudging bits of support from King Henry, who permitted the funeral loan to be repaid out of the income from the Pole lands and gave her just over £55 for food and clothes.

It does not seem a huge amount, given the years of loyalty Sir Richard had shown Henry, and the fact that the King was sitting on the vast Salisbury and Warwick estates that were Margaret's hereditary portion.

Margaret and her children remained in the country, with her third son, Reginald, being sent to the Carthusian Monastery at Sheen when he was around seven, to be trained to the scholarly life.

Wheel of Fortune

Meanwhile, Margaret's friend, Katharine of Aragon, dowager Princess of Wales, was also hard up, and dependent on the unenthusiastic charity of her father-in-law. This joint experience of widowhood and poverty proved another link between the two women.

But, just as things seemed at their lowest ebb, the Wheel of Fortune turned again, and Margaret moved into the limelight.

Lady Margaret Plantagenet

Lady Margaret Plantagenet

Family Tree