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Politically influential during the reign of her son, Henry VII Tudor, who inherited the throne through her - and his wife, Elizabeth of York. Margaret was the daughter of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp, and was married at the age of about 7 to John De La Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, but the union was later dissolved. Henry VI, who had no children always looked upon the Beauforts as possible heirs and, in 1455, married the 12-year-old Margaret to his own maternal half-brother, Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who died 1556, the same year their son was born. She, soon afterward, married Henry Stafford, the second son of the Duke of Buckingham, and submitted to the Yorkist rule; but, after the Battle of Tewkesbury, she was obliged to send her son, Henry to seek refuge in Bretagne. Margaret's fourth husband was a pronounced Yorkist, Thomas, Lord Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby; but his final defection from Richard III on the field of Bosworth secured the victory to his stepson, Henry VII. Margaret, though she seldom appeared at her son's court, remained his constant correspondent and one of his wisest advisers. She took vows of religion in 1504, but continued to live out of a nunnery. Also a very learned person, she lived (1441-1509). (Taken from http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/womeninpower/united_kingdom.htm)
The Stanley family was descended from Ligulf of Aldithley, who was also the ancestor of the Audleys (see Audley-Stanley family - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audley-Stanley_family). Alison Plowde writes in 'Lords of the Land' (pp69-101) that the earliest Stanley ancestor is Liulf or Lydulph of Aldithley, Aldelegh or Audley who lived in the mid 12th century and this is confirmed by BurkeÆs Peerage which says Adam de Stanley brother of Lydulph had a son William who was granted Stanley and half of Balterley in Staffordshire by LydulphÆs son Adam de Audley. It is likely that he took the name Stanley from that place. (With thanks to Sue Hulse for the information and clarification on the Stanley family).
They were the third creation of Earls of Derby in 1485.
The senior line of the descendants of Thomas Stanley and Eleanor (or Alainor) Neville continued to hold the Earldom of Derby until the 1736 death of James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby, and the title passed to a junior branch, the Baronets Stanley of Bickerstaffe, which still holds the title (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Stanley,_1st_Earl_of_Derby).
There is no connection to Derbyshire with this line of the Earls of Derby and it is wrongly reported that Stoneleigh is in Derbyshire. The Stoneleigh mentioned is most likely in Staffordshire and the Stanley family's seat, at least from the 8th Earl of Derby onwards, is actually Knowsley in West Derby, near Liverpool.
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county. The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.