Beaufort, Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby

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Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby (bō´fərt, där´bē), 1443–1509, English noblewoman, mother of Henry VII. She was the daughter and heiress of John, 1st duke of Somerset, and great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. She was married three times: to Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond, who was Henry's father; to Henry Stafford; and to Thomas, Lord Stanley, afterward earl of Derby. Renowned for her philanthropy, she endowed professorships of divinity at Oxford and Cambridge and with the help of her confessor, John Fisher, founded Christ's College and St. John's College, Cambridge. She was the patron of many religious houses and of William Caxton and Wynkyn de Worde.