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I want to take a step back and look at another line of ancestors of Henry VII. The line in question stems from Lady Margaret Holland, Grandmother of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond who was the mother of King Henry VII.

Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland

Margaret Holland (1385 – December 30, 1439) was a medieval English noblewoman. She was a daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, who was the son of Joan “the Fair Maid of Kent” (herself a granddaughter of Edward I of England, wife of Edward the Black Prince and mother of Richard II of England). Margaret’s mother was Alice FitzAlan, daughter of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and Eleanor of Lancaster.

Margaret Holland’s mother was Alice FitzAlan, daughter of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and Eleanor of Lancaster. Eleanor of Lancaster was a great-granddaughter of Henry III of England (1216-1272) via his second son Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster. Margaret Holland’s great-grandmother was Maria of Hohenstaufen (April 3, 1201 – March 29, 1235) she was a member of the powerful Hohenstaufen dynasty of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors which lasted from 1138 to 1254. She is also known to history as Marie of Swabia. Maria herself was a granddaughter of the great Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I (1152-1190), also known as Frederick Barbarossa.

Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I (1152-1190), also known as Frederick Barbarossa.

Historians consider Friedrich I among the Holy Roman Empire’s greatest medieval emperors. He combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicacity. His contributions to Central European society and culture include the reestablishment of the Corpus Juris Civilis, or the Roman rule of law, which counterbalanced the papal power that dominated the German states since the conclusion of the Investiture Controversy (a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to appoint local church officials through investiture. By undercutting imperial power, the controversy led to nearly 50 years of civil war in the Empire.

Margaret Holland’s Maternal grandfather, Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel, was a member of the FitzAlan family. The FitzAlan family shared a common patrilinear ancestry with the Scots, and later English, royal dynasty, the House of Stuart. They are therefore also related to the current British royal family. They were descendants of the Bretonknight Alan fitz Flaad (d. 1120) grandson of the Seneschal of the Bishop of Dol. The FitzAlans held the earldom of Arundel during the period 1267 – 1580.

A FitzAlan descendant, Alan fitz Walter (1140–1204) was hereditary High Steward of Scotland and a crusader. His son by his second marriage to Alesta, daughter of Morggán, Earl of Mar, was Walter, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, and it was he that adopted the surname Stewart and became the founder of The House of Stewart (Stuart).

Joan of Kent

Margaret Holland’s grandmother was Joan of Kent (September 29, 1328 – August 7, 1385), known to history as The Fair Maid of Kent. Joan was the daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, and Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell. Her father Edmund was the son of King Edward I by his second wife, Margaret of France, daughter of Philippe III of France. This brings the descendants of Edward I’s second marriage into the Ancestry of Henry VII.

The marriages of Joan of Kent is rather complicated and the topic is worthy of a separate blog post. Joan’s third husband was Edward the Black Prince, eldest son and heir to King Edward III. Two sons were born to the royal couple. The elder son, named Edward (1365 – 1370) after his father and grandfather, died at the age of six. Their younger son, Richard, became King Richard II of England when his grandfather, Edward III, died on June 21, 1377. Richard’s father, the Black Prince had died in his bed at the Palace of Westminster June 7, 1376.

Descendants of Joan of Kent through her children Lady Joan and Thomas Holland include Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (mother of King Henry VII), and queens consort Anne Neville, Elizabeth of York, and Catherine Parr.

This concludes the MATERNAL ancestry of Henry VII of England. In the next entry in the series I will begin to examine the Royal Ancestry of Henry VII’s Paternal side, the Tudors.