"The Creation of the Tudors: Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth of York's Role in a Period of Agnatic Primogeniture"

In this essay I argue that agnatic primogeniture, an extension of a patriarchal viewpoint, contrasts the capabilities and power of two English royal women from the fifteenth century, Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth of York. While Henry VII won the battle for the throne of England, Margaret and Elizabeth were integral parts of his success. Margaret bestowed her claim to her son and used it in a calculated and precise manner, while Elizabeth gave Henry, her husband, her claim to the throne, further strengthening his right to rule. Together, Margaret and Elizabeth portray the value of the matrilineal line despite the supposed preferences for agnatic primogeniture. At the same time, their direct work to create and sustain Tudor popularity showcases the ability of royal women in the early modern period to exercise influence and authority regarding major political issues.

- Stephanie Ducker '26