John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, third son of Edward III had an insatiable desire for a crown. He needed to be King.
Unhappily for him-and for her, and for England-in 1366, he fell hopelessly in love with a sixteen-year old girl who was engaged as Governess to his daughters. She was Katherine Roelt, whom he was able to involve in a "marriage" of convenience to one of his liegemen, and who became and remained his mistress for the next 30 years, bearing him six children in the process. Gaunt married his Katherine in 1396 and the latter four of their children were eventually legitimated under the name of Beaufort. The story of them an dtheir descendants is the history of England leading to, and during, the Wars of the Roses.
This book traces the whole story of the Beauforts from their comparatively "humble" beginnings in the reign of Richard II, through the second half of the Hundred Years War in France, and the thirty years of the Roses War which succeeded this conflict, to the bitter ending on Bosworth Field. There, the only son of the last of the Beauforts, Henry Tudor, was the unlikely victor in a battle which ended more than three years' rule of England-and much of France-by the Plantagenet dynasty.
Thus did the Beaufort sprig repay their progenitors-and satisfy the undying longing of their forefather, John of Gaunt, for a throne-preferably the throne of England. Such was the climax to a struggle lasting three decades, in which thousands of English men and women, including more than half of the landed aristocracy of the country, died.
Without the Beauforts, England must, indeed, have been a greener and pleasanter land and the History of the World would have been different. This is their story.