Margaret Plantagenet Countess of Salisbury

Margaret was the only daughter of George and Isabel of Clarence. As a girl, she had no position in the line of succession to the throne, unlike her younger brother Edward, who at the time of her birth was fourth in line. Their father’s execution for treason removed the Clarence family from any right to claim the throne which cleared the way for Richard to become King once the two Princes in the Tower had been declared ineligible.

Margaret and her brother were sent to live in comfort at Sheriff Hutton, a castle which used to belong to their Warwick grandfather and later to Richard III. When there was a threat of invasion by Henry Tudor, Richard sent other royal children there for their safety.

After Richard was killed at Bosworth, Sheriff Hutton and the children came under the control of Henry VII. Edward was soon placed in the Tower of London and never left this whilst Margaret had an arranged marriage with a Lancastrian supporter and junior relative of the King, Sir Richard Pole.

Margaret had four sons and a daughter and also looked after the infant that would become Henry VIII. Much later, three of her sons fell foul of Henry VIII, one was executed and another, Cardinal Reginald Pole, escaped to Europe. Henry ordered the execution of Margaret when she was in her late sixties possibly out of frustration for not being able to capture Reginald.

She is commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church as a martyr.


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