Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury

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Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, (14 August 1473 – 27 May 1541) was an English peeress, one of two women in sixteenth-century England to be a peeress in her own right with no titled husband,[2] the daughter of George of Clarence, the brother of King Edward IV and King Richard III. She was among the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty after the Wars of the Roses; she was executed in 1541 at the command of King Henry VIII, who was her cousin Elizabeth's son. Pope Leo XIII beatified her as a martyr for the Roman Catholic Church 29 December 1886.[3]

Contents

Life

Lady Margaret was born at Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset, the eldest daughter of the 1st Duke of Clarence and the former Isabella Neville, elder daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and of Salisbury ("Warwick the Kingmaker") and Anne Neville, his wife, who inherited the Earldom of Warwick. Her grandfather was killed fighting against her uncle, Edward IV of England at the Battle of Barnet; her father had then been created Earl of Salisbury and of Warwick; he was already Duke of Clarence. Edward IV had declared that her older brother Edward should be known as Earl of Warwick as a courtesy title, but no peerage was ever created for him.[4]

When she was three, her mother and her youngest brother died; her father killed two of his servants whom he thought had poisoned them. He was attainted and executed for murder, and his lands and titles forfeited. When she was ten, Edward IV died; her uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, declared that Edward's marriage was invalid, his children illegitimate, and that Margaret and her brother Edward were debarred from the throne by their father's attainder. He assumed the throne himself as Richard III of England.

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