After two and a half years in prison, Bl. Margaret Pole was executed on this day in 1541.
Bl. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was executed at the Tower of London on this day in 1541. Her cousin, King Henry VIII, ordered her execution. Bl. Margaret Pole was a member of the Plantagenet dynasty (this dynasty ruled England before the Tudor dynasty).
King Henry VIII was a member of the Tudor dynasty, and he ordered execution of Margaret, who was one of the successors of the Plantagenet dynasty. It is interesting to note that her brother, Edward Plantagenet (the 17th Earl of Warwick), was the last legitimate male descendant of the House of Plantagenet. He had been executed in 1499 (42 years before his sister).
Bl. Margaret married Richard Pole, who was a Welshman. At the time, Bl. Margaret was one of a few women to be a peer in her own right with no titled husband. Namely, she had inherited the title of Countess of Salisbury. Margaret also owned many estates, and was allegedly one of the five wealthiest people in England.
One of her sons, Reginald Pole, became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. After King Henry’s break with the Catholic Church, many problems occurred (especially regarding relationship between the mentioned king, Bl. Margaret, and Cardinal Reginald Pole). Bl. Margaret was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
After two and a half years in prison, Bl. Margaret Pole was executed on this day in 1541. Her execution was particularly bloody, and the executioner’s first blow made a gash in her shoulder rather than her neck. Ten additional blows were required to complete the execution. She was buried in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London. Pope Leo XIII beatified Margaret Pole as a martyr for the Catholic Church on 29 December 1886.