Of the many executions ordered by Henry VIII, surely the most horrifying was that of 67-year-old Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, hacked to pieces on the scaffold by a blundering headsman.
From the start, Margaret’s life had been marred by tragedy and violence: her father, George, Duke of Clarence, had been executed at the order of his own brother, Edward IV, and her naive young brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, had spent most of his life in the Tower before being executed on the orders of Henry VII.
Yet Margaret, friend to Katherine of Aragon and the beloved governess of her daughter Mary, had seemed destined for a happier fate until religious upheaval and rebellion caused Margaret and her family to fall from grace.
From Margaret’s birth as the daughter of a royal duke to her beatification centuries after her death, Margaret Pole tells the story of one of the fortress’s most unlikely prisoners.
"At last, a biography of one of the most powerful and fascinating women of the Tudor period: the tragic and dramatic story of Margaret Pole, the last Plantagenet, has too long been overlooked." — Leanda de Lisle, author of Tudors: The Family Story