The Countess who should have been Queen
Publisher: Dr. Ray Filby
Margaret Plantagenet was born near the end of the Wars of the Roses. As the daughter of the brother of King Edward V, a situation could well have arisen when she or her brother, Edward, had a claim to the throne. This situation did arise when Edward V’s children were declared to be illegitimate as Richard III usurped the throne. Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor became King. Henry VII had only a slender claim to the throne and in order to consolidate his position and gain acceptance of the European monarchs so that he could arrange a marriage for his son Arthur with Catherine, the King of Spain’s daughter, the Plantagenet children had to be removed as claimants to the throne. This was achieved by executing Edward and marrying off Margaret to a commoner, Sir Richard Pole. Margaret was not ambitious to become Queen but settled as a happily married enlightened landowner with her husband in Berkshire. When Arthur married Catherine of Aragon, Sir Richard and Margaret were given special responsibilities as supporters of the young Prince and Princess of Wales. Sadly, Prince Arthur died soon after his marriage but in due course, Catherine married the King’s second son to become the Queen of Henry VIII. Margaret became Queen Catherine’s chief lady-in-waiting and was awarded a peerage to become Countess of Salisbury. Margaret supported Catherine, her right through her reign until Catherine was sent to live in isolation after her divorce. One of Margaret’s sons, Reginald, became a prominent churchman and angered the King by writing a treatise, heavily critical of Henry VIII, the way he had divorced Catherine and taken over the Church of England. Reginald was living out of reach of Henry on the continent so Henry vented his wrath on Margaret Pole and her family.