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1478 – George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, is Executed

18 Feb

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Pictured above on a stained glass window at Cardiff Castle, George was the second of three living sons to the Yorkist line of the Plantagenet royal family, his elder brother being King Edward IV.  George was a turncoat during the Wars of the Roses, marrying the daughter of the most powerful man in England, the Duke of Warwick, also known as The Kingmaker, hoping to gain even more power and later sided against his own brother in favor of the deposed Henry VI.  According to George, he was the rightful heir to the Yorkist bloodline and Edward was in fact an illegitimate son, a claim that is still under scrutiny to this day.

When his younger brother Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III of England) married Anne Neville, sister to his wife Isabel, the lands of Warwick were up for grabs; with the Kingmaker dead, his lands fell to George as husband to the eldest daughter, but his claim would be forfeit should his wife die before her sister.  When Isabel did die on 22 December 1476, most likely due to childbirth complications, George looked for someone to blame, believing his wife had actually been poisoned by one of her ladies-in-waiting, whom he took to trial and executed after bullying the jury into handing out a conviction.  He then led yet another rebellion against King Edward.  About a year later, the king reluctantly ordered his brother’s execution for treason.  He was found guilty in a trial he did not attend and was privately executed at the Tower of London on this day in 1478.  No one knows the real method of execution used on the Duke, but legend says that he was drowned in a vat of his favorite wine.

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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in British Royalty, Wars of the Roses

 

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