Sunday, 17 February 2013

The de la Pole Family

The de la Pole - or simply Pole - family were the descendants of the Plantagenets and therefore belonged to the former ruling family of England. After the defeat of Richard III - who was the last Plantagenet-King - the family became a powerful family at court but not the ruling family. It is rather the complete destruction of the family that has been remembered through history.
Since Henry VIII was always looking out for a possible threat to his throne and when Cardinal Reginald Pole did not adapt to the King's religious changes, Henry saw an opportunity to lower the Pole family even further. But Henry - or his spies - could not catch the Cardinal who had fled to Rome and instead the King went after the Pole family still living in England. Despite that Henry had no real evidence against Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (and mother to the Cardinal) and her other family members, he had them arrested and executed. Margaret Pole's execution would be remembered as the most horrible execution within the Tower.

Allegedly, the Poles descended from an ancient Welsh family and Sir Richard Pole rose through the ranks and even became a Knight of the Garter in 1499.

Unfortunately, there is almost none surviving portraits of the Pole family members except for these two:

Cardinal Reginald Pole
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

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