Fact of the Day: 30th April

On this day in 1513 Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

After the death of his older brother, Edmund became the leading Yorkist claimant to the throne. Nevertheless, he succeeded to the title Duke of Suffolk in 1491, though in 1493 Edmund’s title was demoted to the rank of Earl. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Richard Scrope.

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In 1501 the headstrong Edmund fled the Kingdom of England with the help of Sir James Tyrrell, who was subsequently executed for these actions. Edmund sought the help of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1502 Maximillian agreed to a treaty not to back de la Pole should he make an attempt on the throne of England. In 1506, Maximilian’s son, Philip of Burgundy, was blown off course while sailing, and reluctantly and unexpectedly became a guest of Henry VII.

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Needing to set sail again in order to claim his wife’s inheritance (Castile), he was persuaded by Henry to hand over the Earl of Suffolk. Henry agreed to the proviso that Suffolk would not be harmed and restricted himself to imprisoning the Earl. The next king, Henry VIII, did not feel bound to this agreement and had Suffolk executed in 1513.

Montaigne, in his “Essays”, said that Henry VII, in his will, instructed his son to put Suffolk to death immediately after his own decease, and he criticisd Henry for requiring that his son do what he himself would not do.

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