Margaret was born on August 14, 1473 at Farleigh Castle, Bath, Wiltshire, England, to George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence and Isabella Neville. Her father was a brother of both Kings Edward IV and Richard III of England. When she was about 20 years old, she married Sir Richard Pole and bore him five children.
Margaret was widowed, named countess of Salisbury, and appointed governess to Princess Mary, daughter of Hemy VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon, Spain. She opposed Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, and the king exiled her from court, although he called her “the holiest woman in England.”
When her son, Cardinal Pole, denied Henry’s Act of Supremacy, the king imprisoned Margaret in the Tower of London for two years and then beheaded her on May 28. In 1538, her other two sons were executed. She was never given a legal trial. She was seventy when she was martyred. Margaret was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo VIII.
For more information about Blessed Margaret Pole, see the Catholic Encyclopedia and the EWTN Library. For information suitable for children, see Holy Spirit Interactive.