+ Margaret was the daughter of the Duke of Clarence and was a niece of England’s kings Edward IV and Richard III. King Henry VII gave her in marriage to Sir Reginald Pole and the couple had five children.
+ Following her husband’s death, King Henry VII—who had described her as the “saintliest” woman in England, named her Countess of Salisbury and appointed her governess for Princess Mary.
+ When Henry VIII attempted to marry Anne Boleyn, Margaret disapproved and fell out of the king’s favor. In 1538, Margaret’s son, Cardinal Reginald Pole, wrote against the king’s attempts to claim control of the Church in England and Henry decided to destroy the Pole Family.
+ After having two of Margaret’s other sons executed, he had Margaret arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Because it was believed that no jury would convict her, she was never brought to trial.
+ Blessed Margaret Pole was beheaded on May 28, 1541. She was beatified in 1886.
Following her execution, Blessed Margaret’s body was interred in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, the “parish church” of the tower of London. This chapel is the resting place of many notable figures related to King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, including Saints John Fisher, Thomas More, and Philip Howard, as well as three of the wives of King Henry VIII.
“For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these women, who despised life in the world, and have reached the rewards of the kingdom and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass of a Holy Woman Martyr in The Roman Missal
O God, by whose gift strength is made perfect in weakness, grant to all who honor the glory of blessed Margaret that she, who drew from you the strength to triumph, may likewise always obtain from you the grace of victory for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For a Holy Woman Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.