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Henry VIII and the Plantagenet Poles (Hardback)

The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty

Military > Pre-WWI

By Adam Pennington
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 32 mono
ISBN: 9781399071710
Published: 30th July 2024


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The story of King Henry VIII, a man who married six times only to execute two of those wives, is part of Great Britain’s national and international identity. Each year, millions of people walk around the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Hever Castle, plus many other historical sites, taking in and hoping to glean some sense of the man and the myth, and yet there is a period from Henry VIII’s life which remains largely overlooked, a period in which he chose not to execute wives, servants or ministers, but instead turned on another group entirely - his own family.

Like practically all members of the nobility of the time, Henry VIII descended from King Edward III, which ensured a ready-made crop of royal cousins were in abundance at his court, and awkwardly for the king, these cousins often possessed much greater claims to the throne than he did. The house of Tudor was one which should never have been, let alone taken the throne. Upstarts in every sense of the word, their ancestry, whilst (almost) noble, was by no means as grand as many a family in England, and it is against this backdrop that this book was created.

The Pole family, the subjects of the story, were royalty in secret. Lady Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, the family matriarch, was a niece of King Edward IV and Richard III, making her a first cousin of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen consort, and thus a first cousin once removed of Henry VIII. Margaret Pole was, therefore, one of the most senior members of the nobility at the Tudor court, and through her, her sons, her daughter, and her grandchildren possessed a dangerous name and dangerous bloodline, which put them on a collision course with the most volatile man ever to sit the throne of England. They were the old guard, the house of Plantagenet, the greatest ruling dynasty in English history, the true royal family, and this, coupled with the monumental shifts which England underwent during the reign of Henry VIII, all but ensured their destruction. For centuries, their story has been overlooked, or at best, fleetingly covered, but when one digs deep, a story as audacious and juicy as it’s possible to be soon emerges.

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About Adam Pennington

Adam Pennington is a Plantagenet and Tudor historian, podcaster and author based in London. Henry VIII and the Plantagenet Poles: The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty is his first published work. Born and raised on the London and Surrey borders, his childhood home practically overlooked Nonsuch Park, the location of the sadly lost Tudor Palace of the same name. With so much Tudor history on his doorstep, Adam developed a passion for the Tudor dynasty from a young age. Adam runs the popular The Tudor Chest blog and social accounts, and is co-director of Simply Tudor Tours, a historic tour company.

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