Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rosie's Riveters: Carrie & Margaret Pole

Rosie's Riveters is a weekly posting written by Booklust readers about riveting females in literature. Many readers have strong reactions to the women in the books they read- either very positive or very negative. These are the characters we find riveting, for good reasons or bad ones, and they form the population of Rosie's Riveters. Through this weekly post, we can discuss females we love to hate, or love to love. And maybe, just maybe- we can determine why we react so strongly to them.

If you
are interested in participating, please comment on this post or e-mail me and I'll add you to the line-up!

This week's post is by my good bookblog friend Carrie, who writes at My Middle Name is Patience. Her blog centers mainly around knitting, but she also throws in monthly blurbs on the books she's read recently, giving just enough information to reel you in and want to read the good ones! Carrie also is a very kind and thoughtful blogger. She comments quite often on blogs she follows, and she always replies to comments I leave on her blog as well. It's nice :-) So, here's Carrie!

Who is your Riveter?
Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury.

What book does she feature in?

Richard III, William Shakespeare (a bit part)
Hazel Pierce, March 2003, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury,
1473–1541 - Loyalty, Lineage and Leadership

(Wikipedia says that Kate O'Toole plays a part loosely based on her in
the Showtime series, The Tudors.)

Do you love her or hate her?

I mostly admire her.

Can you compare her to a celebrity?
Probably but naturally no one comes to mind. Who has that kind of power
and connections in this day and age?

What makes her riveting?
Her birthday is the same date as mine, August 14th. Well. She was born
some 500 years earlier, give or take a few. (1473). (What, that isn't
enough? lol)

But truly, what makes her riveting is her lineage, longevity and life.
She was the Duke of Clarence's daughter (the brother of Edward IV and
Richard III that was drowned in a vat of wine) and had a better claim to
the throne than any the Tudors. In fact, when Catherine of Aragon came
to England to marry Prince Arthur as a teenage girl, Henry VII had her
brother (who had been in the Tower since he was a young boy) executed.

What do you most admire/despise about her?
I admire that despite that fact, she was a good friend to Catherine,a
godmother and equally good friend to Catherine and Henry VIII's daughter
Mary; married and apparently happily to a lowborn friend of Henry VII,
who not coincidentally, chose him as her husband. When her husband died,
she never did remarry but was one of the very, very few autonomous land
owning women of that era. She did rely on her sons somewhat but she
ruled her estates (which were considerable) for years.

The remains of Warblington Castle, The Countess of Salisbury's main seat

In fact, that's how she came to her terrible end. Henry VIII wanted some of her
properties. She fought him off for 15 years and between being a thorn in
his side denying him what he wanted (not something Henry took to well),
her lineage was a direct threat to his dynasty. Edward was a boy and
Mary and Elizabeth? Ever to reign as Queens? Unlikely.

On May 27th, 1541,at the age of 67, Henry VIII had her beheaded. And it
wasn't done well either.

Would you recommend reading the book in which the Riveter features?
I would! Hazel Pierce's book about Margaret Pole is a fascinating focus
on a woman who wielded so much power for her time and managed to survive
the odds against her. Well, for quite some time. Margaret Pole appears
in countless other historical novels and non fiction but more as a
supporting character with a brief mention with good reason, the woman
was connected. An in depth look at her life is pretty illuminating from
a historical perspective and frankly, helped me sort out who was who
back then a bit better.

Any parting remarks?
Ah, the question direct. Why does that give me such a brain freeze?
Other than adding that she's a Catholic Martyr (beatified in 1886) and
she's just one of many riveting women in history, nothing comes to mind.
Thank you for this opportunity, Aarti! It's been a pleasure to be
introduced (or reacquainted with) so many fascinating women.


  1. Thanks so much for participating, Carrie! Margaret Pole certainly seems like a riveting woman in history- but then, all those Plantagenets were pretty impressive :-)

  2. I love that you have chosen to highlight another woman from history!

  3. She sounds positively fascinating!!

  4. Sounds like a nice woman, I have never heard about her but now I got intersted

  5. Anonymous7/31/2009

    Great choice from a great period.

    This is a great feature and I would love to participate one day.

  6. Thanks for inviting me, Aarti! There's no dearth of riveting women so you could be doing this for a long, long time.

    I left out where, really, it was her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole who broke the camel's back for Henry staying her execution.

  7. I remember reading of her beheading in one of the Henry VIII books I read. It seems that there was a time he was just evil and bloodthirsty. I really should try to read more about Margaret Pole, she sounds like a fascinating person. Great post!


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