The Real Game of Thrones — Wars of the Roses Part II: The Bleeding Rose
For part i click here.
After Henry VI had been deposed as King of England, the conqueror Edward IV moved to secure his throne and remove any remaining challenges to his power. After a series a successful battles against the House of Lancaster, many Lancastrians had been killed in battle. Edward IV intended to completely exterminate the Lancastrian line. After the Battle of Tewkesbury, the final and decisive victory against the House of Lancaster, many Lancastrians sought sanctuary in Tewkesbury Abbey. Under the rules of sanctuary those seeking refuge within a church or monastery cannot be harmed or arrested on pain of excommunication. After the battle Edward entered the Abbey and prayed as the Lancastrians watched, wondering if he would honor the rules of sanctuary. He then announced that they were pardoned, and could leave the abbey without threat or arrest. Two days later, Edward’s men stormed the Abbey and grabbed all male Lancastrians. They were dragged to Tewkesbury’s town square and immediately beheaded.
After the incident at Tewkesbury, most of the Lancastrian line was extinguished. Others were arrested and either executed or imprisoned. Only one Lancastrian, a minor noble named Henry Tudor, had managed to escape the wrath of Edward IV. At the warning of his mother Margaret Beaufort, he quickly left the country and went into exile in France. Although the Lancastrian line was all but extinct, the threats to Edward’s rule did not come to an end. In fact the most serious threat came from within the family. Edward had two younger brothers, George the Duke of Clarence and Richard the Duke of Glouchester.
The Duke of Clarence was disgruntled with Edward and his regime. Being Edward’s younger brother Clarence expected that he would be given a shot at inheriting the throne. However Edward IV decided that the throne would be directly inherited by his sons, Edward and Richard. To upset his older brothers rule, Clarence spread rumors that Edward IV’s marriage to wife, Elizabeth of York, was a bigamous relationship, claiming that he had been married previously while marrying Elizabeth. Edward IV had his brother arrested and interrogated. Under torture Clarence confessed to organizing a rebellion against his brother and used black magic against him to ensure his death.
After packing the courts with judges loyal to him Edward IV personally prosecuted his brother Clarence in a show trial. Edward had him found guilty and sentenced to be executed. Rather than being drawn and quartered, the execution method of most traitors in which they are gutted alive, Edward found a more creative way to dispose of his brother. Clarence was a connoisseur of a certain type of beverage called Malmsey wine. On the 18th of February 1478 Clarence was dragged from his cell to the execution place. There before him was a barrel of Malmsey wine. His head was dunked into the wine and forcefully held down until he expired from drowning.