George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2011)|
|Duke of Clarence
Earl of Warwick
Earl of Salisbury
Lord of Richmond
|Anne of York
Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury
Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
Richard of York
|House||House of York|
|Father||Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York|
|Mother||Cecily Neville, Duchess of York|
21 October 1449|
Dublin Castle, Ireland
|Died||18 February 1478
Tower of London, London
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick, KG (21 October 1449 – 18 February 1478) was the third son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of kings Edward IV and Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses. He is also remembered as the character in William Shakespeare's play Richard III who was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.
George was born on 21 October 1449 in Dublin at a time when his father was beginning to challenge Henry VI for the crown. His godfather was James FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Desmond. He was the third of the four sons of Richard and Cecily who survived to adulthood. Following his father's death and the accession of his elder brother, Edward, to the throne, George was created Duke of Clarence in 1461 and invested as a Knight of the Garter.
Clarence had actively supported his elder brother's claim to the throne, but when his father-in-law the Earl of Warwick deserted Edward to ally with Margaret of Anjou, consort of the deposed King Henry, Clarence joined him in France, taking his pregnant wife. She gave birth to their first child, a boy, on 16 April 1470, in a ship off Calais. The child died shortly afterward. Henry VI rewarded Clarence by making him next in line to the throne after Edward of Westminster, justifying the exclusion of Edward IV either by attainder for his treason against Henry or on the grounds of his alleged illegitimacy.
After a short time, Clarence realized that his loyalty to his father-in-law was misplaced: Warwick had his younger daughter, Anne, marry Edward of Westminster, King Henry VI's heir. Since it now seemed unlikely that Warwick would replace Edward IV with Clarence, Clarence changed sides.
Warwick's efforts to return Henry VI to the throne ultimately failed and Warwick was killed in battle. George was restored to royal favour by his brother King Edward. As his father-in-law was dead, George became jure uxoris Earl of Warwick, but did not inherit the entire Warwick estate as his younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, married the widowed younger sister of his wife, Anne Neville. George was created 1st Earl of Warwick [England] on 25 March 1472.
Like the first lords of Richmond, Peter II of Savoy and Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, before him, George was endowed with the Honour of Richmond, a lifetime grant, but without the peerage title of Earl of Richmond.
Clarence's wife Isabel died on 22 December 1476, two months after giving birth to a short-lived son named Richard (6 October 1476 – 1 January 1477), and they are buried together at Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire. Their surviving children, Margaret and Edward, were cared for by their aunt, Anne Neville, until she died in 1485, when Edward was 10 years old. Though most historians now believe Isabel's death was a result of either consumption or childbed fever, Clarence was convinced she had been poisoned by one of her ladies-in-waiting, Ankarette Twynyho, whom he had judicially murdered in April of 1477. Clarence's mental state, never stable, deteriorated from that point and led to his involvement in yet another rebellion against his brother Edward.
Clarence was imprisoned in the Tower of London and put on trial for treason against his brother Edward IV. Following his conviction, he was "privately executed" at the Tower on 18 February 1478, and the tradition grew up that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. The tradition may have originated in a joke, based on his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, a butt is equal to two hogsheads — 477.3 litres (105 imperial gallons) easily enough to drown in. A body, believed to be that of Clarence, which was later exhumed, showed no indications of beheading, the normal method of execution for those of noble birth at that time. Another possibility is that George's remains were sent to the abbey in a barrel of Malmsey, as Horatio Nelson's were sent home in a barrel of brandy. In Shakespeare's Richard III he is stabbed by one of the Murderers after he convinces the other not to stab him, and then drowned in a vat of Malmsey, though off-stage. In the 1955 film of "Richard III", after he is clubbed over the head into unconsciousness by the murderers, the drowning is shown, but in the 1995 version his throat is slit while in the bath.
Titles, styles, honours and arms 
As a royal duke, George had use of the coat of arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, on each point a canton gules.
In Shakespeare 
George is a principal character in two of William Shakespeare's history plays: Henry VI, Part 3 and The Tragedy of Richard III. Shakespeare portrays George as weak-willed and changeable, his initial defection from Edward to Warwick is prompted by outrage at Edward's unwise marriage to Elizabeth Grey. Despite several flowery speeches proclaiming loyalty to Warwick and to King Henry, George defects back to Edward's side almost as soon as he sees his brothers again; it takes only a few lines for his brothers to shame him into rejoining the Yorkist party. He later participates in the murder of Edward, Prince of Wales. Several lines reference his penchant for wine.
In Richard III, the play opens with Richard having framed George for treason, using a soothsayer to sow doubt in the King's mind about his brother, and in the first scene George is arrested and taken to the Tower. Richard nimbly stage-manages George's death, fast-tracking the order of execution and then intercepting Edward's pardon when he changes his mind. In Act One Scene Four, George recounts a terrifying nightmare, in which he has been pushed (accidentally) into the ocean by Richard and drowns, then finds himself in hell, accused of perjury by the ghosts of Warwick and Prince Edward. When he is attacked by assassins sent by Richard, he pleads eloquently and nobly but is stabbed and drowned in a butt of wine. It is George's death that sends Edward into a fatal attack of guilt. He is the first character to die in the play and his ghost later appears to Richard and Henry before the Battle of Bosworth Fields, cursing his brother and encouraging Henry.
Actors who have played George on screen include Sir John Gielgud in Laurence Olivier's 1955 film, Nigel Hawthorne in Richard Loncraine's 1995 version, and on Television, Patrick Garland, Charles Kay and Paul Jesson in BBC filming of the War of the Roses cycles in 1960, 1965, and 1983 respectively. Alec Baldwin played Clarence in excerpts from the play in the documentary Looking for Richard.
England's Real Monarch 
It is claimed on television show Britain's Real Monarch that Clarence was the true claimant to the throne as Edward IV was possibly illegitimate.
- Anne of York (16 April 1470 – c. 17 April 1470), born and died in a ship off Calais.
- Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury (14 August 1473 – 27 May 1541); married Sir Richard Pole; executed by Henry VIII.
- Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick (25 February 1475 – 28 November 1499); executed by Henry VII for attempting to escape from the Tower of London.
- Richard of York (6 October 1476 – 1 January 1477); born at Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire; died at Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, where he was buried.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
|Ancestors of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence|
- George was portrayed by the actor Gerard Cooke in the British TV series Monarchy (TV series)
- He was portrayed by John Gielgud in Richard III (1955 film)
- He was portrayed by Nigel Hawthorne in the 1995 version of the Shakespeare play
- He was portrayed by Vincent Price in the horror film Tower of London (1939 film).
- He was portrayed by Charles Macaulay in the horror film Tower of London (1962 film) opposite Vincent Price, as his brother Richard III of England.
- Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 136.
- Lundy, Darryl. "Sir George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence". The Peerage. Retrieved 2012-07-09.[unreliable source]
- Hicks (1992), pp. 184–6.
- Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family. Heraldica.org. Retrieved on 2012-07-09.
- Hicks, Michael (1992). False, Fleeting, Perjur'd Clarence: George, Duke of Clarence 1449–78 (rev. ed.). Bangor: Headstart History. ISBN 1-873041-08-X.
- Weir, Alison (2002). Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy. Bodley Head. pp. 136–7. ISBN 0-7126-4286-2.
- Pollard, A.J. (1991). Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Bramley Books. p. 65. ISBN 1-85833-772 Check