I have spent several years, now, musing on the reasons for the execution of George, Duke of Clarence. What that final act made Edward IV take the drastic, permanent action of executing his own brother?
He was convicted of treason.
What did he do? What was the piece of straw that finally broke the camel’s back? What was that final, totally unforgivable crime that George committed? What was that one step too far?
- Was it the fact George took the law into his own hands with the execution of Ankarette Twynho?
- Was it the murder and witchcraft accusations that he levelled against Edward’s queen, Elizabeth Wydevile, following the death of his wife, Isabel?
- Was it the rumours of Edward’s illegitimacy?
- Was it George’s discovery of Edward’s previous secret marriages – to Eleanor Butler and Eleanor Talbot?
Or was it a deeper, more dangerous secret? Something that, if discovered, could have toppled the monarchy itself – nay England, even?
Sitting in a cafe this morning, quietly drinking my cappuccino, eating a toasted tea cake and playing an addictive, well-known game (involving sweets) on my phone, I overheard a little boy having a joke with his dad.
And I had a light bulb moment.
Once the waitress had changed the bulb – and I was no longer in the dark – I started writing, fleshing out my theory.
And I now know – beyond any unreasonable doubt – why George, Duke of Clarence, brother of the king and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (perfection personified), was executed.
We all know Edward was the golden child of the York family. He was the most courageous and dashing personification of manhood that ever walked the earth. He was the most glorious of the ‘3 Sons of York’ (forget Edmund, for the moment – otherwise the argument doesn’t work and Mortimer’s Cross was fought for all the wrong reasons).
And Edward’s wife, Elizabeth Wydevile, was the most beautiful woman in the realm – nay, Europe – nay, the known world.
Their family was full of golden children; blonde-haired, blue-eyed angels who would not have looked out of place among the Gods of Olympus.
In short, the family was perfect.
As Edward grew older, one fatal, irreversible flaw appeared. No, it wasn’t his weight – that could have been easily solved with a sensible diet and exercise. And besides, kings had been overweight in the past – take Louis the Fat, for instance.
No, this was something that had never happened to a king – to God’s anointed – ever before.
It was at this point, on Facebook (the fount of all knowledge) that I saw a picture which totally convinced me of my theory.
It was a sign that I was on the right track.
Edward wasn’t York’s Golden Boy.
He didn’t have the luscious locks.
And this is what Clarence had discovered.
One morning, walking in on Edward early and surprising him at his toilette, George was taken aback by what he saw.
A reflection of the sun shining from Edward’s head.
And George couldn’t resist the same joke I had heard the child say to his father this very morning:
‘Oh look! There’s a hair on your head. Fooled you!’
Edward’s Groom of the Stool was combing over the bald spot – and George’s fate was sealed.
Edward called the guard and George’s feet didn’t touch the ground – until he was safely locked in his prison cell.
This also explains an obscure comment I once found whilst perusing ‘The Children’s Guide to the Croydon Chronicle’. This stated that Edward’s residences were ‘sparsely thatched’. I have spent many a year trying to decipher the exact meaning of this phrase, but now I know.
Edward was going bald and George discovering that truth was the final straw.
What else could Edward do? No king in history had ever gone bald.
Think on it. Name one – you can’t can you?
That’s because it has NEVER happened. It’s unheard of – and Edward had to protect his secret at all costs.
Ellison Weird, The Children’s Guide to the Croydon Chronicle; Steve Cole, Cows in Action – the Pirate Mootiny; HP Spicy BBQ Sauce; Ivy Hair Issues, Washing Instructions for Wigs.
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and Google Images.
After writing this post, Jeff R Sun has realised how grateful he is for his full head of luscious locks.
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