Above: Edward was the son of George, duke of Clarence (left) and Isabel Neville, duchess of Clarence (right).
28 November 1499 is one of the darkest days in Tudor history, for it witnessed the execution of Edward Plantagenet, earl of Warwick. The earl, who was only twenty-four years of age, was the only son of George, duke of Clarence and Isabel, duchess of Clarence. He was, therefore, a nephew of Edward IV and Richard III. After Henry VII's triumph at Bosworth in 1485, the ten-year-old Warwick - whose parents had died in 1478 and 1476, respectively - was incarcerated in the Tower of London.
The Tudor dynasty was vulnerable in its early days, and Henry VII's reign was troubled by the emergence of pretenders claiming to be members of the House of York. The two most notable pretenders were Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard of York. Historians have puzzled over whether or not Warwick willingly became involved in Warbeck's conspiracy to seize the throne from Henry VII. Allegedly, both Warbeck and Warwick attempted to escape from the Tower in 1499. Both were tried and found guilty of treason. On 23 November, Warbeck processed from the Tower to Tyburn on a hurdle, where he was hanged.
Five days later, Warwick was executed on Tower Hill. His body was later buried at Bisham Abbey in Berkshire. Contemporaries believed that Warwick's execution was the result of pressure put on Henry VII by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, who were concerned about the situation that their daughter, Katherine, would face in England if she were to marry the king's son Arthur. Jane Dormer, duchess of Feria, an attendant of Katherine's daughter Mary, claimed that Katherine believed that her marriage to Arthur had been made in blood.
In 1541, Warwick's sister, Margaret, was also executed, on the orders of Henry VIII. She was sixty-seven years old and was literally hacked to death by an inexperienced executioner. The Tudors were undoubtedly ruthless in their pursuit of dynastic security, and the actions of Henry VII and Henry VIII towards the Yorkists does not reveal either king in an especially flattering light. Elizabeth I exercised a similarly militant policy in regards to her royal cousins.