These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got
These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got

These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got

Khalid Elhassan - March 9, 2022

These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. Wikimedia

2. A Royal Ingrate Brat of a Kid Brother

George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence (1449 – 1478) was one of history’s more problematic siblings. He was the younger son of Richard, Duke of York, whose struggle to secure power precipitated the Wars of the Roses between the houses of York and Lancaster. He was also the younger sibling of King Edward IV of England, who by all accounts was the soul of generosity towards his kid brother. George repaid that with a series of ill-advised conspiracies, which invited bad karma and resulted in his doom. After his brother broke the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton in 1461, deposed the Lancastrian king Henry VI, and had himself crowned in his place as Edward IV, George was made Duke of Clarence.

These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got
Richard Nevile, the Kingmaker. Find a Grave

A year later, Edward made the thirteen-year-old George Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. As he grew into early manhood, George idolized and came under the influence of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, also known as “The Kingmaker”. He wed Neville’s daughter in defiance of his brother’s plans to marry him into a European royal family to secure a dynastic alliance. Neville had been instrumental in the deposition of the prior Lancastrian King Henry and his replacement with Edward. He eventually fell out with Edward and deserted to the Lancastrians. George rewarded his brother’s earlier generosity with betrayal and took his father-in-law’s side. Although he was a member of the York family, George switched his support to the Lancastrians.

These Historic Figures Really Deserved the Bad Karma They Got
The execution of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. Book Palace

1. Karma Catches Up With the Duke of Clarence

With the Kingmaker’s machinations, George’s brother Edward IV was deposed and forced to flee England in 1470. The once-deposed Lancastrian King Henry VI was restored to the throne. However, George began to mistrust his father-in-law, the Kingmaker, and switched his support back to his brother. Edward IV returned to England in 1471, defeated the Lancastrians in a battle in which the Kingmaker was killed, and was restored to the throne. To ensure that the twice-deposed Henry VI would trouble him no more, he had him murdered after he had already executed Henry’s son and sole heir. Edward pardoned his younger brother George and restored him to royal favor.

George could not keep his nose clean, however. In 1478, he once again betrayed his elder brother and was caught in a plot against the king. Finally fed up with his wayward sibling, Edward IV ordered George arrested and jailed in the Tower of London, and had him put on trial for treason. The king personally conducted the prosecution of his brother before Parliament. He secured a conviction and Bill of Attainder against George, who was condemned to death. On February 18th, 1478, karma finally caught up with George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. He was executed by being dunked into a butt, or big barrel, of Malmsey wine, and forcibly held under its surface until he was drowned.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Armenian National Institute – Genocide Research

Ashdown-Hill, John – The Third Plantagenet: George, Duke of Clarence, Richard III’s Brother (2014)

Beatles Bible – KLUE Radio, Texas, is Struck by Lightning

Bogosian, Eric – Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot That Avenged the Armenian Genocide (2015)

SFA State University – Longview’s ‘Beatles Bonfire’ Turned Into a Shocking Event (September 2011)

Clements, Jonathan – The First Emperor of China (2006)

Cracked – 5 True Stories That Will Make You Believe in Karma

Crown Chronicles – History’s Strangest Deaths: The Duke of Clarence Drowned in a Barrel of Wine

Daily Beast – How A Sexist Prank Elected America’s First Female Mayor

Derogy, Jacques – Resistance and Revenge: The Armenian Assassination of Turkish Leaders Responsible for the 1915 Massacres and Deportations (1990)

Encyclopedia Britannica – Qin Shi Huang

Encyclopedia Iranica – Carrhae

Gloria Romanorum – Constantine’s Execution of Crispus and Fausta

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe, Part II (1994)

Grant, Michael A. – Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1989)

Historia, Bd. 41, H. 4 (1992) – Flavia Maxima Fausta: Some Remarks

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Kansas State Historical Society – Women’s Suffrage

Luft, Eric V.D. – Die at the Right Time: A Subjective Cultural History of the American Sixties (2009)

Military History, May 2006 – Facing the Wrath of Khan

Morgan, David – The Mongols (1986)

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Pawlowski, Gareth L. – How They Became the Beatles: A Definitive History of the Early Years, 1960-1964 (1990)

Plutarch – Parallel Lives: Life of Crassus

Ratchnevsky, Paul – Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy (1994)

Sima Qian – Records of the Grand Historian: The First Emperor

Stephen F. Austin State University Center for Regional Heritage Research – Longview’s ‘Beatles Bonfire’ Turned Into a Shocking Event

Suetonius – The Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Caligula

Ultimate Classic Rock – 50 Years Ago: ‘Beatles Bonfire’ Radio Station Struck by Lightning

Vintage News – The First Female Mayor in the US Was Nominated as a Prank, She Won Over 60 Percent of the Vote

Wikipedia – Cassius Chaerea