|“||You will be the only thing in this world that will truly be mine. And I will put you on a pedestal so high, it will be impossible for anyone not to adore you.||”|
—King Clarkson to Queen Amberly
Clarkson's mother, Abby, was previously married to Prince Justin Illéa. She liked him just fine, but she was more attracted to his cousin, Porter Schreave. They conspired together to kill Justin by poisoning him, and Gregory, who was close to death, encouraged her to marry Porter to continue the royal lineage.
Abby humbly accepted Porter's proposal, and she was pregnant with his son well before the wedding. But their passion for each other soon faded. If Abby could so easily dispose of her first husband, why not her second? Porter kept his distance, and their only son, Clarkson, grew up in a home full of screaming, accusations, and occasional violence.
He went through the Selection when he came of age years ago. Amberly was the star of her Selection, not only because of her beauty or power, but also because of her calming nature. The opposite of everything Clarkson had ever known, he was drawn to her from the start. When a small uprising happened in the south, Clarkson suggested to his father that marrying a girl from a lower caste might appease them, and their marriage did soothe some of the public.
Unlike his son, Maxon, Clarkson knew "exactly" what he wanted his wife to be like, and he tested the girls to see how they would respond to things. For example, he told some girls that their hair would maybe look better shorter to him, and for a date, he came to their room and asked them to come with him while in a robe and nightgown, since he came late in the night right before the girls went to bed. Amberly was the only girl to cut her hair more than an inch to impress him, and was the only one who went on the first date with him while she was in her robe and nightgown. Clarkson chose Amberly because she was what he wanted his wife to be like. Not caring much about appearances, and calming, since all he had ever known was violence from his parents. However, in the The Crown, it is revealed he had been unfaithful and had an illegitimate child, Brice Mannor, with an unnamed mistress.
Eventually he became the fifth king of Illéa. As the Rebels' attacks became more frequent and dangerous, Clarkson became worried, though he refused to acknowledge Maxon's idea that the Rebels may have been looking for something in particular, and he blamed on the Rebels most of the country's problems discussed in the weekly Report.
The king also did not allow public learning of history. History was taught by word of mouth in Illéa and was expected to be something that "is just known and does not need to be studied." Everyone knew different bits and pieces of history and to varying degrees.
The day Maxon was to propose to one of the Selected, a huge rebel attack came about. Amberly took a bullet for Clarkson which killed her, and eventually the Southern Rebels killed Clarkson as well.
Maxon and America Singer eventually got married and had twins. The girl, the heir to Illéa's crown, named Eadlyn, is seven minutes older than her brother, Ahren. Clarkson later got two more grandsons, Kaden and Osten Schreave.
See King Clarkson's Selection for more information.
Clarkson had never overcome his trust issues. Amberly saw in him more than anyone else, but she still didn't know everything. Clarkson kept his family under his control, because he thought it was normal, coming from a broken home. Amberly genuinely loved her husband and overlooked his flaws, and it was her disposition that kept Maxon from completely following his father's example. Although in the beginning, the king appeared quite relaxed and in good terms with all the Selected girls, he later became much stricter and bossier, especially toward America. He clearly disliked Maxon's choice of America, thinking that she was unable for the position, too rebellious and disobedient to his rules, and dangerous for the future of castes. He forced his son many times to kick her out, but Maxon insisted that it was his choice who to keep. However, when the king realized that Illéan people loved her and even Italy's royal family had a strong preference toward her as the future queen, he understood that she was too valuable to leave.
Clarkson often put his son down for not having enough confidence and being too kind. He didn't listen to his son's opinions, ordered him to behave perfectly, and even scolded him publicly. It seemed that he behaved more like a king to his servant than a father to his child. Maxon many times called him "sir" instead of "father." To her great shock, America was the only person who saw that Maxon had been caned on his back sometimes by his father for things that he had said or known or done or hadn't done. The first time it happened was when young Maxon found out about his father's mistress and confronted him about it, saying "You cannot let that whore in here again". King Clarkson, while drunk, dislocated Maxon's arm for grabbing it too hard, then he put him to the floor and caned him. Many years later, Maxon's daughter, Eadlyn, also learned this secret and saw the scars on her father's back.
However, when Clarkson's wife would appear, Clarkson suddenly seemed to be more well-mannered and kind to his son, because Amberly had a calming effect on him. Maxon, though, suspected that she was mistreated in some other ways too (maybe manipulated and verbally abused), but not as he was treated.
Based on Amberly's description of him as a young prince in the beginning of The Queen, Clarkson is very muscular, similar to Maxon, and has dirty blond hair and faded blue eyes.
- His favorite color is navy blue.
- He likes strawberry tarts very much, just like his daughter-in-law, America. In The Queen, Clarkson is seen on a date with Amberly getting five strawberry tarts.
- His favorite part of being prince (then king) was how much power and the order the position held in society.
- It was stated by Maxon that Clarkson would give gifts to Queen Amberly before his mistress would come as to apologize for his sin beforehand.
- Porter took him almost everywhere in the world, hoping to give Clarkson a well-rounded world culture education and understanding the necessity of allies.
- In a deleted scene, Maxon stated that his father is a workhorse.
- He only picked America, along with the other two Fives, so it would seem random.
- As a result of his affair he ended up having an illegitimate daughter named Brice Mannor.