Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

Henry Stafford (known as Harry) was born in 1455, his father being Humphrey Stafford, son and heir to Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham. His mother was Margaret Beaufort, daughter of Edmond Beaufort and cousin of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.

Harry was three when his father died of the plague, and five when his grandfather was killed in the battle of Northampton. Edward IV purchased his wardship and marriage from the 1st Duke’s executors. In 1465, at Elizabeth Woodville’s coronation, he was created a Knight of the Bath. He was also married to Elizabeth Woodville’s sister Katherine. Harry and his brother became members of Elizabeth Woodville’s household. In 1474 he was made a Knight of the Garter, and the following year he contributed men to Edward’s French expedition, but failed to go himself. In 1478 he was given the ceremonial position of High Steward of England for the trial of George of Clarence, and as such pronounced sentence. The position was for the trial only.

In 1483, after being on the sidelines, Buckingham came onto centre stage throwing his hand in with Richard against the Woodvilles. Richard was generous with rewards, creating Buckingham Lord Great Chamberlain, and possibly High Steward. Buckingham was also recognized as the sole heir of the de Bohun estates. Buckingham had been a Woodville pawn for 18 of his 28 years, now he could stand on his own. In October 1483, he led his abortive rebellion against Richard. After its failure he went into hiding, was betrayed by a servant and executed at Salisbury on November 2nd. Richard reputedly refused him a final interview, describing his erstwhile friend, “him that had best cause to be true.”


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