3rd Duke of Buckingham: Victim of Hearsay

(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was born 3 February 1478, at Brecon Castle in Wales to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Katherine Woodville.

Katherine Woodville was sister to Elizabeth Woodville who became Queen of England after secretly marrying Edward IV.

Photo Andrew Tivenan
Photo Andrew Tivenan – Brecon Castle


Edward Stafford had a viable claim to the throne through his paternal grandfather, Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who was the son of Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of Edward III. Some said Buckingham boasted that his claim was stronger than Henry VIII’s since Henry’s father was from the illegitimate line of Edward III through his son, John of Gaunt.

The discussion, or hearsay, began after it became evident that Henry VIII’s queen, Katherine of Aragon would no longer be able to produce a male heir. It was assumed that the Tudor line would die out since a girl (Princess  Mary) had not been considered as an heir.

When Henry VIII was informed of the things his royal cousin was “saying” he requested and investigation.

“On April 8, 1521, the duke was ordered to London from his castle at Thornbury. He set out for the court, seemingly unaware of any danger, and was greatly shocked when arrested along the way and taken to the Tower. At his trial, he was charged with “imagining and compassing the death of the king,” through seeking out prophecy from a monk named Nicholas Hopkins about the chances of the king having a male heir. Evidence was supposedly obtained from disgruntled former members of the duke’s household.

Buckingham denied all charges. But a jury of 17 peers found him guilty, led by the duke of Norfolk, who condemned him — while weeping.”

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 12 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

It is reported from England that the King had ordered the arrest of the Duke of Buckingham, the chief personage in that kingdom, together with two other Knights of the Garter. The real cause is not known, but according to report the Duke had plotted to assassinate Cardinal Wolsey. This the English ambassador denies, though he does not know the reason, affirming merely the fact of the arrest, and that the King had surrendered the Duke for trial by the peers of the realm.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 13 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

The Royal Courts (li eonsegli regj) have condemned the Duke of Buckingham to death. He will be definitively sentenced this morning (13 May) at Westminster, the final sentence having been passed ordering him for decapitation; and he is gone back to the Tower to be executed according to the custom here, and they will do by him as was done by his father and grandfather.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 14-17 May 1521 - Lodovico Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in England, to his brother Gasparo Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in France:

This morning the late Duke of Buckingham was taken “in forza de’ brazi” from the Tower to the scaffold, at the usual place of execution, with a guard of 500 infantry. He addressed the populace in English. Then on his bended knees he recited the penitential psalms, and with the greatest composure calling the executioner, requested that he would dispatch him quickly, and forgave him; after which he took off his gown, and having had his eyes blindfolded, he laid his neck on the block, and the executioner with a woodman’s axe (fn. 11) severed his head from his body with three strokes.

The corpse was immediately placed in a coffin and carried to the church of the Austin Friars, accompanied by six friars and all the infantry.

The death of the Duke has grieved the city universally. Many wept for him, as did one-third of the spectators, among whom was I. Our Italians had not the heart to see him die. And thus miserably, but with great courage, did he end his days on the 17th of May.

On 17 May 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason.

Scandal Of Buckingham Sisters – 1510

A little insight on Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and the scandal of his sisters (Anne & Elizabeth) which caused havoc with the relationship of Edward Stafford and King Henry VIII:

Letter from  Don Luys Carroz to Miguel Perez De Almazan, First Secretary of State of King Ferdinand the Catholic, 29 May 1510:

Note: We believe the man referred to as Conton is actually William Compton, friend of Henry VIII.

Anne Stafford
Buckingham’s sister, Anne Stafford

What lately has happened is that two sisters of the Duke of Buckingham, both married, lived in the palace. The one of them is the favourite of the Queen, and the other, it is said, is much liked by the King, who went after her. Another version is that the love intrigues were not of the King, but of a young man, his favourite, of the name of Conton, who had been the late King’s butler. This Conton carried on the love intrigue, as it is said, for the King, and that is the more credible version, as the King has shown great displeasure at what I am going to tell. The favourite of the Queen has been very anxious in this matter of her sister, and has joined herself with the Duke, her brother, with her husband and her sister’s husband, in order to consult on what should be done in this case. The consequence of the counsel of all the four of them was that, whilst the Duke was in the private apartment of his sister, who was suspected [of intriguing] with the King, Conton came there to talk with her, saw the Duke, who intercepted him, quarrelled with him, and the end of it was that he was severely reproached in many and very hard words. The King was so offended at this that he reprimanded the Duke angrily. The same night the Duke left the palace, and did not enter or return there for some days. At the same time the husband of that lady went away, carried her off, and placed her in a convent sixty miles from here, that no one may see her. The King having understood that all this proceeded from the sister, who is the favourite of the Queen, the day after the one was gone, turned the other out of the palace, and her husband with her. Believing that there were other women in the employment of the favourite, that is to say, such as go about the palace insidiously spying out every unwatched moment, in order to tell the Queen [stories], the King would have liked to turn all of them out, only that it has appeared to him too great a scandal. Afterwards, almost all the court knew that the Queen had been vexed with the King, and the King with her, and thus this storm went on between them. I spoke to the friar about it, and complained that he had not told me this, regretting that the Queen had been annoyed, and saying to him how I thought that the Queen should have acted in this case, and how he, in my opinion, ought to have behaved himself. For in this I think I understand my part, being a married man, and having often treated with married people in similar matters. He contradicted vehemently, which was the same thing as denying what had been officially proclaimed. He told me that those ladies have not gone for anything of the kind, and talked nonsense, and evidently did not believe what he told me. I did not speak more on that subject.”


Eleanor Percy
Eleanor Percy

Edward Stafford
Edward Stafford

Family Tree of Edward Stafford and Eleanor Percy:

Mary Stafford (born c. 1495) She married George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny. They were the parents of:

  • Mary Neville, Baroness Dacre

Elizabeth Stafford (c. 1497 – 30 November 1558). She married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Together they were the parents of:

Catherine Stafford (born abt. 1499 – 14 May 1555); She married Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. They were parents of:

    • Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland
    • Sir Thomas Neville
    • Edward Neville
    • Christopher Neville
    • George Neville
    • Ralph Neville
    • Cuthbert Neville
    • Dorothy Neville
    • Mary Neville
    • Margaret Neville
    • Elizabeth Neville
    • Eleanor Neville
    • Anne Neville
    • Ursula Neville

Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford (18 September 1501 – 30 April 1563); He married Ursula Pole, daughter of Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury.
They were parents of:

  • Henry Stafford
  • Thomas Stafford
  • Henry Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford
  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Baron Stafford
  • Richard Stafford
  • Walter Stafford
  • William Stafford
  • Elizabeth Stafford
  • Anne Stafford
  • Susan Stafford
  • Jane Stafford
  • Dorothy Stafford, Lady Stafford
    2 daughters whose names are not known

Interesting Notes:

Edward Stafford’s father, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason against Richard III. His mother, Katherine Woodville, married Jasper Tudor. Jasper was the son of Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor. Jasper Tudor was brother of Edmund Tudor – father to Henry VII.




‘Venice: May 1521’, in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526, ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1869), pp. 119-130. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/venice/vol3/pp119-130.

The Victory of the White Rose at The Battle of Tewkesbury

Written by:  - Blogger 

Follow on twitter!: @HistoryRoyalWmn

Snippet from her article for Royal Central:
The White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster had been in battle for the throne of England for quite some time. At the time of the Battle of Tewkesbury the Yorkists were being led by Edward of York, or Edward IV and the Lancastrians were being led by Margaret of Anjou, in name of her husband Henry VI and her son, Edward of Westminster. The conflict began when Henry Bolingbroke (Henry V) deposed his cousin Richard II. Though he held the throne
 For the rest of this interesting story, please go to: Royal Central 
Public Domain: MS Ghent - Battle of Tewkesbury.jpg
Public Domain: MS Ghent – Battle of Tewkesbury.jpg


Moniek is a “Dutchie with a British heart” - For more articles by Moniek please check out her blog:  History of Royal Women

3 Generations: Plantagenet Women

3 Generations: Margaret Pole, Ursula Pole & Dorothy Stafford

Ursula Pole Stafford
Ursula Pole Stafford
Ursula's Mother - Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Ursula’s Mother – Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury











Ursula Pole Stafford – via Tudor Chronicles:

Ursula Pole was born in 1504 and was the only daughter of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and Sir Richard Pole. Making Ursula the granddaughter of the Duke of Clarence and therefore had a claim to the English throne. Sir Richard Pole died when Ursula was only one year old. Ursula had four older brothers all of whom acquired positions within King Henry VIII’s court. Ursula grew up at the family home at Warblington Castle, Hampshire whilst her mother acted as Royal Governess to the Princess Mary.

Lady Ursula married Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford on 16thFebruary 1518 when she was 15 years old and he was 18. The marriage was suggested by Cardinal Wolsey and arranged by Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham.


The couple had 14 children in total, seven sons and seven daughters. Their eldest daughter Dorothy would go on to serve Queen Elizabeth I as Mistress of the Robes. Ursula had seen many of her family members lose their lives at the hands of the royal executioner from her mother and brother to her son Thomas was executed for treason for leading an unsuccessful uprising against Queen Mary I in 1557

From the Stafford Family: A Genealogy:

Dorothy was born on 1 October 1526, the youngest daughter of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford and Lady Ursula Pole. Her mother was the daughter of Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury, who would be executed for treason in 1541 by the order of King Henry VIII. Through her grandmother, who was the last surviving member of the Plantagenet dynasty, Dorothy and her siblings had a claim to the English throne. Dorothy had 13 siblings, of whom 12 names are known. She, along with her sister Susan, was raised in the household of her aunt Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk. Dorothy was the Duchess’s favourite niece, to whom she was very generous, giving her many gifts of clothing and money.


Dorothy (Pole) Stafford
Dorothy (Pole) Stafford

You’ll probably also notice the difference in sources. Was Dorothy the oldest or youngest daughter of Ursuala Pole?

Tudors or Plantagenets: which royal dynasty put the great into Britain?

Tudors or Plantagenets: Which Royal Dynasty Put the Great into Britain? - The Telegraph

“Which dynasty was the greatest for Britain: the Tudors – as portrayed in Wolf Hall – or the Plantagenets?”

What a question!  Great Britain didn’t exist until Elizabeth l named James Vl of Scotland (James l of England) her successor.  James was also a descendant of the Tudor line through his Grandmother, Margaret Tudor. Margaret was sister to Henry Vlll and the daughter of Henry Vll – the first Tudor king and his Plantagenet wife, Elizabeth of York.

King John signing the Magna Carta by Davenport, after Hilton © National Portrait Gallery, London















Elizabeth l of England
Elizabeth l of England by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger or his studio, ca. 1595


King James of Great Britain, Portrait after John de Critz, c. 1606
King James of Great Britain, Portrait after John de Critz, c. 1606


Did Queen Anne Neville Have An Uncle Who Was King?

Henry, Duke of Warwick / Anne, Countess of Warwick / Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick / Isabel, Duchess of Clarence / George, Duke of Clarence


While searching for images of the Duke of Clarence I came across this image from the National Portrait Gallery, London.  I had never heard of Henry, Duke of Warwick and became intrigued.  Who was he and why is he portrayed with the Kingmaker, his family and the Duke of Clarence in this etching?

From what I can tell, Henry was brother to Anne (Beauchamp) Neville.  They were children of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, and Isabel le Despenser. Anne would later marry Richard Neville who became 16th Earl of Warwick and “The Kingmaker.” Their daughters, Isabel and Anne Neville would go on to be in the middle of the Wars of the Roses because of an overly ambitious father.

Henry Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was apparently childhood friends with Henry Vl.  He was high in the king’s favor and on 14 April 1445, was created 1st Duke of Warwick. He is also said to have been crowned King of the Isle of Wight in 1444 by Henry VI.(Source: The History, Topography, and Antiquities of the Isle of Wight, by Willam Henry Davenport Adams)

Why is it that we have not heard more about him? Henry’s story sounds like an interesting read to me. A man who was born privileged and childhood friends with someone who would later become king of England. He married young and died young with no surviving heirs.

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick

National Portrait Gallery, London – Anne, Countess of Warwick



Richard lll’s Family Tragedies

Excerpt from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips:

The following year King Richard’s 11 year-old son and only child, Edward, Prince of Wales died. Richard and his queen, Anne, were maddened with grief. The prospect of a Yorkist inheritance, so dear to Richard’s heart, began to look extremely vulnerable and when, in March 1485, Queen Anne died after a prolonged illness, rumours circulated that Richard had had her killed so that he could bolster his position by marrying his niece, Elizabeth of York.


Rous Roll: Queen Anne, Richard ll & Edward, Prince of Wales
Rous Roll: Queen Anne, Richard lll & Edward, Prince of Wales

Did Richard lll have something to do with the death of his wife? I doubt it. By all accounts we are led to believe that he and Anne had a great marriage. The loss of his son and then his wife would have been devastating to any loving husband and father. I do often wonder if he was interested in marrying his beautiful niece, Elizabeth of York. At the time it would have brought the former supporters of his nephew, Edward V back to his corner, so I can see the appeal of it to a ruling monarch.