George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham

George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham

George Villiers, el segundo hijo de Sir George Villiers, nació en Brooksby, Leicestershire, el 28 de agosto de 1592. Villiers no era un erudito natural, "pero sobresalió en habilidades como el baile, la esgrima y la equitación, y dado que estos se combinaron con excepcional belleza y encanto en sus modales, estaba bien equipado para la vida como cortesano ". (1)

En 1611, Villiers conoció a Sir John Graham, un caballero de la cámara privada, que actuó como su mentor y promotor. Hizo los arreglos para que Villiers fuera presentado al rey Jaime I, quien tomó un gusto inmediato por Villiers. A lo largo de su reinado se asoció con jóvenes atractivos y, según Maurice Ashley, había desarrollado sentimientos homosexuales en su juventud. (2)

Aunque se casó con Ana de Dinamarca en 1589, y ella dio a luz a Enrique (1594) y Carlos (1600), el Rey James pasó poco tiempo con su esposa y "se negó a vivir en el mismo lugar que una mujer más de lo que podía ayudar". ... y poco después de su ascenso, la reina se estableció en la Casa de Dinamarca, y rara vez lo acompañó en sus continuos progresos ". (3)

Como ha señalado Jenny Wormald: "Existe casi el peligro de olvidar que, incluso si la actividad homosexual en contraposición al sentimiento homoerótico se atribuye al rey, al menos, James era bisexual y triunfó, donde sus tres predecesores habían fracasado". , al proporcionar herederos al trono, que después del medio siglo anterior fue un alivio bienvenido ". (4)

Uno de sus cortesanos, Anthony Weldon, afirma que James tenía varias "bellezas masculinas" y que era culpable de expresar sus sentimientos en público: "El rey los besa de manera tan lasciva en público, y en el teatro, por así decirlo, de la mundo, incitó a muchos a imaginar algunas cosas hechas en la casa de retiro que exceden mis expresiones no menos que mi experiencia. " (5)

James encontró a Villiers extremadamente atractivo y fue considerado "hermoso como un leopardo de caza". (6) El obispo Godfrey Goodman comentó que Villiers era "el hombre de cuerpo más guapo de toda Inglaterra; sus miembros tan bien compactados y su conversación tan agradable y de tan dulce disposición". (7)

En el momento en que conoció a Villiers, el Rey tenía una relación sentimental con Robert Carr. Se convirtió en el favorito de King cuando tenía 20 años y al año siguiente se convirtió en el novio de la alcoba. Se informó que el rey "pellizcaba la mejilla de Carr en público, le alisaba la ropa y lo miraba con adoración, incluso mientras hablaba con los demás". Durante los siguientes ocho años, Carr acumuló constantemente las recompensas materiales del enamoramiento real y recibió grandes propiedades por toda Inglaterra. (8)

En 1613, Carr comenzó a hacer planes para casarse con Frances Howard, la hija del almirante Thomas Howard, hijo de Thomas Howard, cuarto duque de Norfolk. La familia Howard estaba teniendo una influencia creciente sobre King James. Esto incluyó a Henry Howard, primer conde de Northampton, Thomas Howard, conde de Arundel y Charles Howard, señor de Effingham. Todos simpatizaban con la iglesia católica romana y querían una alianza con el rey Felipe III de España. Según John Philipps Kenyon, autor de Los Estuardos (1958): "Ellos (los Howard) instaron a James a casar a su hijo con la hija de Felipe III de España y usar su enorme dote para pagar sus deudas, con el objetivo final de reconciliar a la iglesia inglesa con Roma". (9)

Sir Thomas Overbury, se había opuesto amargamente al matrimonio porque estaba preocupado por la creciente influencia de la familia Howard. Le dio a conocer sus sentimientos a James. Rechazó sus quejas y le ofreció un puesto de embajador, lo que le habría significado vivir en el extranjero. Cuando se negó a ocupar el cargo, fue arrestado el 21 de abril de 1613 y llevado a la Torre de Londres. Overbury amenazó, en una carta escrita a Carr, que revelaría información sobre la vida pasada de Francis Howard. Overbury murió el 15 de septiembre de 1613. Diez días después, Carr se casó con Howard. (10)

En 1614 nombró a Carr como Lord Chamberlain y le otorgó el título de Conde de Somerset. Sin embargo, también mostró su amor por Villiers al darle el trabajo de copero real y en 1615 fue nombrado caballero y se convirtió en caballero de la alcoba. También recibió una pensión anual de 1.000 libras esterlinas. Carr se quejó de su nuevo rival. James respondió escribiendo una carta que dejaba en claro que no estaba dispuesto a renunciar a su amor por Villiers. Reprendió a Carr por sus "extrañas corrientes de inquietud, pasión, furia y orgullo insolente" y por "retirarse de estar acostado en mi habitación, a pesar de mis cientos de veces que le solicité sinceramente lo contrario". (11)

En agosto de 1615, Villiers y James ocuparon la misma cama en el castillo de Farnham, donde el rey avanzaba. Roger Lockyer sostiene que esto en sí mismo no prueba que los dos hombres tuvieran una relación homosexual: "Compartir la cama no era infrecuente a principios del siglo XVII, y no implicaba necesariamente intimidad física. Sin embargo, todo indicaba que la relación entre los dos el rey y Villiers habían entrado en una nueva fase, y que los días del favor de Somerset estaban contados ". (12)

El autor de la Los Estuardos (1958) señaló: "A la edad de veintidós años, George Villiers tenía esa atracción masculina demasiado madura que tiembla al borde de la feminidad: alto y de proporciones hermosas, tenía un rostro en forma de corazón enmarcado en cabello castaño oscuro. y barba corta, una boca exquisitamente curvada, y los ojos azul oscuro de los muy sexuados ... Su inteligencia, aunque existía en un nivel bajo, indudablemente existía ... El coqueteo juvenil de Buckingham le permitió contrariar a James con impunidad. " (13)

Villiers también obtuvo el apoyo de Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Canciller del rey. También temía la creciente influencia de la familia Howard y animó a James a ordenar una investigación sobre la muerte de Thomas Overbury. Finalmente, Robert Carr y su esposa, Frances Carr, comparecieron ante el tribunal para enfrentar el cargo de asesinato. Frances hizo una confesión completa, pero Robert afirmó que no tuvo nada que ver con la muerte de Overbury. El tribunal no le creyó y la pareja fue condenada a muerte. James se negó a permitir que su amante fuera ejecutado y ambos fueron encarcelados en la Torre de Londres. (14)

Villiers estaba en una buena posición para beneficiarse de la destitución de Robert Carr del poder. En enero de 1616, James lo nombró amo del caballo y el 27 de agosto lo nombró vizconde de Villiers y le dio tierras de la corona por valor de 30.000 libras esterlinas. También se convirtió en el secretario principal para la inscripción de los alegatos en la corte del tribunal del rey, por un valor de unas 4000 libras esterlinas al año. El 6 de enero de 1617, fue elevado al condado de Buckingham y al mes siguiente se convirtió en miembro del Consejo Privado. El rey no ocultó sus sentimientos por su favorito. (15)

En septiembre de 1617, el rey defendió su amistad con Buckingham: "No soy ni Dios ni un ángel, sino un hombre como cualquier otro. Por tanto, actúo como un hombre y confieso que amo a mis seres queridos más que a otros hombres. Estoy seguro de que amo al conde de Buckingham más que a nadie, y más que a ustedes que están aquí reunidos. Deseo hablar en mi nombre, y que no se considere un defecto, porque Jesucristo hizo lo mismo y por tanto, no se me puede culpar. Cristo tuvo a su Juan y yo a mi Jorge ". (dieciséis)

James estaba profundamente enamorado de Buckingham, quien lo llamó "Steenie" (una referencia a San Esteban, quien en la Biblia describe como teniendo el "rostro de un ángel"). Según John Philipps Kenyon, también lo llamó su "amado", su "dulce hijo y esposa". En una ocasión, cuando Buckingham estaba de vacaciones, James le escribió pidiéndole que regresara: "Mi único dulce y querido hijo. Te ruego que te apresures a volver a casa con tu padre al ponerse el sol lo más lejos posible ... y por eso, Señor, envía me siento cómodo y feliz contigo esta noche ". (17)

James simpatizaba con la Iglesia Católica Romana y llegó a la conclusión de que su hijo, Carlos, debería casarse con María Ana, la hija menor del rey Felipe III de España. Buckingham apoyó esta política, pero el Parlamento inglés se opuso a ella y en 1621 pidió la aplicación de las leyes de recusación, una campaña naval contra España y un matrimonio protestante para el Príncipe de Gales. (18)

Francis Bacon, el Lord Canciller, dirigió la campaña contra el matrimonio propuesto y, junto con otros diputados, sugirió que Charles debería casarse con una princesa protestante. James insistió en que la Cámara de los Comunes se ocupara exclusivamente de los asuntos internos y no debería participar en la toma de decisiones sobre política exterior. (19)

Los partidarios del rey respondieron acusando a Bacon de soborno y corrupción y fue acusado ante la Cámara de los Lores. Desde el siglo XV no se había derrocado en el Parlamento a un gran oficial de la corona. (20) Bacon fue multado con 40.000 libras esterlinas y "encarcelamiento a discreción del rey". También se le prohibió cualquier cargo o empleo en el estado y se le prohibió sentarse en el parlamento o acercarse al borde (12 millas) de la corte. La multa nunca fue cobrada y su encarcelamiento en la Torre de Londres duró solo tres días. (21)

James se negó a aceptar la derrota y se las arregló para que Charles recibiera tutoría en español y los últimos pasos de baile continental. En febrero de 1623, Carlos viajó de incógnito con el duque de Buckingham, a Madrid, para encontrarse con miembros de la familia real española. Se le describió como si "se hubiera convertido en un buen caballero", pero también se observó que no parecía distinguido y que medía sólo cinco pies y cuatro pulgadas de alto. (22) Durante este período, Charles estuvo fuertemente influenciado por las ideas políticas de Buckingham. (23)

John Morrill ha señalado: "La decisión de Charles de emprender un noviazgo personal como una forma de romper el estancamiento diplomático fue una indicación de su creciente confianza en sí mismo. Ahora actuaba comúnmente como un agente político, reuniéndose con consejeros privados, embajadores extranjeros , y el duque de Buckingham, a veces bajo las instrucciones de su padre, a veces de forma independiente. La decisión de viajar a España y llevar a cabo negociaciones cara a cara para concluir su matrimonio fue un paso más en su maduración ". (24)

Los negociadores españoles exigieron que Charles se convirtiera al catolicismo romano como condición del partido. También insistieron en la tolerancia de los católicos en Inglaterra y la derogación de las leyes penales. Después del matrimonio, María Anna tendría que quedarse en España hasta que Inglaterra cumpliera con todos los términos del tratado. Charles sabía que el Parlamento nunca aceptaría este trato y regresó a Inglaterra sin una novia. (25)

Ahora se decidió cambiar la política exterior y James abrió conversaciones sobre la posibilidad de una alianza con Luis XIII de Francia que implicaba el matrimonio de Carlos con Henrietta Maria, la hermana del rey. No tenía precedentes para una princesa católica casarse con un protestante. El Papa Urbano VIII solo dio su permiso cuando se le aseguró que el tratado incluía "compromisos sobre los derechos religiosos de la reina, sus hijos y su familia; mientras que en un documento secreto separado, Carlos prometió suspender la aplicación de las leyes penales contra los católicos". (26)

En febrero de 1624, el duque de Buckingham logró persuadir a la mayoría de los parlamentarios de la nueva política anti-española y de negociar un tratado con Francia. Sin embargo, no se explicó al Parlamento que el matrimonio propuesto implicaría una mayor tolerancia para los católicos romanos. (27)

Estas negociaciones dieron como resultado que el Parlamento perdiera la confianza en King James. Ya no confiaban en él y se vio obligado a hacer varias concesiones. Esto incluyó una Ley de Monopolio, que prohibía las concesiones reales de monopolios a individuos. James también acordó trabajar en estrecha colaboración con el Parlamento para hacer frente a la crisis económica que atravesaba el país en ese momento. (28)

James I murió el 27 de marzo de 1625. Buckingham se convirtió en el consejero más importante del nuevo rey. Charles se casó con Henrietta Maria, de quince años, por poder en la puerta de la iglesia de Notre Dame el 1 de mayo. Charles la conoció en Dover el 13 de junio y fue descrita como de huesos pequeños y menuda y "algo pequeña para su edad". (29) Otra fuente dijo que era "una adolescente desgarbada, ojos enormes, muñecas huesudas, dientes salientes y una figura mínima". (30) Caroline M. Hibbard proporciona una imagen más positiva argumentando que tenía "cabello castaño y ojos negros y una combinación de dulzura e ingenio que casi todos los observadores comentan". (31)

Muchos miembros de la Cámara de los Comunes se opusieron al matrimonio del rey con un católico romano, temiendo que socavaría el establecimiento oficial de la Iglesia reformada de Inglaterra. Los puritanos se sintieron particularmente infelices cuando se enteraron de que el rey había prometido que a Enriqueta María se le permitiría practicar su religión libremente y que tendría la responsabilidad de criar a sus hijos hasta que cumplieran los 13 años. Febrero de 1626 en la Abadía de Westminster, su esposa no estaba a su lado porque se negó a participar en una ceremonia religiosa protestante. (32)

En este momento, el rey Luis XIII estuvo involucrado en una guerra civil contra los protestantes (hugonotes) en Francia. El Parlamento quería ayudar a los hugonotes, pero Charles se negó porque no quería molestar a su esposa o cuñado. Finalmente, se acordó enviar una flota de ocho barcos a Francia. Sin embargo, en el último momento, Carlos envió órdenes de que los hombres debían luchar a favor, en lugar de contra, a Luis XIII. Los capitanes y tripulaciones se negaron a aceptar estas órdenes y lucharon contra los franceses. (33)

Carlos estaba dispuesto a declarar la guerra a España. En lugar de involucrarse directamente en la guerra terrestre europea, el Parlamento inglés prefirió un ataque naval relativamente económico contra las colonias españolas en el Nuevo Mundo, esperando la captura de las flotas del tesoro españolas y solo otorgó un subsidio de £ 140,000, que era una suma insuficiente. por los planes de guerra de Charles. (34)

Charles se sintió decepcionado por esta decisión y por eso llamó a otro Parlamento. En esta ocasión el duque de Buckingham, pronunció un largo discurso en el que "defendió su política, les aseguró su compromiso con la guerra, incluido un asalto naval a España, y les dio detalles de las obligaciones económicas del rey". Sin embargo, señalaron que el país no podía pagar más impuestos en un momento de recesión económica. Charles respondió disolviendo el Parlamento. (35)

En el verano de 1627, Buckingham intentó ayudar a sus nuevos aliados hugonotes sitiados en La Rochelle en Francia. El 12 de julio llegó a Sablanceau una fuerza inglesa de 100 barcos y 6.000 soldados. Una fuerza francesa de 1.200 infantes y 200 jinetes bajo el mando del Marqués de Toiras, el gobernador de la isla, resistió el desembarco desde detrás de las dunas, pero se mantuvo la cabeza de playa inglesa. El asedio continuó hasta octubre, durante el cual perdió más de 4.000 de una fuerza de 7.000 hombres. (36)

Sir John Eliot, el principal crítico de Buckingham en la Cámara de los Comunes, instigó un proceso de acusación contra el principal asesor del rey. En mayo de 1626, Charles nombró a Buckingham como rector de la Universidad de Cambridge en una muestra de apoyo e hizo arrestar a Eliot en la puerta de la Cámara. Su encarcelamiento resultó en una gran protesta y el rey se vio obligado a ordenar la liberación de Eliot. Sin embargo, Charles se negó a despedir a Buckingham y en su lugar disolvió el Parlamento. (37)

Aunque el rey siguió protegiendo a Buckingham, el público lo odió y el 23 de agosto de 1628 fue asesinado a puñaladas en el Greyhound Pub de Portsmouth. El asesino era John Felton, un oficial del ejército que había resultado herido en la anterior aventura militar y creía que Buckingham lo había pasado por alto para un ascenso. Sin embargo, dejó en claro que su acto se basó en su creencia en la Cámara de los Comunes y que al "matar al duque debería hacer un gran servicio a su país". (38)

A los veintidós años, George Villiers tenía esa atracción masculina demasiado madura que tiembla al borde de la feminidad: alto y de proporciones hermosas, tenía un rostro en forma de corazón enmarcado en cabello castaño oscuro y barba corta, una exquisita ... boca curvada, y los ojos azul oscuro de los altamente sexuados ...

Su inteligencia, aunque existía en un nivel bajo, indudablemente existía ... El coqueteo juvenil de Buckingham le permitió enfrentarse a James con descaro, emergiendo más bien con una influencia mejorada; sus cartas burbujean con un encanto sin sentido y charlas de bebés de amantes, pero hay algo de insolencia incluso en su invariable despedida.

Yo, Santiago, no soy ni Dios ni un ángel, sino un hombre como cualquier otro. Cristo tenía a su John y yo a mi George.

Tácticas militares en la guerra civil (comentario de respuesta)

Mujeres en la Guerra Civil (Respuesta al comentario)

Retratos de Oliver Cromwell (Respuesta al comentario)

(1) Roger Lockyer, George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(2) Maurice Ashley, La vida de los reyes y reinas de Inglaterra (1975) página 182

(3) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 41

(4) Jenny Wormald, King James I: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(5) Anthony Weldon, La corte y el carácter del rey Jaime I (1650)

(6) Diane Purkiss, La guerra civil inglesa: la historia de un pueblo (2007) página 15

(7) Pauline Gregg, Rey carlos (1984) página 49

(8) Alastair Bellany, Robert Carr, conde de Somerset: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(9) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 47

(10) John Considine, Thomas Overbury: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(11) Peter Ackroyd, La guerra civil (2014) página 45

(12) Roger Lockyer, George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(13) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 50

(14) Peter Ackroyd, La guerra civil (2014) página 46

(15) Roger Lockyer, George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(16) El rey Jaime I, discurso en la reunión del Consejo Privado (septiembre de 1617)

(17) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 50

(18) Christopher Hibbert, Carlos I (1968) páginas 49-50

(19) Richard Cust, Carlos I: una vida política (2005) página 8

(20) Roger Lockyer, Tudor y Stuart Gran Bretaña (1985) página 225

(21) Markku Peltonen, Francis Bacon: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(22) Maurice Ashley, La vida de los reyes y reinas de Inglaterra (1975) página 187

(23) Richard Ollard, Clarendon y sus amigos (1988) página 24

(24) John Morrill, Rey Carlos I: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(25) Pauline Gregg, Rey Carlos I (1981) páginas 85-87

(26) Caroline M. Hibbard, Henrietta Maria: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(27) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 60

(28) Barry Cobarde, La edad de Stuart: Inglaterra 1603-1714 (1980) página 158

(29) John Morrill, Rey Carlos I: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(30) John Philipps Kenyon, Los Estuardos (1958) página 63

(31) Caroline M. Hibbard, Henrietta Maria: Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional (2004-2014)

(32) Charles Carlton, Carlos I: el monarca personal (1995) página 76

(33) Gerald Howat, Política exterior de Stuart y Cromwellian (1974) página 35

(34) Pauline Gregg, Rey Carlos I (1981) página 129

(35) Roger Lockyer, Tudor y Stuart Gran Bretaña (1985) página 233

(36) Mark Charles Fissel, Guerra y gobierno en Gran Bretaña, 1598-1650 (1991) páginas 123-125

(37) Charles Carlton, Carlos I: el monarca personal (1995) páginas 149-151

(38) Roger Lockyer, Tudor y Stuart Gran Bretaña (1985) página 238


La publicación en enero de este año de La Cámara de los Lores, 1604-29 representa la culminación de diez años de escritura e investigación por parte de un equipo dedicado de cuatro académicos dirigido por el Dr. Andrew Thrush. Compuesto por dos volúmenes de biografías que se extienden a más de 1,600,000 palabras y una encuesta introductoria separada, esta última adición a la serie History of Parliament complementa y mejora el conjunto de seis volúmenes sobre la primera Stuart House of Commons y sus miembros publicado en 2010. .

En el corazón de los últimos volúmenes de la Historia del Parlamento se encuentran las biografías de 277 pares que tenían derecho a sentarse en la Cámara de los Lores entre 1604 y 1629 (otras nueve biografías de pares que no pudieron sentarse antes de 1629 y que murieron antes que otro El Parlamento reunido en 1640 aparece en dos apéndices).

La mayor cantidad de espacio se dedica naturalmente a las principales figuras políticas del período, incluido Robert Cecil, primer conde de Salisbury, que intentó en vano resolver los problemas financieros de la corona con la ayuda del Parlamento George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham, el advenedizo cuyo dominio de la política inglesa como favorito y ministro principal de dos reyes sucesivos enfureció a los miembros de la `` antigua nobleza '' y condujo a su destitución en 1626 George Abbot, arzobispo de Canterbury, quien ayudó a Buckingham en su ascenso al poder y vivió para lamentarlo y Thomas Howard, 21 conde de Arundel, el miembro principal de la 'antigua nobleza' # 8217, que inicialmente se contaba a sí mismo entre los principales aliados de Buckingham. Mucho de lo nuevo se encontrará en estos estudios individuales. Por ejemplo, en la extensa entrada sobre el Príncipe Carlos, el futuro Carlos I, quien se sentó en los Lores como Príncipe de Gales tanto en 1621 como en 1624, se afirma que el famoso tartamudeo de Carlos no fue el resultado de un trauma psicológico sino de una lengua agrandada, un condición conocida como macroglosia, que dificultaba hablar en público.

Los volúmenes de la biografía no están exclusivamente poblados por figuras destacadas como Charles y Buckingham, o Salisbury y Arundel, sino que también incluyen a muchos compañeros laicos que, por razones de pobreza o menor importancia política, han escapado de la inclusión en el Diccionario Oxford de biografía nacional: hombres como el par de Hampshire, William, el tercer Lord Sandys y el noble angloirlandés, George Tuchet, el undécimo Lord Audley y el primer conde de Castlehaven.

Sin embargo, estos pequeños alevines reciben el mismo trato que sus hermanos más ilustres. Junto a la carrera de cada hombre en la Cámara de los Lores (asumiendo que se sentó, por supuesto), los lectores encontrarán detalles de su carrera política, asuntos financieros, persuasión religiosa, intereses culturales, carácter general y relaciones sexuales. costumbres. De hecho, estos volúmenes están ricamente coloreados en sus detalles. Aprendemos, por ejemplo, que Buckingham regresó de España en 1623 con gonorrea y que su hermano menor Christopher Villiers, primer conde de Anglesey, era un borracho lascivo que Basil Feilding, Lord Newnham Paddockes, era un anti-calvinista en su juventud en lugar de el calvinista convencido que todos habíamos pensado y que Henry Clinton, segundo conde de Lincoln, era de una disposición tan violenta que James I opinó que estaba gobernado por la influencia del inframundo. También descubrimos que William Paulet, cuarto marqués de Winchester, tenía fama de ser tan oscuro que en su noche de bodas evidentemente `` no sabía por dónde empezar '' que Thomas, cuarto Lord Cromwell, era partidario de las dependientas de Dublín y que Henry, séptimo Lord Berkeley estaba tan dominado por su esposa que su propio mayordomo le otorgó el sobrenombre de "Enrique el Inofensivo". Los historiadores no parlamentarios encontrarán tanto interés en estos volúmenes como los académicos parlamentarios.

Complementando los dos volúmenes de biografías hay una monografía de 400 páginas sobre la propia Cámara de los Lores. Dividido en seis grandes capítulos, ve a los Lores a través de una lente más amplia que la de Elizabeth Read Foster en su estudio de 1983 sobre la Cámara alta. Mientras que Foster se basó casi exclusivamente en las fuentes parlamentarias, este nuevo estudio mira más allá del Parlamento para examinar los desarrollos en los Lores. Surgen varios hallazgos clave. Entre los más importantes está que los Lores experimentaron una especie de renacimiento durante la década de 1620. Antes de esa fecha, la Cámara fue eclipsada cada vez más por los Comunes, cuyos miembros eran los únicos que controlaban las finanzas parlamentarias.

Sin embargo, a partir de 1621, se insufló nueva vida a los Señores. En parte, esto se debió al repentino resurgimiento de los olvidados poderes judiciales de los Lores, sobre todo el poder de llevar a cabo juicios de acusación, que colocó a la Cámara en el centro del escenario y despertó la envidia de los Comunes. Sin embargo, también se puede atribuir a los temores de la nobleza de que sus privilegios se estén socavando. Liderados por el conde de Arundel, los Lores establecieron su primer comité de privilegios, convirtiéndose así en una especie de sindicato para la nobleza. Otro factor en el resurgimiento de las fortunas de los Lores fue el crecimiento del fraccionalismo, que se extendió al Parlamento. Antes de la década de 1620, los Lores consideraban que su papel principal era defender los intereses del rey. El ascenso de Buckingham y la venta de títulos aristocráticos cambiaron todo eso. Condujo al surgimiento de lo que podría denominarse política de "oposición" en los Lores. En la mente popular, muchos miembros de la Cámara alta, como los condes de Essex y Warwick, y el vizconde Saye y Sele, llegaron a ser vistos no como subordinados a la corona sino como campeones del bien común. A fines de la década de 1620, nadie podría haber predicho que veinte años después, la Cámara alta, al igual que la monarquía, sería abolida.

La Cámara de los Lores 1604-29 ya está disponible para su compra a través de Cambridge University Press. Haga clic aquí para más información.


George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham

En 1614, Villiers, que entonces se decía que era "el hombre más guapo de Inglaterra", [1] fue presentado al rey James, quien pronto desarrolló un fuerte afecto por él, llamándolo su "dulce hijo y esposa". Inicialmente fue apoyado por aquellos que se oponían al favorito actual del Rey, Robert Carr Earl de Somerset. Durante los años siguientes, rápidamente fue nombrado caballero, barón, vizconde, conde, marqués y finalmente duque.

La restauración de Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire, en 2004-2008 reveló un pasaje previamente desconocido que vinculaba el dormitorio de Villiers con el de James. [2]

Villiers asumió un papel de liderazgo en muchos de los eventos políticos y militares del reinado de James, muchos de los cuales resultaron muy mal, y se volvió muy impopular. Según algunos relatos, se convirtió en el amante de Ana de Austria, reina de Francia (cuyo marido, Luis XIII, se dice que era gay).

Después de la muerte de James en 1625, Villiers mantuvo el favor del hijo de James, Charles I, pero fue asesinado en Portsmouth en 1628.


Hoy es el primero de un trío de blogs en celebrar Mes de la historia LGBT +. Paul M. Hunneyball, Editor Asociado de la Cámara de los Lores 1604-1629 proyecto, comienza con una secuela de su blog de la última LGBTHM, & # 8216James I y sus favoritos: sexo y poder en la corte jacobea & # 8217. En este nuevo blog, explora la evolución de la posición del duque de Buckingham en la corte en las décadas de 1610 y 1620, y las complejidades de su relación con James I & # 8230.

George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham, es probablemente más conocido hoy por su relación de una década con James I. Sin embargo, en términos históricos, es igualmente notable por ser el principal favorito de la corte de dos monarcas sucesivos, James y su hijo Carlos I, una hazaña incomparable en Europa durante esa época. Cuando se considera la naturaleza muy diferente de sus relaciones con los dos reyes, el logro de Buckingham parece aún más notable. Inicialmente saltó a la fama porque el homosexual James lo encontraba física y emocionalmente atractivo, y esta siguió siendo la consideración vital que sustentaba su aventura. Charles, en marcado contraste con su padre, compartía los prejuicios homofóbicos convencionales de su tiempo, desaprobaba los coqueteos homosexuales de James y, al principio, sintió una intensa aversión por Buckingham. El papel que finalmente asumió el duque con él fue el de confidente, consejero indispensable y primer ministro. El Carlos, emocionalmente reservado, desarrolló un afecto profundo e inquebrantable por el duque, pero su amistad tenía un carácter firmemente platónico. El hecho de que Buckingham haya podido efectuar esta transición con tanto éxito plantea algunas preguntas interesantes sobre la verdadera naturaleza de su relación con James.

En la corte jacobea, las facciones rivales buscaron abiertamente influencia sobre el rey promoviendo a jóvenes apuestos que esperaban que se ganaran su favor. El propio Buckingham comenzó su carrera en la corte como cliente de George Abbot, arzobispo de Canterbury y William Herbert, tercer conde de Pembroke, quien aprovechó sus encantos para desplazar al anterior favorito de la realeza, Robert Carr, conde de Somerset. El joven Villiers, que según los informes había acudido a los tribunales en busca de un matrimonio ventajoso, asumió su nuevo papel con aplomo. Según Godfrey Goodman, más tarde obispo de Gloucester, "era el hombre de cuerpo más apuesto de Inglaterra, sus miembros tan bien compactados y su conversación tan agradable y de tan dulce disposición" (G. Goodman, Corte del Rey Jacobo I, i. 225-6). Otro observador, Sir Simonds D’Ewes, lo encontró "lleno de delicadeza y rasgos hermosos, sí, sus manos y su rostro me parecieron, especialmente, afeminados y curiosos" (J.O. Halliwell (ed.), Autobiografía y correspondencia de Sir Simonds D’Ewes, i. 166-7).


  • George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham, c. 1616 (¿W. Larkin?)

  • George Villiers, primer duque de Buckingham, 1625 (Peter Paul Rubens)

Podemos tener una idea de estas características a partir de un retrato pintado para marcar su creación como un caballero de la Jarretera en 1616, que muestra a Buckingham bien afeitado y con sus piernas largas y elegantes en un lugar destacado. Nueve años más tarde, sin embargo, tras el ascenso de Carlos como rey, el duque estaba ansioso por promover una imagen bastante diferente, como se ve en este retrato ecuestre de Rubens. Aquí un Buckingham barbudo proyecta conscientemente un aire de machismo y fuerza, y así eligió presentarse para el resto de su carrera.

¿Qué podría decirnos esta transformación sobre su relación con James? Durante siete u ocho años le convenía a Buckingham cultivar una personalidad más decadente. El rey permaneció completamente enamorado de él y, de hecho, se volvió emocionalmente dependiente de él. A juzgar por la correspondencia que sobrevivieron, Buckingham desarrolló un afecto considerable por su amante real. Pero había un problema fundamental. Esta no era una asociación gay de estilo moderno. James fue, en cierto sentido, el mejor papá azucarero del siglo XVII, colmando a su amante de riqueza, títulos e influencia. Buckingham, que provenía de la nobleza menor, ascendió a la cima de la sociedad, y los ducados en este momento normalmente se reservaban para los miembros de la familia real. Logró un grado de intimidad informal con el rey que fue negado a otros cortesanos. Sin embargo, nunca se le permitió olvidar que James controlaba su relación. Al rey le gustaba jactarse de Buckingham como su mejor creación, lo que implicaba que podía deshacerlo de nuevo. The duke’s lavish thanks for all the benefits that he received reflected his awareness that he had a lot to lose if circumstances changed, and he was painfully aware that his rivals at court sought his downfall by tempting James with other pretty young men. Over time Buckingham assumed the role of a surrogate son, and James took to signing his letters as ‘thy dear dad’. But the duke knew his place, and invariably described himself in reply as ‘your Majesty’s most humble slave and dog’ (D.M. Bergeron, King James & Letters of Homoerotic Desire, 177, 182). There was surely an element of humour in that moniker, but it also reflected the fundamental imbalance in their relationship, and Buckingham’s perennial insecurity.

The duke’s success in finally winning over Charles offered him a way out of that situation. Exactly how the two men became such close friends has never been fully explained, but by 1623 Charles and James were effectively competing for Buckingham’s attention. Charles gained the upper hand that year when he travelled to Spain in a misguided bid to finalise his marriage to a Spanish princess, and the duke went with him. Once there, Buckingham adopted a flamboyantly heterosexual image, and acquired a reputation for womanizing. By the end of that trip, he and the prince were virtually inseparable, the proof coming a few months after their return to England. Charles, smarting from his treatment in Madrid, had abandoned any thought of a closer alliance with Spain, and was now intent on war. James, who had spent his entire reign promoting Anglo-Spanish peace, naturally opposed this strategy. Buckingham, while as solicitous as ever of his royal master’s wellbeing, sided with Charles. The now ailing king complained loudly about his favourite’s behaviour, but, as Buckingham had no doubt calculated, could not bring himself to dismiss him. These conflicts further enhanced the duke’s standing with Charles, and when the latter finally became king in March 1625 it was generally acknowledged that, in political and social terms, Buckingham’s position was now stronger than ever. Indeed, it was only an assassin’s knife that finally ended his dominance three years later.

Assessing same-sex love and desire in the early modern period is fraught with difficulty, and Buckingham’s case is no exception. His ability to switch between two radically contrasting modes of behaviour may seem strange to a modern eye, but such sexual fluidity was arguably less exceptional at the time. The undeniable warmth of his correspondence with James indicates a fair degree of genuine mutual affection, and indeed it’s hard to see how the duke could have sustained his role as royal favourite for so long without this. Nevertheless, when he had to choose, Buckingham valued his long-term security above loyalty to James, and this suggests that for him, ultimately, their relationship was based not on love but on the pursuit of power and wealth.

R. Lockyer, Buckingham (1981)

M.B. Young, King James and the History of Homosexuality (2016)

Biographies of Buckingham, Prince Charles, Archbishop Abbot, the earls of Pembroke and Somerset and Bishop Goodman will appear in the History of Parliament’s forthcoming volumes on the House of Lords 1604-29. A biography of Sir Simonds D’Ewes is being prepared for the volumes on the House of Commons 1640-60.


3. His Friend Became Famous

Though the public did not yet know either of their names, the teenage traveling buddies would prove to be a duo for the history books. The young Villiers’ partner-in-crime, John Eliot, grew up to be an influential statesman famous for his support of the rights of Parliament—an opinion for which he was repeatedly imprisoned as an adult.

But of the two, Villiers would make the biggest splash by far.

Wikipedia

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About George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (28 August 1592 – 23 August 1628) (surname pronounced /ˈvɪlɚz/ ("villers"))[1] was the favourite, claimed by some to be the lover, of King James I of England[2] and one of the most rewarded royal courtiers in all history.

5 Relations with Parliament, 1621-1624

6.1 War with Habsburg Austria, France, and Spain

He was born in Brooksby, Leicestershire, in August 1592, the son of the minor gentleman Sir George Villiers (1550-1604). His mother, Mary (1570 - 1632), daughter of Anthony Beaumont of Glenfield, Leicestershire, who was left a widow early, educated him for a courtier's life, sending him to France with Sir John Eliot.

Villiers took very well to the training he could dance well, fence well, and speak a little French. In August 1614, Villiers, reputedly "the handsomest-bodied man in all of England," was brought before the king, in the hope that the king would take a fancy to him, diminishing the power at court of then-favourite Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset.

Following Villiers' introduction to James during the king's progress of that year, the king developed a strong affection for Villiers, calling him his 'sweet child and wife' the personal relationships of James are a much debated topic, with Villiers making the last of a succession of favourites on whom James lavished affection and rewards. The extent to which there was a sexual element, or a physical sexual relationship, involved in these cases remains controversial. Villiers reciprocated the king's love and wrote to James: "I naturally so love your person, and adore all your other parts, which are more than ever one man had" and "I desire only to live in the world for your sake". Villiers gained support from those opposed to the current favourite, Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset. However, restoration of Apethorpe Hall, undertaken 2004-2008, revealed a previously unknown passage linking the bedchambers of James and his favourite, George Villiers.

Under the king's patronage he prospered greatly. Villiers was knighted in 1615 as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and was rapidly advanced through the peerage: he was created Baron Whaddon and Viscount Villiers in 1616, Earl of Buckingham in 1617, Marquess of Buckingham in 1618 and finally Earl of Coventry and Duke of Buckingham in 1623. After the reductions in the peerage that had taken place during the Tudor period, Buckingham was left as the highest-ranking subject outside the Royal Family.[3]

In the 1620s, Villiers acquired York House, Strand, which, apart from an interlude during the English Civil War, remained in the family until George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham sold it to developers for ꌰ,000 in 1672. He made it a condition of the sale that his name and title be commemorated by George Street, Villiers Street, Duke Street, Of Alley, and Buckingham Street, some of which have survived into the twenty-first century.

Buckingham with his wife Katherine Manners, their daughter Mary and son George, 1628Buckingham married the daughter of the 6th Earl of Rutland, Lady Katherine Manners, later suo jure Baroness de Ros, on 16 May 1620 despite the objections of her father. Buckingham was happy to grant valuable royal monopolies to her family.

From 1616, Buckingham established a dominant influence in Irish affairs, beginning with the appointment of his client, Sir Oliver St John, as Lord Deputy, 1616-1622. Thence, he acquired control of the Irish customs farm (1618), dominated Irish patronage at court, particularly with the sale of Irish titles and honours, and (from 1618) began to build substantial Irish estates for himself, his family and clients - with the aid of a plantation lobby, composed of official clients in Dublin. To the same end, he secured the creation of an Irish Court of Wards in 1622. Buckingham's influence thus crucially sustained a forward Irish plantation policy into the 1620s.

The 1621 Parliament began an investigation into monopolies and other abuses in England and extended it later to Ireland in this first session, Buckingham was quick to side with the Parliament to avoid action being taken against him. However, the king's decision in the summer of 1621 to send a commission of enquiry, including parliamentary firebrands, to Ireland threatened to expose Buckingham's growing, often clandestine interests there. Knowing that, in the summer, the king had assured the Spanish ambassador that the Parliament would not be allowed to imperil a Spanish matrimonial alliance, he therefore surreptitiously instigated a conflict between the Parliament and the king over the Spanish Match, which resulted in a premature dissolution of the Parliament in December 1621 and a hobbling of the Irish commission in 1622. Irish reforms nevertheless introduced by Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, in 1623-1624 were largely nullified by the impeachment and disgrace of the pacific Lord Treasurer in the violently anti-Spanish 1624 parliament - spurred on by Buckingham and Prince Charles.

In 1623, Buckingham accompanied Charles I, then Prince of Wales, to Spain for marriage negotiations regarding the Infanta Maria. The negotiations had long been stuck, but it is believed that Buckingham's crassness was key to the total collapse of agreement the Spanish ambassador asked Parliament to have Buckingham executed for his behaviour in Madrid but Buckingham gained popularity by calling for war with Spain on his return. He headed further marriage negotiations, but when, in 1624, the betrothal to Henrietta Maria of France was announced, the choice of a Catholic was widely condemned. Buckingham's popularity suffered further when he was blamed for the failure of the military expedition under the command of Ernst von Mansfeld, a famous German mercenary general, sent to the continent to recover the Palatinate (1625), which had belonged to Frederick V, Elector Palatine, son-in-law of King James I of England. However, when the Duke of York became King Charles I, Buckingham was the only man to maintain his position from the court of James.

Buckingham led an expedition to repeat the actions of Sir Francis Drake by seizing the main Spanish port at Cฝiz and burning the fleet in its harbour. Though his plan was tactically sound, landing further up the coast and marching the militia army on the city, the troops were ill-equipped, ill-disciplined and ill-trained. Coming upon a warehouse filled with wine, they simply got drunk, and the attack was called off. The English army briefly occupied a small port further down the coast before reboarding its ships.

This was followed by Buckingham leading the Army and the Navy to sea to intercept an anticipated Spanish silver fleet from Mexico and Spanish Latin America. However, the Spanish were forewarned by their intelligence and easily avoided the planned ambush. With supplies running out and men sick and dying from starvation and disease, the fleet limped home in embarrassment.

Buckingham then negotiated with the French regent, Cardinal Richelieu, for English ships to aid Richelieu in his fight against the French Protestants (Huguenots), in return for French aid against the Spanish occupying the Palatinate. The aid never materialised, and Parliament was disgusted and horrified at the thought of English Protestants fighting French Protestants. The plan only fuelled their fears of crypto-Catholicism at court. Buckingham himself, believing that the failure of his enterprise was the result of treachery by Richelieu, formulated an alliance among the churchman's many enemies, a policy which included support for the very Huguenots whom he had recently attacked.

When the Commons attempted to impeach him for the failure of the Cฝiz Expedition (1625), the King dissolved Parliament in June to prevent his impeachment.

In 1627, Buckingham led another failure: an attempt to aid his new Huguenot allies besieged at La Rochelle in France. He lost more than 4,000 men out of a force of 7,000. While organizing a second campaign, he was stabbed and killed at Portsmouth on August 23, 1628 by John Felton, an army officer who had been wounded in the earlier military adventure. Felton believed he had been passed over for promotion by Buckingham.[4] Felton was hanged in November and Buckingham was buried in Westminster Abbey. Buckingham's tomb bears a Latin inscription translated as: "The Enigma of the World."

The memory of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, is held sacred by the Villiers Club, an exclusive dining and debating society at Oxford University.

A fictionalised Buckingham is one of the characters in Alexandre Dumas, père's The Three Musketeers, which paints him as a lover of Anne of Austria and deals with his assassination by Felton. In Arturo Pérez-Reverte's novel, El capitán Alatriste, Buckingham appears briefly while on his expedition to Spain in 1623 with Charles I. He is also a central character in novels by Philippa Gregory, Earthly Joys, and Evelyn Anthony, "Charles, The King. He also appears, played by Marcus Hutton, in the Doctor Who audio drama The Church and the Crown, in which he leads an aborted English invasion of France in 1626.

Buckingham's daughter, Lady Mary Villiers, was the wife of the Royalist 1st Duke of Richmond. Richmond was the grandson of the 1st Duke of Lennox of the Seigneurs d'Aubigny Stuarts. His elder son Charles (1626 - 1627) died as an infant and the title was inherited by his younger son George.


George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, Earl of Buckingham, became the favourite of James I after they first met in 1614. Villiers succeeded Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, as the king’s favourite after Carr’s fall from grace after the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.

Villiers was born on August 28 th 1592 at Brooksby in Leicestershire. His father was a minor noble who had remarried and Villiers was born to his second wife, Mary Beaumont. He knew that in future years he would have to compete with his half-brothers for a share of his father’s modest estate. His mother was an ambitious woman and she saved enough for him to be educated in France. Here Villiers learned to dance, duel and ride with a degree of expertise. By all accounts Villiers was an athletic and well-built man. One contemporary described him as “no one dances better, no man runs or jumps better.”

James first met Villiers at Apethorpe in August 1614. James was forty-seven.

“He (James) was of middle stature, more corpulent through his clothes than his body, yet fat enough, his clothes ever being made large and easy, the doublets quilted for stiletto proof, his breeches in pleats and full stuffed……his eye was large, ever rolling after any stranger that came into his presence, in so much as many for shame have left the room, as being out of countenance….his legs were very weak….and that weakness made him ever leaning on other men’s shoulders his walk was ever circular, his fingers ever in that walk fiddling about his codpiece.”

James was immediately taken in by Villier’s appearance. In 1615, Villier’s was made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. His advance after this was swift. In 1616, Villiers was appointed Master of the Horse, made a Knight of the Garter and became Viscount Villiers. In 1617, he became Earl of Buckingham and in 1619, he was made a Marquess.

Such a swift advance up the social order was bound to provoke negative thoughts with regards to both James and Buckingham and the latter certainly made enemies. It was not unusual for a king to have favourites – but the speed with which Villiers climbed the social ladder and was promoted was too much for many.

Their public displays of affection only served to bring the court into more disrepute. James referred to him as “my sweetheart”, “my sweet child and wife” and “my only sweet and dear child”. In response to this, Buckingham flattered the king at every opportunity. There can be little doubt that Buckingham knew what he was doing (he ended his letters to the king with “Your majesty’s most humble slave and dog”) and that by pandering to James he knew that he was enhancing his own position within the royal court. In 1617, James explained to the Lords why he was making Villiers Earl of Buckingham:

“I, James, am neither God nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man, and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf, and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his John, and I have my George.”

One casualty of the rise of Buckingham was the demise in political terms of the Howard’s. In 1618, the Star Chamber, spurred on by Buckingham, prosecuted the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Suffolk, leader of the Howard faction, for embezzlement. It ended any political influence the Howard’s may have had – but it also removed from power one of the few rivals Buckingham had in 1618. Buckingham used his influence over James to get Francis Bacon appointed to be the country’s senior law officer as Lord Chancellor. This suited James as Bacon was a strong supporter of the royal prerogative and he was now in a position to support the king when James had to justify its use. It also suited Buckingham as Bacon had the Duke to thank for his social and political advancement.

Buckingham was a shrewd manipulator of the king. He also knew the value of patronage – appointing his own men to positions of responsibility. They would support him and be grateful to Buckingham for their elevated status in society. One described Buckingham as thus:

“(A man of) a kind, liberal and free nature and disposition – to those that applied themselves to him, applauded his actions, and were wholly his creatures.”

In 1620, Buckingham married Lady Catherine Manners, the daughter of the Duke of Rutland. He swiftly became a very rich man as he built up a large clientage network of office holders and monopolists. He put his own supporters and family in positions of responsibility and during all of this self-advancement he had the full support of the doting James. Christopher and John Villiers both benefited from their brother’s position in society despite their own limitations. Buckingham’s mother became a countess in 1618, a marchioness in 1619 and a duchess in 1623.

However, far more damaging to James was the fact that he allowed Buckingham to involve himself in policy matters and decision-making. This was bound to alienate powerful groups in Parliament who felt more and more alienated from both the king and decision-making.

The Parliament of January 1621 to January 1622 started to reverse the trend towards Buckingham’s ever-expanding power base. Two men who had gained office via the patronage of Buckingham – Sir Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Mitchell – were impeached by Parliament for monopoly offences. Lord Chancellor Bacon was also impeached for accepting bribes.

Buckingham was also a supporter of a marriage between Charles and the daughter of Spain’s Philip III – a policy that the majority of Parliamentarians did not support. In December 1621, Parliament produced the ‘Protestation’. This was deemed by James to be a sign that Parliament believed that it had the right to discuss foreign policy issues – something that he was adamant that they did not. James physically tore out the ‘Protestation’ from the House of Commons Journals with his own hands such was his anger.

Buckingham accompanied Prince Charles to Spain (1623) on what was to be a failed marriage mission. From this embarrassing failure, the nation witnessed a complete volte-face by James. War was declared on Spain and in May 1625 and Charles married Henrietta Maria of France.

The influence Buckingham had over James did not decline even in the king’s final months. In one of the last letters written by James to Buckingham in December 1624, James signed off with:

“And so God bless you my sweet child and wife and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband.”

James died on March 27 th , 1625. This could have left Buckingham in a void both socially and politically, but he had spent time winning over Charles when he was a prince. Now that Charles was king, Buckingham neatly moved over to his new master and became his chief minister.

Charles and Parliament fell out nearly from the start of his reign. Whereas Parliament had been happy to give James a clean start, the same was not true for his son. Parliament attacked the religious policies of Charles – especially the relaxation of the penal laws against Catholics. With regards to Buckingham they vented their spleen at his foreign policy. His foreign policy was openly criticised as incompetent. Buckingham had signed treaties with Denmark and Holland for English participation in the Danish phase of the Thirty Years War where 8,000 men out of 12,000 died on board their ships without even landing in the Netherlands he had also masterminded the marriage of Charles to Henrietta Maria, a French Catholic, that was far from popular he had also lent Cardinal Richilieu eight boats which were used to attack the Huguenot stronghold at La Rochelle. However, he failed to get France to commit herself to greater involvement in the Thirty Years War. Parliament voted through only limited taxation to finance Buckingham’s foreign policy and this lack of money was a major reason for its failures. As an example, Buckingham wanted an armada to attack Cadiz. 15,000 men were gathered together for this venture in October/November 1625. It was a dismal failure due to the poor training that was given and the poor equipment. Buckingham took the blame for this.

In 1626, Parliament, led by radicals such as Sir Edward Coke, became even more critical of the king’s chief minister and started impeachment proceedings against him. Charles responded by dissolving Parliament. Buckingham reversed his previous foreign policy. Now in support of the Huguenot defenders at La Rochelle, he led 6,000 men to the Isle de Rhé in July 1627. He left in November 1627 having achieved nothing except the loss of nearly half his force. “Since England was England, it received not so dishonourable a blow.” (Denzil Holles)

In 1628, Parliament continued to attack Buckingham and Coke called him the “grievance of grievances”. Parliament sent a remonstrance to Charles in 1628 that declared that they feared for England’s religion, her standing in Europe and her success in the Thirty Years War if Buckingham continued in power. Charles merely prorogued Parliament (June 1628).

Clearly protected by the king, Buckingham confidently went to Portsmouth to start organising another sea-going venture. Here, John Felton, who had taken part in the disastrous Cadiz and Isle de Rhé ventures, murdered him on August 23rd, 1628. Buckingham’s funeral was held at Westminster Abbey where soldiers formed an armed guard to protect the coffin from the cheering crowds.


George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

This highly ambitious son of a Leicestershire knight rose to be the favourite of James I, and of his son Charles I, on the strength of his charm and good looks. He was full of brave schemes, but lacked the good sense to carry them out effectively. As Lord High Admiral he bungled expeditions to Cadiz and La Rochelle, and his diplomatic incompetence led him to become the House of Commons' 'grievance of grievances'. At the age of 36 he was assassinated by a fanatic while in Portsmouth. This portrait, which shows him in his garter robes, almost certainly commemorates his installation as a Knight of the Garter in 1616.

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Handsome and ambitious, George Villiers became the most notorious of James I's favourites. He was a younger son from a minor Leicestershire gentry family and caught the king's attention during a hunt at Apethorpe in Northamptonshire. Opponents of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, saw an opportunity to replace him with Villiers in the king's favour and secured Villiers' appointment as Royal Cupbearer. He flourished and was elevated by the king with astonishing speed through the ranks of the aristocracy, being made Duke of Buckingham in 1623. He became one of the king's leading ministers but was widely regarded as corrupt and extravagant, and although his influence continued under Charles I, he was blamed for a number of military failures while serving as Lord High Admiral he was assassinated in Portsmouth in 1628 by a soldier who had served under him in France. This portrait celebrates Villiers' installation as a Knight of the Garter and elevation to the peerage in the summer of 1616, which was an important indication of his intimacy with the king. His luxurious robes are drawn back to focus attention on his legs, and he wears the garter, bearing the Order's motto Honi soit qui mal y pense ('Shame be he who thinks evil of it'), below his left knee.

This splendid portrait has undergone some changes. Acquired by the Gallery with the background curtains painted green, it was so displayed until 1985, when close examination revealed fragments of paint of the present colour which under analysis proved to be the original. Skilfuly restored to its full glory, by removing the green paint and matching the garments, we can now enjoy the voluptuous splendour of its original colour scheme.

George Villiers was the most notorious of James I&rsquos favourites: men admired by the King, with whom he developed what some regarded as unhealthily close and dangerously dependent relationships. Handsome and charming, Villiers was promoted rapidly at court and as a duke and one of James&rsquos leading ministers, he had considerable power. An effective administrator in some areas and a knowledgeable collector of art, he was widely regarded as corrupt and extravagant, and was blamed for various military failures. He was assassinated by a disenchanted soldier at the age of thirty-six.

William Larkin (d.1619) was one of the most accomplished portrait artists of the Jacobean period. He and his studio painted a large number of dramatic full-length portraits, often including spectacular textiles, as well as more intensely focused head-and-shoulders portraits. Buckingham is depicted here in his lavish robes as a Knight of the Garter.


Meet the English nobleman who may have been King James’ boyfriend

What it’s about: Born in England in 1592 as the son of a “minor gentleman,” George Villiers may have gone through life as merely a handsome rich guy, had he not attracted the notice of James I (also called James VI, as he was the king to unite the Scottish and English crowns, and was the sixth King James of the former, and first of the latter). Villiers was a favorite of the king, and shot through the aristocratic ranks, becoming a knight, baron, viscount, earl, marquess, and then duke in rapid succession between ages 21 and 30. (The title of duke had been retired some time earlier, so this promotion made Villiers the highest-ranking person outside the royal family.) His close relationship with the king sparked speculation, then and now, that the two men were lovers, despite the 26-year age gap.

Biggest controversy: As James heaped title upon title upon Villiers, he also gave him jobs of increasing importance at court. At age 21, members of the court pushed for Villiers to become Royal Cupbearer, hoping he would supplant the King’s previous favorite, Robert Carr . (He did). The following year, Villiers was knighted and named Gentleman Of The Bedchamber . (There’s nothing ambiguous about the name of the role, which was to serve in intimate duties like helping the king dress.) A year after that, Villiers became Master Of Horse and a Knight Of The Garter . The year after that he was made an earl, and the year after that he was named Lord Admiral Of The Fleet. And that’s when the trouble began.

In 1623, after becoming the official Duke Of Buckingham, he was charged with helping arrange the Prince Of Wales’ (the future Charles I ) marriage to Maria, the Spanish Infanta. The plan collapsed, and “Buckingham’s crassness” may have been the cause. The Spanish ambassador insisted Buckingham be executed for his (unspecified here) behavior, but Villiers called for war on Spain instead. He tried to shore up relations with France by betrothing Charles to Henrietta Maria, King Henry IV’s youngest daughter, but the idea of the English king marrying a Catholic was wildly unpopular. To make things worse, Villiers gave military aid to France’s Catholic Chief Minister, Cardinal Richelieu , against his Protestant enemies, in return for help attacking Spain.

That attack failed—an attempt to burn down Spain’s main port was aborted when the sailors captured a warehouse full of wine and got drunk instead of attacking. The Spanish fleet escaped a planned ambush. And Villiers had to retreat from a naval skirmish he fought alongside the French. He blamed Richelieu, and soon sided against him and with the French Protestants he had only recently been fighting against. Through the whole mess, Villiers’ popularity with the English people plummeted, although he never lost the support of James or Charles.

Strangest fact: We don’t know for certain whether Villiers and James I were lovers because of 17th-century England’s love of flowery prose. Our ideas on masculinity have changed dramatically in the last 400 years. It wasn’t uncommon for platonic male friends of the era to speak and write of their friendship in ornate language that, in modern times, would only be used for a romantic overture, and even then seen as a bit much. The King ended a letter to Villiers with, “God bless you, my sweet child and wife.” The Duke responded, “I naturally so love your person, and adore all your other parts, which are more than ever one man had.” Apparently we weren’t doing “phrasing” in 1623.

Thing we were happiest to learn: Villiers was quite a patron of the arts , commissioning paintings (including two Rubens ), financing plays, and buying collections of rare books (including the first book in Chinese to be donated to Cambridge’s library). However, a good deal of his patronage seems to be self-serving—the play he financed was an anti-Spanish satire he intended as propaganda. And the paintings he commissioned were mostly of himself, looking regal, in an attempt to impress and remind people of his standing.

Thing we were unhappiest to learn: Villiers was corrupt as all get-out. He almost immediately used his various positions of influence to “prodigiously enrich his relatives.” He had his friend Francis Bacon appointed Lord Chancellor, but threw him under the bus when Parliament investigated the bribery and “financial peculation” the two men engaged in.

Villiers also abused Britain’s habitual abuse of Ireland, selling Irish titles, controlling Irish customs (the import/export kind, not the step-dancing kind), and prolonging England’s plantation policy (more on that in the next section) for his own financial gain. Twice, Parliament tried to impeach Villiers, but in both instances, he convinced the King to dissolve Parliament for ostensibly unrelated reasons.

Three years after James’ death, Villiers (still supported and employed by the new king, Charles I) was stabbed to death by John Felton , an army officer who had been wounded in one of Buckingham’s campaigns, and believed he had been passed over for a promotion unfairly. Villiers was so disliked by that point that Felton was a national hero, even after he was hanged for murder.

Also noteworthy: Britain’s plantation policy toward Ireland had devastating short- and long-term effects. While ruling over the Emerald Isle, Britain seized property from Irish landowners and gave it to English settlers, creating an English, protestant ruling elite, and an Irish population who were essentially serfs who weren’t allowed to own land in their own country, and in some cases weren’t even allowed to rent it as tenant farmers. At one point, less than 10 percent of the island was owned by Irish Catholics, and Parliament once proposed moving the entire Irish population to the western third of the country, an idea that failed only because of a lack of willing English settlers to re-fill the other two-thirds.

As it is, so many Irish were forced out of the northern part of the country, mostly to be replaced by Scots, that upon Irish independence, those Protestant-majority counties remained part of the U.K., which led to partition of the island and a 30-year guerrilla war .

Best link to elsewhere on Wikipedia: So, back to Villiers’ job as Gentleman Of The Bedchamber . From 1650 to 1837, it was an official office, usually held by a member of the peerage (according to the timeline here, the positions seems to have originated with Villiers, although his own page doesn’t mention that). Duties included attending to the king when he ate in private, helping him dress, and insuring he wasn’t disturbed while asleep or using the bathroom. As unglamorous as this all sounds, it was a sought-after position, as it naturally made the office-holder a close confidant to the monarch. But just so we’re clear on how unglamorous it was, it was quickly combined with an older title, the Groom Of The Stool , who was, as Wikipedia delicately puts it, “responsible for assisting the king in excretion and ablution,” although in practice, the Groom Of The Stool acted more as the king’s personal secretary.

Further down the Wormhole: Villiers was a notorious figure in both history and fiction. He’s met Doctor Who (in 2002 audio drama The Church And The Crown , not the TV series), has appeared in numerous historical fictions of the era (most recently in Howard Brenton’s 2010 play Ana Bolena), and shows up as a character in Les Trois Mousquetaires , known to American audiences as The Three Musketeers. The book describes him as “the favourite of two kings, immensely rich, all-powerful in a kingdom which he disordered at his fancy and calmed again at his caprice,” and called his life, “one of those fabulous existences which survive, in the course of centuries, to astonish posterity.” No less astonishing was the life of the book’s author, Alexandre Dumas , the grandson of a slave, the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, and one of the most widely read French author of all time. We’ll hear his story next week.

Host of the podcast Why Is This Not a Movie? His sixth book, The Planets Are Very, Very, Very Far Away is due in fall 2021. He tells people he lives in New York, but he really lives in New Jersey.


English Historical Fiction Authors

Katherine Manners was the daughter of Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland and Frances Knyvett. After the death of his first wife Rutland married Cecily, the daughter of Sir John Tufton, who bore him two sons who died in apparently mysterious circumstances which were the centre of a notorious witchcraft case. Their deaths resulted in Katherine becoming the heir not only to the Knyvett property from her mother, but also to the unentailed estates in Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.

Portraits of Katherine show her to have been a rather plain woman, but doubtless her inheritance more than made up for her lack of beauty, and Buckingham and his mother opened negotiations. However, there were complications: Rutland was a Roman Catholic and the king would only permit his favourite to marry a Protestant, therefore pressure was brought to bear upon Katherine to abandon her religion. Rutland may well also have heard the talk and speculation about the exact nature of King James’s intense relationship with his handsome young favourite the Earl was often at court and must have witnessed the very public display of kissing and caressing. The amount of dowry demanded, too, was exorbitant and Rutland was offended. The negotiations floundered, but Buckingham and Mary’s solution to the deadlock was a plan which reflects badly on them both.

In March 1620 Mary visited the Countess of Rutland in the absence of the Earl, and invited Katherine to dine with her, promising to bring her back home before night-fall. It has been commonly assumed that the invitation was to Mary’s Leicestershire home at nearby Goadby Marwood. However, Mary brought the innocent girl to her lodgings at the Gatehouse in Whitehall. Even worse, Katherine stayed overnight, and so did her suitor, despite the fact that his own lodgings were within walking distance. The next day Katherine was returned home, but her outraged and furious father refused to receive her at Belvoir. The fact that Buckingham had also slept under the same roof ensured that Katherine’s reputation was ruined. Rutland was now forced into the position of insisting that Buckingham marry his daughter to save both her and the family’s honour.

The affair caused great scandal and despite Buckingham’s importance, the marriage did not take place at court with the usual lavish and lengthy entertainments, instead the couple were married privately in 1620, witnessed only by the Earl and the King.

The Buckinghams lived a lavish life-style, but it seems clear that this was not the fairy-tale life which Katherine had imagined. Perhaps she had unrealistically believed that Buckingham would leave his life at court and devote himself exclusively to her, and in a bitter, reproachful letter in 1627 she told him that, ‘… there is none more miserable than I am, and till you leave this life of a courtier which you have been ever since I knew you, I shall think myself unhappy.’

Buckingham again outraged convention and stretched Katherine’s devotion to the uttermost when he travelled to Paris in May 1625 to escort England’s new Queen, Henrietta Maria, to her new home. The English favourite scandalised the French court by blatantly making love to the French Queen Anne of Austria, giving scant thought to his pregnant wife at home. The Duke’s obsession with Anne, which he did not try to disguise, must have caused Katherine great heartache, and he made determined attempts to see the queen again.

The evidence suggests that although Buckingham was never in love with his wife he nonetheless genuinely cared for her, and notwithstanding his inability to remain faithful, treated her well. When he discovered that Katherine had been ill, perhaps seriously, while he was in Madrid, he seems to have been genuinely alarmed, confessing his adultery and asking for forgiveness, and even telling her he would return home if she was still sick. Katherine was aware of her husband’s weakness, and comforted by his concern for her, she was able to be sufficiently magnanimous to tell him that he was a good man save for his one sin of "loving women so well."

The increasing attacks upon the Duke during the first three years of Charles I’s reign, and the attempts by Parliament to impeach him in 1626 caused Katherine serious alarm. The Duke survived because of the King’s deep attachment to him, but Katherine and his mother and sister were devastated to hear that Buckingham intended to command a naval expedition to La Rochelle to relieve the Protestant Huguenots in the summer of 1627. Such was Katherine’s distress that Buckingham promised her that he would not accompany the fleet, and she wrote to him several times reminding of his promise to her, telling him in one letter that, "I hope you will not deceive me in breaking yours, for I protest if you should, it would half kill me."

However, Buckingham lied and left without saying goodbye. When she realised that he had really gone, Katherine told him she could almost wish herself dead, but although she had failed to keep her husband at home, her letters indicate her continued attempts to control his behaviour.

Buckingham and Charles planned another attempt to liberate La Rochelle, but this time Katherine refused to allow him to quietly slip away, determinedly accompanying him to Portsmouth in August 1628. Fortunately she was still in her bedchamber when the Duke was stabbed to death by John Felton.

The Duchess returned to her Catholic faith after Buckingham’s death. The king, whose devotion to the Duke had matched her own, removed his beloved friend’s children from her care and had them brought up with his own children. Katherine again occasioned the king’s wrath when she married the Irish Randal MacDonnell, then Viscount Dunluce, in 1635 to general censure. Katherine’s second marriage was equally eventful but seems to have been a far more equal partnership, with Katherine playing a leading role. MacDonnell was deeply distressed when she died in November 1649.

Living through a time of political upheaval and the tumultuous events of the Civil War, Katherine Manners was fiercely loyal and passionately devoted to her two husbands, even to the extent of defying convention and incurring the displeasure of her father and the king to marry the men of her choice.

Pamela J. Womack is the author of Darling of Kings, published by Hayloft Publishing Ltd., an historical novel which tells the tragic story of the friendship between Charles I and George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham. She has also written An Illustrated Introduction to the Stuarts, published by Amberley Publishing Ltd. She is currently writing the Duke of Buckingham’s biography.


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