Amazon Kindle, UK

Sunday, 28 August 2011

George Villiers: 1st Duke of Buckingham, Lover of King James I and VI

b. Aug 28, 1592

d. Aug 23, 1628

George Villiers

George Villiers was the son of a Leicestershire knight. Introduced in the court in 1614, when he was 22, he caught the eye of James I, and soon became his favourite and was his lover for more than 10 years.James I, after an enquiry about his relationship with Viliers, declared to the Parliament:

"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 John, and I have George."

The unpopularity of George Villiers with parliament can be seen as part of the long-term reasons for the English Civil War, which was to change the position of the British monarchy forever. When he was about to sail again for La Rochelle George Villiers was stabbed to death by a discontented soldier, John Felton, at Portsmouth.

In 1615 George Villiers became a gentleman of the King's bedchamber and shared the King's bed. James bestowed upon his love the titles of knight. In 1617 George Villiers was made a privy councillor and Earl of Buckingham. In 1619 he was made Lord High Admiral. In 1620 he married the daughter of the Earl of Rutland. Finally in 1623 he was made Duke.
Villiers was ineffective in his duties because of his fear that his favoured position may be usurped by some new appealing young man. He failed to arrange the mariage of prince Charles and the Infanta of Spain (1623), and on returning to England negotiated Charle's alliance with Henrietta Maria, sister to the French king. During James I's declining years Charles and George Villiers formed an alliance and effectively ran the country. When James I died George Villiers retained and extended his influence. However, he was becoming increasingly unpopular, particularly after the failure of an expedition against Cadiz. Following Charle's accession, Buckingham attemped to form a Protestant coalition in Europe, which led to war with France, but he failed to relieve the Protestants besieged in La Rochelle (1627). His policy was attacked in parliament, he was four times imprisoned in the Tower of London.

No comments:

Post a Comment