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Courtenay, Edward, 11th earl of Devon

Courtenay, Edward, 11th earl of Devon (1526–56). Courtenay spent more than half of his life in the Tower. He was son of Henry Courtenay, marquis of Exeter, and a great-grandson of Edward IV. When Courtenay was 12, he and his parents were sent to the Tower. His father was accused of treason against Henry VIII and executed. Edward Courtenay was attainted in 1539 and not released until Mary succeeded in 1553. His mother was a confidante of the queen and Courtenay had got to know Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, while they were in the Tower. He was received with great favour, restored to the earldom, and made KB. Handsome, catholic, and of royal blood, he was talked of as a possible husband for Mary. The suggestion was not preposterous: in similar circumstances Darnley won the throne of Scotland twelve years later. But Mary heard reports of debauchery and turned to Philip of Spain. Courtenay then transferred his hopes to Princess Elizabeth and was implicated in Wyatt's rising in 1554. He was sent back to the Tower, released in 1555, but died the following year abroad.

J. A. Cannon

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