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Stafford, Henry, 2d duke of Buckingham

Henry Stafford, 2d duke of Buckingham, 1454?–1483, English nobleman. He was the grandson of Humphrey Stafford, the 1st duke, whom he succeeded in 1460. He passed the death sentence on George, duke of Clarence, in 1478, but it was not until the death (1483) of Edward IV that Buckingham achieved political prominence. Though married to a sister of Edward's widow, Elizabeth Woodville, he joined Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III) in taking custody of the young Edward V from the queen mother and figured largely in the political plot by which Richard seized the throne. He was given enormous power, especially in W England and Wales, but soon, for reasons not clear, he rebelled against Richard, intending to place Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) on the throne. His army, gathered in the west, was prevented from advancing by floods of the Wye and Severn rivers and soon dispersed. He went into hiding, was betrayed by one of his retainers, tried as a traitor, and beheaded. It has been suggested that, as constable of the Tower of London, Buckingham, rather than Richard III, was the probable murderer of the two princes held in the Tower.

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Buckingham, Henry Stafford, 2nd duke of

Buckingham, Henry Stafford, 2nd duke of (1455–83). Buckingham came from a staunchly Lancastrian family. His father was killed at the first battle of St Albans, just before he was born: his grandfather (from whom he inherited the title), was killed at Northampton when he was 6. He could expect little favour from the Yorkist establishment. Edward IV's death opened the door. Allying himself with Richard of Gloucester, the two dukes swept to power in the summer of 1483. With Gloucester crowned as Richard III, Buckingham, lavishly rewarded, looked well set. Yet within four months he joined dissident southern gentry in rebellion. Betrayed to the king, he was summarily executed at Salisbury on 2 November. Buckingham's volte-face remains an enigma. He may have been converted to Henry Tudor's cause; he might have judged that he was again joining the winning side; or he might even have had his own fantasies about the crown. His behaviour suggests that Edward IV had correctly judged him to be dangerously untrustworthy.

Anthony James Pollard

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