George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers was born in Brooksby, Leicestershire, in 1592. He became a close friend of James I who nicknamed him "Steenie" (a reference to St. Stephen whom in the Bible describes as having the "face of an angel").

The king arranged for him to hold several posts including Gentleman of the Bedchamber (1615), Master of the Horse (1616) and Lord Admiral (1619). In 1623 Villiers became the Duke of Buckingham. Later that year he persuaded the king to declare war on Spain.

When James I died in 1625 his son Charles became king. He also greatly admired Buckingham and he continued to have influence over the monarchy.

Buckingham was guilty of corruption and he used his official posts to enrich himself. Several attempts were made to get him dismissed, however, he continued to be protected by the king and in 1627 his main critic, Sir John Eliot, was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Buckingham's reputation was further damaged by the disastrous attempts to aid the Huguenots at La Rochelle in 1627. The following year George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was assassinated while in Portsmouth by an army officer, John Felton.

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