George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, attributed to William Larkin, and  studio of William Larkin, circa 1616 - NPG 3840 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

attributed to William Larkin, and studio of William Larkin
oil on canvas, circa 1616
81 in. x 47 in. (2057 mm x 1194 mm)
Given by Benjamin Seymour Guinness, 1952
Primary Collection
NPG 3840

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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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Current affairs

Playwright, William Shakespeare, dies in Stratford-Upon-Avon on 23rd April, after he contracted a fever. He is buried days later inside Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.
James I's second son, Charles, is invested as Prince of Wales at a lavish ceremony at Whitehall.

Art and science

Poet and playwright Benjamin Jonson, is granted a royal pension effectively establishing him as the first poet laureate in all but name.
Queen Anne commissions Inigo Jones to design a pavilion at Greenwich, the Queen's House.


Sir Walter Ralegh, released from prison, begins planning an expedition to Guiana in search of El Dorado. With established Spanish settlements in the area, Ralegh's expedition unsettled the court which sought lasting peace with Spain.
The Catholic Church places Nicolaus Copernicus's De revolutionibus, 1543, on its list of prohibited books.

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Laurie Pettitt

03 March 2017, 12:10

To say that he was assassinated by a fanatic is as far away from the truth possible.
He started out as King James' 'toy boy' and was responsible for the deaths of many brave Soldiers and Sailors. On one of his expeditions to assist Elizabeth and Frederick of the Palatinate, he failed to realise that a Protestant army would not be allowed to disembark into Catholic Ports, to fight a Catholic Emperor. The men starved to death on board ship and their bodies thrown onto the shores of Holland to be eaten by pigs.
Fenton was no fanatic and even though the Royals would like us to see George as misguided, Fenton did the World a favour by ridding it of Buckingham.

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