Duke of Buckingham

May 6th, 2015
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In June 1614, James I found himself in a difficult situation. Dissolving of the Parliament deprived the Crown of the possibility to obtain subsidies which were urgently needed to finance government expenses. Problems with the lack of money could have been solved with the marriage of Prince Charles to the Spanish Infanta Maria Anna, whose rich dowry would relieve the King of financial difficulties at least temporarily.

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Duke of BuckinghamThe rising star of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham In June 1614, James I found himself in a difficult situation. Dissolving of the Parliament deprived the Crown of the possibility to obtain subsidies which were urgently needed to finance government expenses. Problems with the lack of money could have been solved with the marriage of Prince Charles to the Spanish Infanta Maria Anna, whose rich dowry would relieve the King of financial difficulties at least temporarily. Any attempt at a rapprochement with Catholic Spain did immediately provoke a strong opposition of the "political nation". On the other hand, it is possible that James I considered the Spanish marriage a means of intimidation to the opposition and strengthening the power of the Crown. At the end of 1614, the King sent Lord John Digby to Madrid to discuss conditions of the wedding treaty. The project of dynastic union with the Spanish Habsburgs had strong supporters in the powerful Howard family.1 The royal favourite, Robert Carr, the Earl of Somerset, also expressed his support to this intention. The opposition was comprised of a large group of nobles and clergy, which was connected both by their religious sentiments and political objectives. The key actors were the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot and William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, a strong supporter of popular anti-Spanish policy and an uncompromising defender of Protestantism.2 In this situation, the anti-Spanish faction l

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