Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley


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(c. 1505–53).

Dudley had a brilliant but brief career at the very top of Tudor politics. His father, Henry VII's financier Edmund Dudley, was executed in 1510. His mother Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Viscount Lisle, remarried in 1511. Her second husband, Arthur Plantagenet, was an illegitimate son of Edward IV and therefore an uncle of Henry VIII. John Dudley began as a soldier, made a reputation for jousting, was knighted in 1523, helped to put down the Pilgrimage of Grace, and became deputy governor of Calais in 1538. In 1542 he was made warden of the Scottish marches, served as lord admiral, was created Viscount Lisle in turn, and in 1544 captured Boulogne from the French. After the death of Henry VIII, he worked closely with Somerset, Edward VI's uncle, and was advanced to the earldom of Warwick. He fought alongside Somerset at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh against the Scots and crushed the Norfolk rebels in 1549 at Dussindale. From October 1549 he supplanted Somerset and for the rest of Edward's short reign held power as lord president of the council. In 1551 he was created duke of Northumberland. But Northumberland's position was rendered precarious by the growing ill‐health of the young king and in 1553 he turned to desperate measures to retain power. Northumberland arranged a marriage between his son Lord Guildford Dudley and Lady Jane Grey and on Edward's death declared her queen. The coup failed miserably and he was executed in August 1553 where his father had been.

Subjects: British History.

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