Buckingham, George Villiers, 2d duke of

Buckingham, George Villiers, 2d duke of,

1628–87, English courtier; son of the 1st duke. Brought up with the royal family and educated at Cambridge, he was a strong royalist in the English civil war. In 1648 he escaped to the Continent, where he became a privy councillor of the exiled Charles IICharles II,
1630–85, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660–85), eldest surviving son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Early Life

Prince of Wales at the time of the English civil war, Charles was sent (1645) to the W of England with his council,
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. He accompanied Charles to Scotland in 1650 and fought at Worcester (1651), but later intrigues with Oliver CromwellCromwell, Oliver
, 1599–1658, lord protector of England. Parliamentary General

The son of a gentry family, he entered Cambridge in 1616 but probably left the next year.
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's government estranged him from Charles. In 1657, Buckingham returned to England and married Mary, the daughter of the Puritan general Thomas Fairfax of CameronFairfax of Cameron, Thomas Fairfax, 3d Baron,
1612–71, English general. He was the son of Ferdinando Fairfax, 2d Baron Fairfax of Cameron (1584–1648), whose title he inherited and under whom he fought in the
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. He hoped thereby to recover his estates, which had been confiscated in 1651, but instead he was imprisoned until 1659. After the Restoration (1660) he regained the favor of Charles II and was one of the most powerful courtiers of the reign. Vain and ambitious, he was known for his recklessness, quarrelsome temper, and lack of principle. He was a member of the CabalCabal
, inner group of advisers to Charles II of England. Their initials form the word (which is, however, of older origin)—Clifford of Chudleigh, Ashley (Lord Shaftesbury), Buckingham (George Villiers), Arlington (Henry Bennet), and Lauderdale (John Maitland).
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 and a bitter rival of his fellow minister, the earl of ArlingtonArlington, Henry Bennet, 1st earl of,
1618–85, English statesman. He fought for the royalists in the English civil war and, after going into exile, served as an envoy in Spain for the future Charles II.
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. He was furious when he was kept in ignorance of the provisions of the secret Treaty of Dover (1670) with Louis XIV. Attacked by the House of Commons for misusing public funds and conducting secret negotiations with France and by the House of Lords for his open liaison with the countess of Shrewsbury (whose husband he had killed in a duel in 1668), he was dismissed from office in 1674. He joined the enemies of the duke of York (later James II) and participated vigorously in the outcry against Roman Catholics in the furor over Titus OatesOates, Titus,
1649–1705, English conspirator. An Anglican priest whose whole career was marked with intrigue and scandal, he joined forces with one Israel Tonge to invent the story of the Popish Plot of 1678.
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's Popish Plot (1678), although he had earlier been much in favor of religious tolerance. He did not vote for exclusion of the duke of York from succession to the throne, however, and in 1684 was restored to favor and retired from politics. Buckingham patronized science and literature, had refined tastes, wrote poetry, religious tracts, and plays, and dabbled in chemistry. He was producer and partial author of a celebrated satire on heroic drama, The Rehearsal (1671; ed. by Montague Summers, 1914).


See biographies by H. W. Chapman (1949) and J. H. Wilson (1954).

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