Northampton, Henry Howard, earl of

Northampton, Henry Howard, earl of

(nôrthămp`tən), 1540–1614, English courtier; son of the poet, Henry Howard, earl of Surrey; member of the powerful HowardHoward,
English noble family. Landowners in Norfolk from the 13th cent., the Howards obtained the duchy of Norfolk through the marriage of Sir Robert Howard to Margaret Mowbray, daughter of Thomas Mowbray, 1st duke of Norfolk.
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 family. His public career under Elizabeth I was marked by a charge of intrigue with Mary Queen of Scots and imprisonment (1583–85) for suspected heresy and treason. He attached himself to Robert Devereux, 2d earl of Essex, at the height of that nobleman's ascendancy, as well as to Essex's enemy, Robert Cecil (later earl of Salisbury). James I made Howard a privy councilor (1603), earl of Northampton (1604), and lord privy seal (1608). He became (1612) the king's principal minister on Salisbury's death. He supported the divorce of his grandniece, Frances Howard, from the 3d earl of Essex, and was responsible for the imprisonment of Sir Thomas OverburyOverbury, Sir Thomas,
1581–1613, English author and courtier. He was a friend and adviser to Robert Carr, an Oxford acquaintance. The two quarreled violently when Overbury disapproved of Carr's marriage to Frances Howard, divorced wife of the earl of Essex.
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, although presumably not for his murder.
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