Yesterday’s results were very close, with John Morton barely edging out Edward VI, and Thomas More sliding by Jane Seymour. Today’s contest features a mixed-bag of participants. Without any further ado, the match-ups for your voting pleasure!
Master Plotter vs. the Queen’s Favorite: Henry Stafford vs. Christopher Hatton
Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
Date: September 4, 1455 – November 2, 1483
Strengths: Stafford was a master plotter, and perhaps a player of the “long game.” Initially, he was a leading supporter of Richard III, and assisted him in taking the throne. He played a major role in the disappearance of the famous Princes in the Tower by arranging for Edward V and his brother to be arrested and declared illegitimate. A short time later, however, he was already plotting against Richard III. Scholars debate whether or not Stafford planned to claim the crown as his own.
Weaknesses: Upon the rumor that the princes were dead, Stafford declared for Henry Tudor. He raised an army, but after a demoralizing storm, his forces deserted. Stafford attempted to escape by disguise, but was captured, declared a traitor, and sentenced to beheading.
Manner of death: Beheaded
Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor of England (and the Queen’s “mouton”)
Date: 1540 – November 20, 1591
Strengths: Hatton was one of Elizabeth I’s favorites. He played a role in some of the more delicate matters of her reign, including the handling of John Stubbs and William Parry, the French marriage, the conviction of Anthony Babington, and he was also one of the commissioners who found Mary, Queen of Scots guilty. He also knew how to keep his Queen happy: in 1584, he led over 400 kneeling members of the House of Commons in a prayer for the Queen’s safety.
Weaknesses: Despite basking in the monetary gains that the Queen’s pleasure brought him (and despite the profits he made from Francis Drake’s “privateer” exploits), Hatton ended his life penniless due to constructing Holdenby House, the largest privately held house in England at the time.
Manner of death: natural
Bishop vs. Prince: Nicholas Ridley vs. Arthur Tudor
Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of Rochester, one of the three Oxford Martyrs
Date: 1500 – October 16, 1555
Strengths: Like many who adopted the new Protestant faith in its earliest days, Ridley displayed a great deal of nerve in going up against the Roman Catholic Church. He became favored by Thomas Cranmer, and was most famously involved in the Vestments Controversy during Edward VI’s reign.
Weaknesses: Upon Edward’s death, Ridley signed the letters patent declaring Jane Grey to be Queen. He also preached a sermon against Mary and Elizabeth Tudor’s legitimacy. Unsurprisingly, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London when Mary I was proclaimed Queen. Along with Thomas Cranmer and Hugh Latimer, he became one of the Oxford Martyrs.
Manner of death: Burned at the stake (slowly)
Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales
Date: September 20, 1486 – April 2, 1502
Strengths: As Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s eldest son, Arthur was meant to inherit the crown of England. Believing that he descended from the Arthur of Arthurian legend, Henry VII named his child after the legendary king and insisted that Arthur would usher in a new Camelot era. Things initially seemed promising – Arthur was groomed for royal service, and married to Katherine of Aragon, the child of Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.
Weaknesses: Arthur died before he could be measured as a king. His death had long-reaching effects – his widow married his brother, Henry, and thus set the stage for Henry VIII’s “Great Matter.”
Manner of death: natural