Katherine Villiers, Duchess of Buckingham
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Katherine Manners, Duchess of Buckingham, Marchioness of Antrim, 19th Baroness de Ros of Helmsley (died October 1649), also known as Catherine, was the daughter and heir of Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland. She was known as the richest woman in Britain, apart from royalty. She married George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, the favourite, and possibly lover, of King James I of England; and secondly, she married the Irish peer Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim and was briefly engaged with the Irish Catholic rebels.
Katherine Manners was the only daughter of Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland, by his first wife, Frances Knyvet (d. before 26 November 1605), widow of Sir William Bevill of Killigarth or Kilkhampton, Cornwall, and third daughter and coheir of Sir Henry Knyvet of Charlton, Wiltshire, by Elizabeth Stumpe, the daughter of Sir James Stumpe of Bromham, Wiltshire.
Katherine Manners was selected by the Countess of Buckingham to marry her son, George Villiers. However, Manners was a strict Roman Catholic, and the King refused to allow Villiers to marry her. In addition to this, the Earl of Rutland refused to accept the Countess of Buckingham’s demands for his daughter’s dowry. Manners converted to Protestantism, to satisfy the Villiers family, which almost caused her father to call off the marriage. Invited to visit the Countess of Buckingham, Katherine was forced to spend the night due to an attack of illness. Believing his daughter’s honor to be compromised, the Earl of Rutland refused to receive her back, and demanded that George Villiers marry her immediately. At this Villiers refused to marry her, but did a few weeks later, on 16 May 1620.
The Duchess of Buckingham was one of the few women of rank of the time whose gentleness and womanly tenderness, devotion and purity of life, were conspicuous in the midst of the almost universal corruption and immorality of the Court. No scandal was ever breathed against her name, and the worst that was ever said of her was that by her influence she at one time nearly persuaded her husband to become a Roman Catholic, she herself having returned to her own faith soon after her marriage.
Katherine's first husband, Buckingham, was murdered in 1628 by John Felton.
In 1635 she married Randal McDonnell, Earl of Antrim, and went to live at Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, Ireland.
Following the Catholic uprising in Ulster in 1641 the McDonnell family moved south to Wexford, then Waterford, where Katherine died in 1649.
- N.M.S. 1981.
- Knyvet, Henry (c.1537-98), of Charlton, Wiltshire, History of Parliament Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Cokayne 1949, p. 262.
- Stumpe, Sir James (by 1519-63), of Malmesbury and Bromham, Wiltshire, History of Parliament Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Manners, Francis". Dictionary of National Biography 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 49–50.
- William H., Shaw (1882). George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell. pp. 12–14.
- Cokayne, George Edward (1949). The Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White XI. London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 261–2.
- Loomie, A.J. (2004). "Manners, Francis, sixth earl of Rutland (1578–1632)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/17953. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- N.M.S. (1981). "Bevill, Sir William (c.1548-1600), of Killygarth, Cornwall". In Hasler, P.W. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603. Boydell and Brewer. Retrieved August 2013.
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|Baroness de Ros