Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham

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Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham as played by Steven Waddington

Born February 3, 1478 - executed May 17, 1521 by order of Henry VIII

Character's backstory: The eldest son of Sir Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Katherine Woodville. Through his father he was descended from Edward III's sons, John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock, and his mother was a sister of Edward IV's queen consort, Elizabeth Woodville who afterwards married Henry VII's uncle, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford. Therefore, the Duke was related to King Henry in more than a few ways. Edward's father was attainted and executed for rebelling against King Richard III on 2nd November 1483. However, the attainder was reversed on Henry VII's accession to the throne and Buckingham was placed under the wardship of Lady Margaret Beaufort (Henry VIII's grandmother).
[See: ANCESTORS of the King]

In 1495, Buckingham was made a Knight of the Garter and he was given many ceremonial roles at court. This continued after the accession of Henry VIII with Buckingham acting as Lord High Steward at the King's coronation in 1509 where he also carried the crown. He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1509 and also fought in the campaign against the French in 1513.

Through the marriages of his children, Buckingham had wide connections within the nobility making him a potentially powerful political force. This resulted in him becoming a leader for the disaffected nobles who were unhappy with the growing influence at court of low-born men, in particular Cardinal Wolsey.

Henry VIII was both jealous and suspicious of Buckingham due to his wealth, lands and royal blood. In 1521, Buckingham was arrested and tried for treason. He was accused of listening to prophecies of the King's death and his succession to the throne and for expressing an intention to kill the King. The Duke was tried before 17 peers although the charges were probably false and Henry had already decided on the outcome. Buckingham was executed at Tower Hill on 17th May 1521 and was posthumously attainted in July 1523.

Gentility: Duke, Nobility

Position: Lord High Steward, Lord High Constable, Knight of the Garter

Personality type: a leader of the disaffected nobles excluded from high office.

Signature look: An impressive figure, Stafford has the look of a fighter about him. Stern, dark eyes.

Endearing trait(s):

Annoying trait(s): Pride of his royal bloodlines. Resented Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to his detriment.

*There is no historical evidence that Buckingham's hands had to be held out or that he did not die with dignity as the series depicts.

Edward Stafford as played by Steven Waddington

...You few that loved me,
And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
His noble friends and fellows,
whom to leave
Is only bitter to him, only dying,
Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me,
Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
And lift my soul to heaven.
Lead on, o' God's name.


Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham coat of arms

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The fate of an Overmighty Subject
The Duke of Buckingham was brought to the bar [in 1521] sore chafing and sweat marvelously ... The Duke of Norfolk as a judge said, 'Sir Edward, you have heard how you be indicted of high treason, you pleaded thereto not guilty, putting yourself to the peers of the realm, the which have found you guilty' : then the Duke of Norfolk wept and said, 'You shall be led to the king's prison and there laid on a hurdle and so drawn to the place of execution, and there to be hanged, cut down alive, your members cut off and cast into the fire, your bowels burnt before you, your head smitten off, and your body quartered and divided at the king's will, and God have mercy on your soul'... Alas that ever the grace of truth was withdrawn from so noble a man, that he was not to his king in allegiance as he ought to have been, such is the end of ambition, the end of false prophecies, the end of evil life and evil counsel.
~ Hall's Chronicle of Henry VIII [edited by Charles Whibley, Vol 1, pp 225 - 6]


Family Members:
Father: Sir Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
Mother: Lady Katherine Woodville (sister of Queen consort to Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville)
Brother: Sir Henry Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire
Brother: Humphrey Stafford (died young)
Sister: Lady Anne Stafford, Countess of Huntingdon (in the series Anna Buckingham is portrayed as his daughter who had a dalliance with Charles Brandon - in history it was Sir William Compton. She was also rumoured to be a mistress to King Henry.) see also : Mistresses of the King
Sister: Lady Elizabeth Stafford, Countess of Sussex

Lady Eleanor Percy, daughter of Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland and Lady Maud Herbert.

Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford
(married the daughter of Lady Salisbury, Lady Ursula Pole; had issue.)
Lady Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk (married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, had issue including Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey)
Lady Catherine Stafford (married Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland, had issue.)
Lady Mary Stafford (married George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny, had issue.)


Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (his son-in-law, whom he tries but fails to recruit into his conspiracy)

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (whom he resents for his ignoble birth)
Charles Brandon,1st Duke of Suffolk (for having an affair with his daughter - in the series not in reality)
King Henry VIII, who had him executed because of his claim to the throne




  • (after spilling rose water on Wolsey's shoes) "I apologize if I've done anything to offend... His Majesty."

  • When he walks in on Charles Brandon and his daughter having an affair.
  • When he practices how he will kill Henry VIII.
  • When he plans to stab Henry VIII and ends up failing and getting executed.
  • Being the first major character to be executed.


Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham - The Tudors Wiki
Edward Stafford,Duke of Buckingham
Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham - The Tudors Wiki
Edward Stafford
Edward Stafford

Edward Stafford
Thornbury Castle
Thornbury Castle was built in 1511 by Edward Stafford, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham.
Henry VIII later stayed in the castle with Anne Boleyn. The castle is now a hotel.

See also: The Tudors Cast | The Tudors Episode Guide