Mary Villiers, Duchess of Buckingham
Mary was the daughter of Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron, and his wife Anne. She was baptised at St Mary Bishophill Junior, York, on 1 August 1638. During the 1650s, she was tutored by Andrew Marvell.
Mary was to have married Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield, but developed a preference for Buckingham, whom she married on 15 September 1657 at Bolton Percy, following his return from exile. It has been suggested that Buckingham's pursuit of Mary was part of a scheme to regain possession of his father's former London residence, York House; Fairfax, who had been given the house, went along with this. Buckingham remained under suspicion by the government, and was placed under house arrest a few weeks later. After escaping, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London until his father-in-law, Fairfax, arranged his release in February 1659.
The couple had no children. The duchess was made a Lady of the Bedchamber to Catherine of Braganza, queen of Charles II of England, and held the position from 1663 until 1692. In the course of their marriage, Mary tolerated her husband's mistresses and was called "a most virtuous and pious lady, in a vicious age and Court". In 1668, after fatally wounding Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury, in a duel, Buckingham set up house with his widow, Anna, and Mary Villiers was obliged to return to live with her parents until the liaison ended in 1674.
- G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 395.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 130–131.
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