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William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk (1396 - 1450)

William was the leader of the dominant faction in Henry VI's court in the 1440s, and played a key role in the disastrous plan to take Fougeres from the French in 1449. He was made a scrapegoat for the losses here and in Normandy in 1447. He was also blamed for loss of trade with Burgundy. Parliament sent him to the Tower of London in 1450 on a treason charge. Among other things, he was charged with planning to place his son on the throne by arranging his betrothal with Margaret Beaufort, the direct descendent of John of Gaunt.

Henry declared William innocent, but nevertheless banished him for five years. William escaped a lynching in London, but the ship that was taking him to his banishment was intercepted by his enemies. Suffolk met his end by execution with a rusty sword.

The losses in France weren't the only reason Suffolk was so despised. He was seen as a favourite of the King and Queen, and "had his ear" as such. Richard Duke of York, who was a rival of Suffolk, despised the man for this. He also had Humphry Duke of Gloucester arrested, and the Duke died in captivity. Many suspected William engineered his death.

On top of all this, William was made a Duke, and he didn't even have any royal blood!

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