Henry Howard's mother was the daughter of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, intermittently the Lord High Constable of England ‘eminent for his high blood, and large revenue’. Her father and the example of her mother, Eleanor Percy, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland, who had refused to help Richard III on Bosworth Field, remained the transfiguring forces of the duchess' life — certainly as she suffered the breakdown of two marriages, that of her beloved mistress Queen Catherine and then her own. Born in 1497, Elizabeth Stafford entered the Tudor court at twelve as lady-in-waiting to the new Queen Catherine. This was a normal age for any young courtier, male or female, to begin what would become a lifelong series of encounters and service at the centre of the Tudor world.
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