The Hon. Lady Dorothy Stafford

Lady Dorothy Stafford

Lady Dorothy Stafford Born: 1526, Died: September 23, 1603; interred St. Margaret's Cemetery, London, England at Westminster. At St. Margaret's Church at Westminster there is a special monument to Lady Dorothy Stafford.

She married Sir William Stafford Aft. Jul 1543

Dorothy was the daughter of Ursula Pole (1504-1570) And Baron Henry Stafford (1501-1563); Henry was the son of Edward Stafford the 3rd Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521) and Eleanor Percy (died: 1530) who was the daughter of Henry Percy, The Earl of Northumberland (b. 1421) and Eleanor Poynings. Ursula was the daughter of Richard Pole, the Duke of Suffolk and Margaret Plantagenet, The Countess of Salisbury, Ursula's brother was Cardinal Richard Pole.

Two of Lady Dorothy's grandparents were judicially murdered by King Henry VIII Her paternal grandfather was Edward Stafford the 3rd Duke of Buckingham -Murdered for political reasons- and her maternal grandmother was Margaret Plantagenet Pole, The Countess of Salisbury. Margaret was the last of the Plantagenets -Murdered for religious reasons- ,her son and Lady Dorothy's uncle was Cardinal Reginald Pole, he later served as the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor.

Lady Dorothy is important because of the fact that she was the second female in Stafford family history to successfully carry on the Stafford family bloodline without losing the Stafford Surname. Dorothy married a distant cousin who was also a Stafford, Sir William Stafford, a knight who served in the personal guard of King Henry VIII, William was also the King's brother-in-law since William's first wife was Mary Boleyn with whom he had no children who survived beyond infancy; thus there were no Stafford descendents from her, William and Mary did have a baby girl, who as historians stated, died before she was named.

The first female to carry on the Stafford family bloodline was Millicent de Stafford (1155-1214), she married a man named Hervy Bagot, a knight who legally changed his name to Stafford at the time of the wedding with the permission of King Richard the Lion Hearted.
It is important for a clear understanding of Stafford family history to note that Lady Dorothy's maternal grandmother, Margaret Plantagenet Pole, The Countess of Salisbury (Margaret is officially named Blessed Margaret by the Catholic Church as a martyr for the faith.) was judicially murdered for religious reasons and not political reasons, the reason for the killing of many of the male members of the Plantagenet family was precisely for political reasons, because the paranoid and psychotic Tudor family knew their claim to the throne was weak.

Margaret was the last of the Plantagenets and allowed to live as long as she did to the age of 72, precisely because she was a female. No one at the time seriously thought that a female would ever claim the throne of England. So King Henry VIII did not see her as being a political threat to his throne. However, when Mary Tudor assumed the throne of England as queen after the death of King Edward VI Tudor. At this point everyone's perspective changed regarding who was eligible to claim the throne by right of ancestry; Lady Dorothy Stafford as the granddaughter of both Edward Stafford, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Margaret Plantagenet Pole, could easily trace her ancestry back to Norman English royalty (King William the Conqueror) and Saxon English royalty (King Alfred the Great) as well as the royal houses of virtually every nation in Europe with the possible exception of Greece, she could easily trace to such notables as Charlemagne, Englands King Edward III , several Roman Emperors as well as Mark Anthony and Julia II Caesar, ( sister of Julius Caesar, the famous dictator) and King Priam the King of ancient Troy and his wife Queen Hecuba of Phrygia, Turkey through their son-in-law , Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome who married Priam's daughter Creusa.

When Mary Tudor assumed the throne of England, (her hold on the throne was very weak and tenuous and day to day survival was a difficult task for a variety of reasons.)
Sir William Stafford protected his wife Lady Dorothy and their children whose lives were all in danger from Queen Mary Tudor and fled into exile into the relative safety of a Protestant community of English expatriates in Geneva, Switzerland where they became close personal friends with the famous religious leader John Calvin ,which later proved to be a serious problem.

Sir William accompanied by his wife Lady Dorothy Stafford, his children, his sister, a cousin and his servants went into exile out of fear of Queen Mary Tudor, they settled in Geneva, Switzerland in March 1554, being known there as Lord Rochford. He soon became embroiled in its disputes and on returning there after the uprising of 1555 he was nearly killed there.

When the English congregation made up of English expatriates was set up in Geneva, he joined it. John Calvin the famous religious leader insisted that Sir William's youngest son John (born in Geneva, Switzerland in the year 1556) be baptized immediately and his son John was the first of the congregation to be baptized on January 4 1556, with John Calvin himself standing as godfather.
Sir William Stafford died in Geneva during that same year on May 5, 1556. But the Privy Council was unaware of this when 10 days later it ordered that no payment of money by exchange or otherwise was to reach Sir William.
Lady Dorothy was widowed and left virtually destitute. At that time John Calvin claimed custody of Dorothy;s son John as his right as godfather and forbade Lady Dorothy to leave Geneva Switzerland with him. She appealed to Sir William;s younger brother and the threat to invoke French aid persuaded John Calvin to yield. She then managed to temporarily escape to Basle, Switzerland; remaining there until January 1559. She returned to England with her children through aid provided by Queen Elizabeth Tudor probably at the request of Dorothy;s father.

Baron Henry Stafford who was serving the Queen as a Courtier at the time. The Queen recognized Lady Dorothy as a relative, the wife of her Uncle Sir William Stafford whom she knew when she was a child.

Queen Elizabeth Tudor was extremely secure in her position as monarch and had no fear of the Stafford or Plantagenet pedigree. So Dorothy and her children were safe and secure in the Queen;s household. Lady Dorothy Stafford was immediately honored by the Queen who recognized and honored Dorothy in her court as a Lady in Waiting. She was known as ;Lady of the bed chamber; the Queen and Dorothy became close friends and Dorothy served as a trusted confidante.
Lady Dorothy Stafford was later given the distinct title of Mistress of the Robes. Dorothy served the Queen faithfully in that position for 40 years. Dorothy died one year after the death of the queen.

Below is a scan of a page of the Plantagenet Roll of the blood Royal.