Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby
Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby KG (September 1531 – 25 September 1593) was a prominent English nobleman, diplomat, and politician. He was an ambassador, Privy Counsellor and participated in the trials of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Earl of Arundel.
Born in Lathom, Henry was the eldest son of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby and his second wife, Lady Dorothy Howard. His maternal grandparents were Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his wife Agnes Tilney (1478–1545), daughter of Hugh Tilney of Boston and Eleanor Tailboys.
He was married on 7 February 1555 to Lady Margaret Clifford. She was the only surviving child of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland and Lady Eleanor Brandon. The marriage took place in a chapel of the Palace of Whitehall and was attended by Queen Mary I of England and her consort Philip of Spain. They were relatives of the bride through her maternal grandmother Mary Tudor, former queen consort of France.
Henry and Margaret had four children in the next eight years, but then quarrelled and generally lived apart thereafter. From about 1570 he lived with Jane Halsall of Knowsley, with whom he had a further four children.
He was appointed ambassador to the court of Henry III of France in 1580. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1585. He was among the chief officials of the trial of deposed Scottish monarch Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1586.
Henry and Margaret were parents to four children:
- Edward Stanley. Died young.
- Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby (c. 1559 – 16 April 1594).
- William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby (c. 1561 – 29 September 1642).
- Francis Stanley (b. 1562). Died young.
Henry was also father to at least four illegitimate children by Jane Halsall of Knowsley:
- Henry Stanley, for whom provision was made in the form of land at Ormskirk and at Broughton.
- Thomas Stanley, the younger illegitimate son, who received an estate in Kirkby.
- Ursula Stanley, who married John Salusbury (d. 1613); the son of Sir John Salusbury and Katheryn of Berain. Ursula and John had four sons and three daughters. Ursula and her husband may be the ideal couple celebrated in Shakespeare's poem The Phoenix and the Turtle.
- Dorothy Stanley, who married Sir Cuthbert Halsall (d.1632), MP for Lancashire in 1614 
|Ancestors of Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby|
- John Burke and John Bernard Burke. http://www.burkes-peerage.net
- "Henry Stanley (1531–1593)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26272. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. p. 70. .
- Barry Coward. The Stanleys: Lords Stanley and Earls of Derby 1385–1672, Manchester University Press, 1983, p.31. Google eBook
- Sir John Bernard Burke and John Burke. A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England, Scott, Webster, and Geary, 1838. pg 471. Google eBook
- John Klause, "The Phoenix and the Turtle in its Time", in Gwynne Blakemore Evans (ed), In the Company of Shakespeare: Essays on English Renaissance Literature, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2002, p.207.
- http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/halsall-sir-cuthbert-1573-1632[bare URL]