William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby

William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby

William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby (1561 – 29 September 1642) was an English nobleman.

He was a son of Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby and Lady Margaret Clifford. His mother was heiress presumptive of Elizabeth I of England from 1578 to her own death in 1596.

His maternal grandparents were Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland and Lady Eleanor Brandon. Eleanor was the third child of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor. Mary was the fifth child of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York.

He married Elizabeth de Vere, daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Anne Cecil. The latter's maternal grandparents were William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and his second wife Mildred Cooke. Mildred was the eldest daughter of Anthony Cooke and his wife Anne Fitzwilliam. They had five children:
*James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby (31 January 160715 October 1651).
*Robert Stanley (d. 1632).
*Anne Stanley, Countess of Ancram (d. 1657). Married first Sir Henry Portman and secondly Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Ancram.
*Elizabeth Stanley. Died young.
*Elizabeth Stanley. Named after deceased older sister. Died young.

hakespearean authorship question

It has been suggested by proponents of the Shakespearean authorship question that he is the true author of William Shakespeare's works. One of the chief arguments in support of this proposition is a pair of 1599 letters by the Jesuit spy George Fenner in which it is reported that Derby is "busy penning plays for the common players." His 1578 experience in the Court of Navarre, it has been claimed by Abel Lefranc, is reflected in "Love's Labour's Lost." His older brother Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby formed a group of players which evolved into the King's Men. It is possible that the first production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was performed at his wedding banquet.

Derby was also closely associated with William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke and his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery and Later 4th Earl of Pembroke, the two dedicatees of the 1623 Shakespearean folio. Circa 1628-29, when Derby released his estates to his son James, who became the 7th Earl, the named trustees were Pembroke and Montgomery.

External links

* [http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/WilliamStanley(6EDerby).htm A biographical article on him]
* [http://link.library.utoronto.ca/reed/patron.cfm?PeopleListID=480 Stanley's patronage of theater and/or music: "Patrons and Performances Web Site"]

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