chapter  2
28 Pages

1616— 18: ‘Marks of extraordinary Affection’

The new year, 1628, opened auspiciously for Buckingham, for on 30 January Kate gave birth to a boy. The baby was named George, after his father, and the King and Theophilus Howard, Earl of Suffolk, were present as godparents. It was as well that Buckingham had this happiness in his private life, for in public affairs there was little or nothing to comfort him. La Rochelle was under siege from the French king, and unless it received prompt English assistance was unlikely to hold out. The supplies intended for La Rochelle were in fact almost ready, and Buckingham offered Soubise the command of the fleet. Soubise, however, was not willing to risk his reputation with a squadron that consisted of only seven merchant vessels and half a dozen warships, so Buckingham appointed his brother-in-law, Denbigh, to command it. Buckingham, as Lord Admiral, took charge of the difficult task of increasing Denbigh's fleet.