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Cecil, Thomas, first earl of Exeter (1542–1623), courtier and soldier, was born in Cambridge on 5 May 1542, the eldest son of William Cecil, first Baron Burghley (1520/21–1598), and his first wife, Mary (c.1520–1544), sister of John Cheke. His mother died when he was less than two years old and he never seems to have aroused any affection in his puritanical stepmother, ...

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Thomas Cecil, first earl of Exeter (1542–1623) by unknown artist, c. 1610 The Burghley House Collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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William Herbert, first earl of Pembroke (1506/77–1570) by unknown artist, 1567 Collection of the Earl of Pembroke and Trustees of Wilton House Trust, Wilton House, Salisbury, UK

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Herbert, William, first earl of Pembroke (1506/7–1570), soldier and magnate, was the second son of Richard Herbert (d. 1510) of Ewyas, a gentleman usher to Henry VII, and his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea. His paternal grandfather was ...

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Manners, Henry, second earl of Rutland (1526–1563), courtier and soldier, was born on 23 September 1526 and baptized after 24 December at Elsinges Manor, Enfield, Middlesex, the eldest son of five sons and six daughters of Thomas Manners, first earl of Rutland (c. 1497–1543)...

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Radcliffe, Robert, fifth earl of Sussex (1573–1629), soldier and courtier, was born on 12 June 1573, the son of Henry Radcliffe, fourth earl of Sussex (1533–1593), and his wife, Honor (d. 1593), daughter of Anthony Pound of Farlington, Hampshire. His birthplace is unknown, though it may well have been ...