James Butler, Earl of Ormonde

The Earl of Ormonde had been identified and groomed by Thomas Wentworth as a potential successor and as someone who would defend the Royalist cause in Ireland. Ormonde would go on to demonstrate that loyalty in the turbulent decade of the 1640s which saw the king and Parliament fight with one another. He was the Commander of government forces at the time of the Irish rebellion in 1641 and managed to hold on to the seat of government in and around Dublin. However, as England descended into Civil War, he found himself isolated and with the prospect of few reinforcements to deal with the Confederate insurrection. He had to turn to diplomatic means to maintain relevancy to the political scene in Ireland during that decade. Negotiations with the Confederates came close to securing added rights to the overwhelmingly Catholic population of the island, but offended Protestant settlers and the English Parliament which later felt obliged to send an army under Oliver Cromwell in 1649 to end the Royalist/Confederate alliance once and for all. The Earl of Ormonde fled to Europe to join the Stewart Royal Court in exile. His loyalty to Charles I was rewarded by Charles II when he was restored to the throne in 1660 with offices and favour - including the Chancellorship of Trinity College in Dublin.

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by Stephen Luscombe