The Lancastrian forces at Northampton were nominally under the command of King Henry VI. Henry had been born the son of King Henry V in 1421, which made him 39 at the time of the battle. He was only nine months old when he inherited the crown of England from his father. He grew up to be a kindly and devout man, but his childish nature and simple mind made him a weak king. Henry slipped into periodic bouts of insanity which made his grip on government even less secure.
Henry was no more fit to lead an army than to rule a kingdom, so real command fell to Humphrey Stafford Duke of Buckingham, the most experienced diplomat and commander at the battle. Born in 1402, Buckingham was 58 when he drew up his men outside Northampton. Through his mother, Buckingham was a great grandson of King Edward III, yet another royal relative active in the Wars of the Roses. His father had died when he was barely a year old, leaving him the title of Earl of Stafford and a handsome income of £1260 a year, not bad when the average worker would get a penny a day. He was knighted in 1421 and became a Privy Councillor to the infant Henry VI in 1424. In 1430 he went to Normandy to take part in the fighting against the French and although he did not have an independent command, he did gain valuable experience of the business of war.
from "The Battle of Northampton" by Rupert Matthews.
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