In 1670, on this day a gang led by the well-known ruffian Thomas Blood murdered James Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormonde (pictured) while riding in his carriage in central London.
Eminence GriseWhile driving up St James's Street, Ormonde was attacked by Blood and his accomplices who dragged the Duke out of his coach, took him on horseback along Piccadilly and hung him at Tyburn. His son the Lord Ossory publically accused the inveterate schemer Duke of Buckingham of being the eminence grise behind Blood's gang. To settle this matter of honour, Buckingham, a noted duellist, answer this question with the inevitable challenge.
Even though he strongly disapproved of the King's Catholic sympathies, he was a childhood friend of Charles with whom he still enjoyed close ties. And many of his dirtier deeds had actually been performed on the King's behalf, enabling the Crown to distance itself from these most disreputable actions. But the plot exposed by Lord Ossory was far stranger.
From 1649 to 1650 Lord Ormonde was the leading commander of the Royalist forces fighting against the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. In the 1650s he lived in exile in Europe with Charles II of England. Upon the restoration of Charles II to the British throne in 1660, Ormonde became a major figure in English and Irish politics, holding many high government offices. During 1670, he discovered that the Duke of Buckingham had pretensions to succeed the childless monarch (Charles' wife Catherine of Braganza bore him no offspring even though he admitted to twelve illegitimate children). This was confirmed when the Duke referred to himself as a "Prince" before dying from the shot from Lord Ossory's duelling pistol1.