Elizabeth de Vere Stanley, Countess of Derby

Is your surname de Vere?

Research the de Vere family

Elizabeth de Vere Stanley, Countess of Derby's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Elizabeth de Vere, Lady

Also Known As: "Elizabeth de Vere", "Elizabeth Vere"
Birthplace: Theobalds House, Hertfordshire, England
Death: Died in Richmond, Surrey, England
Place of Burial: Westminster Abbey, London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Anne de Vere, Countess of Oxford
Wife of William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby
Mother of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby; Robert Stanley; Elizabeth Stanley; Anne Portman; Katherine Stanley and 2 others
Sister of Bridget Norris; Susan de Vere, Countess of Montgomery and Frances Cecil de Vere
Half sister of Edward deVere-Vavasour and Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Elizabeth de Vere Stanley, Countess of Derby

Elizabeth de Vere, Countess of Derby, Lord of Mann (2 July 1575 – 10 March 1627) was an English noblewoman and the eldest daughter of Elizabethan courtier, poet, and playwright Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

She was the Lord of Mann from 1612 to 1627, and prior to holding the title, she had taken over many administrative duties appertaining to the Isle of Man's affairs. Elizabeth was the first female to rule as the island's Head of state.

She served as a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I of England before her marriage to William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. It has been suggested that the occasion of their wedding was the inspiration for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and that the play was first performed at the couple's wedding festivities.[1][2]

Lady Elizabeth was born on 2 July 1575 at Theobalds House, Hertfordshire, the eldest surviving daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Anne Cecil, the daughter of statesman William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Queen Elizabeth I's chief advisor and leading member of her Privy Council. Anne's mother was Baron Burghley's second wife, Mildred Cooke. Elizabeth was baptised on 10 July.

As Elizabeth's birth had occurred while her father was abroad touring the Continent, upon his return to England, he accused her mother of adultery and separated from her on those grounds. They were later reconciled in January 1582 when Elizabeth was acknowledged as her father's child.[3]

Elizabeth had two younger sisters, Lady Bridget and Lady Susan. Her brother, Lord Bulbecke had died in 1583 as an infant, and she had another sister, Frances who died in 1587. She also had an illegitimate half-brother, Edward by her father's notorious affair with Anne Vavasour, the Queen's Lady of the Bedchamber. The birth of this child in March 1581, caused the arrest of both her father and his mistress.

Following the death of Anne Cecil on 5 June 1588, Elizabeth and her sisters remained in the household of their maternal grandfather, Baron Burghley where they received an excellent education. In 1591, Elizabeth's father married secondly, Elizabeth Trentham who gave birth to a son Henry, who would later succeed as 18th Earl of Oxford.

Lady Elizabeth went to court where she served as one of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honour.[4] She held this position until her marriage.

In 1591, her grandfather proposed a marriage between Elizabeth and his ward, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. When the latter refused the match, he was fined £5,000.[4] Baron Burghley soon found her another husband.

On 26 June 1594[5] at Greenwich Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth and the royal court, she married William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, making her the Countess of Derby. It was alleged that William Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream for the occasion of their wedding, and that the play was first performed at the wedding banquet. In the early years of their marriage, the couple's relationship was tempestuous and there were persistent rumours that Elizabeth had had affairs with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Walter Ralegh.[6] The allegations concerning her relationship with Essex were particularly strong in 1596 and 1597.[4] Whether there was any truth in the rumours remains unknown.

They made their principal home at Knowsley Hall, and together they had five children:

  • Lady Anne Stanley (c.1600- February 1657), married firstly, Sir Henry Portman; secondly Robert Kerr, 1st Earl of Ancram, by whom she had issue.[7]
  • James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby (31 January 1607- 15 October 1651), married Charlotte de la Tremoille, by whom he had issue.[7]
  • Sir Robert Stanley (died 1632), married Elizabeth Gorges, by whom he had issue. His line eventually became extinct.[7]
  • Elizabeth Stanley (died young)
  • Elizabeth Stanley (died young)

Lady Elizabeth's portrait was painted on an unknown date by an artist whose name is not known.

Poet Henry Lok wrote a sonnet dedicated to Elizabeth, which was published along with Lok's other sonnets by Richard Field in 1597.

As the Earls of Derby were the hereditary heads of state of the Isle of Man, and Elizabeth's husband took up the title of Lord of Mann in 1609 (following an Act of Parliament), she, in lieu of her husband, began taking over many administrative duties appertaining to the Isle's political affairs. That same year she attempted to influence business on behalf of the Isle, and there is a letter extant, written on 15 September 1609 by Elizabeth to her uncle Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, regarding the shipment of money from the Isle of Man.[8] In 1612, Elizabeth was appointed the first female Lord of Mann, a title she held until her death in 1627. She was succeeded by her eldest son, James.

Elizabeth died on 10 March 1627 at Richmond, Surrey, and was buried the next day in Westminster Abbey, London. On her tomb, which she shares with her mother, grandmother, and sisters, is her effigy.


  • 1.^ Kathy Lynn Emerson, A Who's Who of Tudor Women, retrieved 18-12-09
  • 2.^ Honigmann, E. A. J. (1998), Shakespeare:the "lost years", Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-719-05425-9, http://books.google.com/?id=rKMWPwtV7BoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Honigmann%2BThe+Lost+Years&cd=1
  • 3.^ The De Vere Society
  • 4.^ a b c Emerson
  • 5.^ Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, 107th edition, 3 Volumes; Volume 1, p.1102
  • 6.^ Leo Daugherty, "William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby", Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • 7.^ a b c www.thePeerage.com
  • 8.^ 1609 Chronology 15 September 2009, retrieved on 18-12-09

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_de_Vere,_Countess_of_Derby

  • ________________
  • 'Lady Elizabeth de Vere1
  • 'F, #12938, d. 10 March 1626/27
  • Last Edited=11 Feb 2011
  • ' Lady Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Anne Cecil.1 She married William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, son of Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby and Lady Margaret Clifford, on 26 June 1594.3 She died on 10 March 1626/27.3
  • ' As a result of her marriage, Lady Elizabeth de Vere was styled as Countess of Derby on 26 June 1594. From 26 June 1594, her married name became Stanley.
  • 'Children of Lady Elizabeth de Vere and William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby
    • 1.Sir Robert Stanley+3
    • 2.Lady Anne Stanley+1 b. c 1600, d. c 12 Feb 1656/57
    • 3.James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby+3 b. 31 Jan 1607, d. 15 Oct 1651
  • Citations
  • 1.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 131. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2.[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • 3.[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1102. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • From: http://thepeerage.com/p1294.htm#i12938
  • _____________
  • 'Elizabeth Vere1
  • 'F, d. 10 March 1626
  • ' Elizabeth Vere was the daughter of Edward Vere and Anne Cecil. Elizabeth Vere married William Stanley, son of Henry Stanley and Margaret Clifford, on 26 June 1594. Elizabeth Vere died on 10 March 1626.
  • 'Child of Elizabeth Vere and William Stanley
    • ◦James Stanley+ b. 31 Jan 1607, d. 15 Oct 1651
  • Citations
  • 1.[S126] , 519.
  • From: http://www.charlemagne.org/p86.htm#i2834
  • __________________
view all 12

Elizabeth de Vere Stanley, Countess of Derby's Timeline

July 2, 1575
Hertfordshire, England
July 10, 1575
Age 20
Age 27
January 31, 1607
Age 31
Knowsley, Lancaster, England
Age 32
Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Age 37
Age 39
Derby, Derbyshire, England
Age 40