His paternal grandparents were William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Alice Chaucer. Suffolk was an important English soldier and commander in the Hundred Years' War, and later Lord Chamberlain of England. He also appears prominently in William Shakespeare's Henry VI, part 1 and Henry VI, part 2.
Alice Chaucer was a daughter of Thomas Chaucer and Maud Burghersh. Thomas was the Speaker of the British House of Commons on three occasions, Chief Butler of England for almost thirty years, attended fifteen parliaments and was Speaker of the House five times, a feat not surpassed until the 18th century.
Thomas was a son of Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife Philippa (de) Roet. Geoffrey was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat (courtier), and diplomat. He is sometimes called the father of English literature. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. He is also credited by some scholars with being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin.
Following the death of his older brother at the Battle of Stoke, Edmund became the leading Yorkist claimant to the throne. Nevertheless, Henry spared his life and allowed him to succeed as Duke of Suffolk in 1491. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Richard Scrope. The headstrong Edmund did not have his father's pragmatism, and a title was not enough for him. He left the Kingdom of England in 1501, this time seeking the help of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. He drew others such as Sir James Tyrrell into his intrigue. He himself escaped punishment until the reign of King Henry VIII of England, and was executed in 1513.