Dudley’s Last Letter to Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth kept the last letter Robert Dudley had written her prior to his death in her bedside treasure box — the letter was still there when she died over a decade later.

Last Letter from Dudley

I most humbly beseech your Majesty to pardon your poor old servant to be thus bold in sending to know how my gracious lady doth, and what ease of her late pain she finds, being the chiefest thing in the world I do pray for, for her to have good health and long life. Form my own poor case, I continue still your medicine and find that amends much better than any other thing that hath been given me. Thus hoping to find perfect cure at the bath, with the continuance of my wonted prayer for your Majesty’s most happy preservation, I humbly kiss your foot. From your old lodging at Rycote, this Thursday morning, ready to take on my Journey, by Your Majesty’s most faithful and obedient servant,

R. Leicester

Even as I had writ thus much, I received Your Majesty’s token by Young Tracey.

Robert Dudley c. 1588


Elizabeth I: The Armada Portrait, c1588, unknown artist.



Elizabeth l History

11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I think she sacrificed her own happiness to become a leader of her own country. I think to call her anything less then ‘king’ was silly. Where was it written that king meant a man and queen a woman. That’s where all this queen’s consort business got so confusing. A leader is a leader.
    A president of a nation can be of either sex. Sovereign ruler can be of either sex in most nations now. That title is where all the problems originated from. Should have come up with a unisex title that implied that you were leader of your nation when Elizabeth 1 came to the throne. Hard enough to rule without a partner to lean on every once in a while. Too bad she felt she had to deny herself that privilege. I think she would have been happier.
    Every woman is a little nervous and scared about pregnancy, especially in her time where postpartum infections and deaths were a common occurrence. It’s a shame and would have been a great game changer in history if she had chosen to marry and have children or a legitimate heir to the throne.

  2. I also believe she feared childbirth, also by getting married she would be giving some of her power away . She was smart enough to realize that any man, King or Prince , who wanted to marry her was really after her throne and that included Robert Dudley. An amazing woman for her time

  3. I believe that she feared childbirth. After all, women did not have any easy time during that period with pregnancies and birth. Plus, once she married, her advisors would have nagged her constantly to birth a prince or two. This was not what she wanted to do.

    • I agree with you, but I also think she feared having a prince and becoming replaceable much like her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Since the nobles forced her, some say at knife point, to step down with her infant son being crowned and the country being run by the privy council.

  4. Too bad that they couldn’t have gotten married. I don’t think that Queen Elizabeth, trusted anyone enough to give that kind of power away.

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