The Glory Of My Crown (Guest Post)

Guest article by Lindsey Wolf


November 30, 1601.

140 members of the House of Commons collected unceremoniously in the Council Chamber of Whitehall. Kneeling in respect of their sovereign who had ruled them for these past forty three years, they both heard and recorded what was to go down as Elizabeth’s “Golden Speech.” Additionally, it was to be her last address to Parliament at the age of sixty eight. Within its “Letters of Gold”, one could not only better understand the political and diplomatic aptitude of Her Majesty, but also her vivacious talent. She was an astute public speaker, knowing how to  rally her soldiers in defense of both the country and her crown. She was the figurehead of a cult-like following in homage to her as the Virgin Queen, solely wedded to her Kingdom. Elizabeth was also equally adept at striking the sentimentality of her populace. A people whose average lifespan was around forty two years meaning that many of her subjects had only known her as Queen. Long forgotten were the days of turmoil in the reign of her predecessor and sister and furthermore her brother. An even fewer amount could recall the reign of her notorious father who had died over 50 years prior to that fall day of 1601. It was a speech that would perfectly wrap up an incredible, unprecedented and productive reign. A reign which began in an old world and seemed to end in a new one. Inheriting a country whiplashed by religious wars and financially unstable, owing some £227,000 or £100,000 modern equivalent. Additionally, she had all the eyes of Europe upon her who saw her Kingdom as ripe for the picking.



Surely Elizabeth’s accomplishments could never be overstated. History often prefers  to recount the peaceful, triumphant and perfect patch of time under Gloriana rather than the truth of it. Elizabeth’s reign, like any other, had its highs and lows. Naturally it is only to be expected in such a lengthy lapse of time. Sadly, the great lows of Elizabeth reigns found themselves in the final decade of her rule. The 1590s had been beset with struggle at every turn; politically, economically and even personally. The sun had risen and was now falling in the reign and life of the Virgin Queen, but was that to reflect the state of her England? Without the blessing of historical retrospect, it must have surely seemed that way. Without further adieu, let us enter the world in which Elizabeth had delivered her “Golden Speech.” Let us examine how politically advantageous it was of her to reform her policies after years of economic struggle. Furthermore, how truly needed it was to remind her subjects of her love for them from past to present. A notion which sealed and capped her legacy in such a way that the modern audience has all but forgotten the landscape of when and why this speech was given.

Politically:

The Nine Years’ War or Tyrone’s Rebellion began in 1593 and ended in 1603. The rebellion was led by a man called Hugh O’Neill. The O’Neill clan is an ancient Irish family descended from the High Kings of Ulster in Northern Ireland. They held great political sway over both Ulster and all of Ireland as a result. They were well-respected and thought to be something like the King of Kings in their native Tyrone, all while England struggled to keep their foothold. Ireland had been left somewhat alone in the wake of the dynastic wars wreaking havoc through England. As a result, Henry VIII sought to reclaim what he felt was his just historical inheritance. This set the scene for the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 which allowed hereditary Kings and clans to trade in their former titles, recognize Henry’s supremacy and be given new Earldoms in return. At the risk of full out extermination, many complied. Including the O’Neill clan who surrendered their kingship of Tyrone for the Earldom of Tyrone. Of course it was never to be that easy. In addition to recognizing Henry as their liege lord; the Irish were also obligated to renounce their ties to Catholicism and embrace Henry’s new church. The Irish could no longer practice tanistry for passing on titles had to adopt primogeniture. Irish customs including dress and language were to go by the wayside as well. Needless to say, it was a little too much too soon.



Hugh O’Neill had become a ward of the crown after the assassination of his father. Hoping to foster loyalty to the crown, he had been held in court at London before returning home to claim his inheritance as Earl of Tyrone. He took advantage of his relationship with the crown to find his power but soon gained too much of it. All in all, the Irish wars were not only pricy and drained the royal treasury but also humiliating for the country who seemed unable to put it down all together. The Pope in Rome offered his support of the Irish cause against the Protestant Queen. Worse yet, The Spanish offered aid in troops and were determined to land a strategic grip on the land just 58 nautical miles from Dublin to the coast of Wales. Needless to say, it was an absolutely daunting concept which Elizabeth would not live to see the conclusion of. Hugh O’Neill and his forces surrendered on March 30, 1603. Six days after Elizabeth’s death.

In addition to the Lopez Plot in 1594 which saw Elizabeth’s own physician charged with high treason and executed accordingly, her court was dense in political strife. Cliques dominated and waged war against one another in the privy council and beyond. Elizabeth was known to be a great judge of character and much of her success is owed to this fact. Yet, she also became slower to recognize new courtiers to high positions and preferred to replace fathers with sons. After the death of William Cecil, he was replaced by his son, Robert Cecil in his father’s seat of principle advisor. In much the same, Francis Bacon earned his place at Elizabeth’s side due to his father’s position as Lord Keeper. However, this created a tide of dissension amongst the younger courtiers who felt themselves ripe for the picking but not being recognized for their talents. The leader of this opposing faction would be none other than the stepson of the late great Robert Dudley, Robert Devereux.



Additionally, in 1595, England was attacked for the first time by hostile forces in form of the Spanish. Years prior, Spanish forces had taken root in Northern France and constructed a power base. They’d make landfall along the coast of Cornwall where three towns were sacked and burned. The Spanish were a constant threat. They did not merely go away to lick their wounds following the defeat of the Armada as that was but the first of two. Those latter attempts would ultimately be wrecked by storms at sea.

Economically:

In Elizabeth’s reign, the population of England rose from three million to four. Simply put, there were more children being produced and those children were living longer. Additionally, this required vast resources to feed a growing population though the harvest failed each year from 1594 to 1597. This lack of goods drove up the prices of what did exist which in turn drove inflation. William Cecil, Lord Burghley would remark “the lamentable cry of the poor who are likely to perish by means . . . of the dearness and high price of corn.” From 1595 through 1597, there were riots across the country. In Somerset, Kent, Norfolk and most notably London. In 1595, approximately 1,000 apprentices collected in what was to be the biggest riot in London in 80 years. Amongst their complaints were rising food prices and the behavior of the wealthy in the wake of their despair. Five of the apprentices were charged with high treason and hung, drawn and quartered. Ironically, it is around this time that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was being penned with the possible reflection of London’s violent street brawls in its pages.

It is due to this economic decline that the populace began to take notice of the monopolies that made their lives even more difficult. During this period, The Queen would reward those around her with these taxes. From wine to playing cards to salt and starch. The monopolies ranged from creature comforts to downright necessities. Parliament reflected those worries in cutting some of the cumbersome tax from the back of English citizens but outrage amongst the remainder remained. Unknowingly, these monopolies were held as royal prerogative. Thus, when Good Queen Bes dismissed her own personal monopolies in her final speech to parliament, it was hardly an unprovoked or charitable act. It was an absolute necessity that had taken years upon years to conclude. Yet, you could still see it as an act of good faith considering the estate of her own personal finances due to the weighty decade. Elizabeth had previously climbed her way out of the debt left to her only to be rolled back into it due to factors far out of her control.

Additionally, The Black Death would return in 1592. Its presence would render 10,675 London inhabitants dead in all but one year. Its effect can be best seen when it caused a halt to one of Elizabethan England’s most favorited activity; the theatre. The globe was shut down for almost two entire years as the plague swept.

Personally:

Last but certainly not least, the matters of personal effect that plagued England’s Queen. Elizabeth’s long life was indeed admirable and great politically but not all those around her were to be so fortunate to share in its longevity. It was in the last decade of her reign that she’d see tragedy after tragedy, death after death. From her ladies including Margaret Radcliffe and Blanche Parry to her favorite courtiers. Sir Francis Drake, Francis Walsingham, William Cecil, Christopher Hatton, Henry Carey and of course, her last court favorite who died by the stroke of her own pen; Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.



Robert was the son of Walter Devereux and Lettice Knollys (the daughter of Catherine Carey, she herself being the daughter of Mary Boleyn and allegedly the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII) making him Elizabeth’s cousin. He was introduced to court by his stepfather, Robert Dudley and quickly made an impression. An expert courtier, Robert was handsome, charming, well spoken and ambitious. However, his ambition made him self-seeking, overly-confident and defiant. He was a soldier but his military campaigns often led to little to no productivity. He spent the better part of his time attempting to triumph over the Cecil family as the leader of his own faction. His grasp would extend his reach again and again as did his burden triumph over his usefulness. In 1596, he and his forces sacked and seized Cádiz, Spain and put him at the height of his fame with mostly the common people. A fame which threatened Elizabeth’s success with her own people. However, he’d fail during further campaigns against the Spanish and all eyes were turned towards the warfront in Ireland.

Despite his lack of respect for her, Elizabeth favored him. Be it his youthful and naive nature or his relation to her long lost Dudley, no one will ever know for certain. Yet, it seems this was the one man who threatened Elizabeth’s jurisdiction and prospered while doing it. Essex even went as far once to half draw his sword on his Queen in the privy council. Yet, instead of earning himself a free trip to the tower, he was sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. It was there that he led a subordinate and utterly disastrous campaign of his own making. Armed with 16,000 troops and orders to confront the rebellion in Ulster, Essex ordered his men to Southern Ireland. Furthermore, he met with O’Neill. Not on the field of battle but to negotiate a truce that was the humiliation of the crown. Hearing of the Queen’s displeasure, he abandoned his post and burst in upon the Queen undone in her private chambers. Once again, Bess took mercy upon him. Sentencing him to house arrest and revoking his monopoly, Essex was led into financial ruin. In defiance, he attempted to use his popularity against the Queen and lead a revolt of London. Like most other things to do with Essex, it failed and he was brought up on charges to high treason to later be executed.

It is well documented that Elizabeth’s own health had begun to fail her during this period. Bouts of melancholy plagued her. No doubt a result of deep self reflection upon her life, reign and decisions as a whole. One can only imagine the things that hung in the conscience of the elderly Queen. The execution of her royal cousin Mary Queen of Scots, the hardships of ruling which caused one to revolt against their own private morality, maybe even the possibilities of what could have been. Love, marriage, children. All exchanged for the love and longevity of her Kingdom which had left the fate of her country in the hands of a virtual unknown. A seemingly odd act of karma that the son of the woman whose death warrant she had signed, was now to succeed her most precious station beyond her.

 

In conclusion, the Golden Speech might have been the end of a golden reign but hardly a golden decade. One upon which surely the Queen was grateful to hand back to the ages. Despite her struggles and disappointments that would have hardened the hearts of so many, she remained the Queen that history records her as being. “Semper Eadem” or “always the same.” Despite wars, betrayal on both public and private fronts, age and tragedy; it was always this. This 68 year old woman was the same who had looked down the Armada and declared she too had  “the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England.” The same who had defied all odds placed against her from the very beginning and succeeded to a throne that was never meant to become hers. The same whose name rides triumphantly through the chronicles of history. Who gave her namesake for a period of time known for its national pride, literature, pomp and triumphant. While Elizabeth’s final parliamentary speech might not have been as innocent as many portray it to be, that does not weaken it. Neither in sentimentality or political value. So let us all hope to be as wily as Bess at the age of 68 with a little less to do with the stepsons of our deceased sweethearts.

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Sources:

SEA-DISTANCES.ORG – Distances, sea-distances.org/.

PLOTS AND REBELIONS, hfriedberg.web.wesleyan.edu/engl205/wshakespeare/plotsandrebelions.htm.

“Daily Life in the Elizabethan Era.”. “Daily Life in the Elizabethan Era.” Gale Library of Daily Life: Slavery in America, Encyclopedia.com, 2018, http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/daily-life-elizabethan-era.

Briscoe, Alexandra. “History – British History in Depth: Poverty in Elizabethan England.” BBC, BBC, 17 Feb. 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/poverty_01.shtml.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone.” Encyclopædia

Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 July 2018, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Hugh-ONeill-2nd-Earl-of-Tyrone.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 18 Feb. 2018, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Devereux-2nd-earl-of-Essex.

Donnchadha, Pádraig Mac. “Introduction of the Crown of Ireland Act 1542.” Your Irish Culture, Your Irish Culture, 21 Mar. 2017, http://www.yourirish.com/history/16th-century/introduction-of-the-crown-of-ireland-act-1542.

“Elizabeth I and Finances.” History Learning Site, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor-england/elizabeth-i-and-finances/.

“Elizabeth I’s ‘Golden’ Speech.” History Today, http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/elizabeth-golden-speech.

Hull, Eleanor. “Home.” Maria Edgeworth, 1 Jan. 1970, http://www.libraryireland.com/HullHistory/Henry2.php.

“Rebellion by London Apprentices in 1595.” The British Library, The British Library, 26 Jan. 2016, http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/rebellion-by-london-apprentices-in-1595.

“Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Devereux,_2nd_Earl_of_Essex.

 

The Armada is Coming (Guest Post)

by Heather R. Darsie

It was 29 June 1588. The Spanish Armada sailing in its customary crescent shape was spotted off the coast of Cornwall. After many years of waiting, the time had finally come: Spain was invading England to reclaim the country for Catholicism.

It is possible that Philip II, former brother-in-law to Elizabeth I previous suitor, began planning the invasion as early as 1584. What is certain is that Philip was amassing a fleet of ships in June 1585. At the time, Spain was experiencing a grain shortage. Through a temporary truce, Elizabeth and Philio agreed to let English merchant ships enter the Bay of Biscay to deliver grain. One such ship, the Primrose, was laden with over 100 tons of grain. In early June 1585, the Primroses cargo was being discharged onto the Spanish land via smaller ships shuttling back and forth between the Primrose and the area around Portugalete, Spain.

In the afternoon of 5 June 1585, a small vessel carrying what appeared to be seven Spanish merchants approached the Primrose and asked to come aboard. The Spanish were heartily welcomed aboard the Primrose, and treated to the best nautical hospitality possible. The Spanish merchants discussion was predictable. They asked about prices of goods, cargo. Discussed ships. At one point, one of the Spanish merchants inquired after the Primroses guns and munitions, and how they could be purchased. Suddenly, three or four of the merchants quickly left the Primrose. The lingering Spaniards left in due course. The whole interaction seemed suspicious to the English, who were then on guard.



The Spanish returned around 6:00 PM that evening with multiple dozens of men. Once the Primrose was even with one of the Spanish ships, a Spanish delegation boarded the Primrose. Soon after, the rest of the Spaniards scurried up the side of the English ship, intent on seizing it. Without hesitation, the English fought back. One Spaniard shouted, Yield yourself, for you are the Kings prisoner! before lunging at one of the English sailors. The English fought back with whatever they could get their hands on.

One of the more devilish defenses used by the English caught the Spanish completely by surprise. The Spanish had padded their doublets, but gave no thought to their hose or anything much below the waist. As the Spanish walked over hatch gratings, musket bullets boomed up from below and right into the Spaniards. They were not prepared for that sort of musket attack, and it was devastating.

The English managed to escape, but not without four prisoners. Upon returning to London a couple weeks later, the prisoners were interrogated. One of them was the Governor of Biscay, who led the attack. Found in the pocket of his hose was an order from Philip was a commission to assault and take control over the English grain fleet. The reason? According to the commission, it was because Philip needed as many ships as he could collect for the humongous armada he was assembling in Seville and Lisbon. He would also need soldiers, armaments, galley slaves, and provisions.

Later, when the threat of the Spanish Armada became more real, Elizabeth sent Sir Francis Drake in the Elizabeth Bonaventureto, impeach the purpose of the Spanish fleet and stop their meeting at Lisbon. Wasting no time, Drake and his men set sale for Cdiz on 12 April 1587. Elizabeth changed her mind a couple days later and send a ship after the Elizabeth Bonaventure to order Drake not to take military action. Of course, the Elizabeth Bonaventure was not truly meant to be caught, and so Drake operated under Elizabeths initial instructions.



Before arriving at Cdiz, Drake revealed to his officers that there was no genuine plan of attack. The time was right for the English to strike. It was the afternoon of 29 April 1587, and Drake was confident that the English could successfully take the Spanish by surprise. He was right.

The English swiftly entered the narrow Cdiz harbor and charged into the Spanish galleys deployed to greet the English attackers. Drake and his ships fired first, swiftly, and without preceding ceremony. The Spanish galleys, large ships better suited to calm Mediterranean winds and hand-to-hand combat, could not be defended against the faster, smaller English galleons. It was a massacre.

Triumphant, Drake returned home to England, but not before intercepting a Spanish treasure ship and claiming its goods for Elizabeth.

Of course enraged by the incident at Cdiz, Philip redoubled his efforts to create a massive armada to attack the English. By April 1588, the Spanish Armada was ready to sail. After false starts due to weather, the great fleet of warships was on its way to England.

On 29 July 1588, a portion of the Spanish Armada was spotted off the Lizard in southwestern Cornwall. Drake and Lord Admiral Howard, then stationed at Plymouth with Elizabeth Is navy, were duly informed. The intimidating Spanish ships waited, sails and rigging set for the ships to move. They were waiting for the other part of the fleet that had been blown off course to arrive. To make matters worse, the tide was coming in and the wind blowing southwest, which left the English ships trapped in Plymouth Harbor.

Once word reached Elizabeth, she moved to St. Jamess Palace for her own safety. The palace was built in the early 1530s by her father Henry VIII for her mother Anne Boleyn. Some of the fireplaces are still decorated with intertwined Hs and As. It was there, in the Chapel Royal with a ceiling decorated by Holbein, that Elizabeth prayed to God for the safety and deliverance of England.

Want to read more of Heather’s writing – check out her website at: Maidens and Manuscripts

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Sources & Suggested Reading

1. Walker, Bryce and the Editors of Time-Life Books. Seafarers: The Armada. Morristown, New Jersey: Time-Life Books, Inc. (1981).
2. Timms, Elizabeth Jane. The Chapel Royal, St. Jamess Palace. http://royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/the-chapel-royal-st-jamess-palace-102591 Posted 17 May 2018, Accessed 20 July 2018.
3. Johnson, Ben. The Spanish Armada. https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Spanish-Armada/ Accessed 19 July 2018.

Queen Elizabeth Artifacts

One of the most recognizable monarchs of all time is Queen Elizabeth I of England. Four hundred and fifteen years after her death she is still revered as one of the best monarchs in history. She reigned for forty-five years and her rule was known as the Age of Gloriana. Not bad for the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, eh?

On my Facebook page I love to share images of artifacts belonging to different monarchs of the time and that led me to creating this article for your viewing pleasure. Where I was able to obtain the proper credit information I listed below the image. These images cannot be used without permission from the proper source. I did my best to ensure that these images were sourced as accurately as possible. Please let me know if I have something sourced incorrectly.
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Gloves (Queen Elizabeth I gloves), 16th century

IDENTIFIER AKG5729536 SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES CREDIT LINEHeritage Images / Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford / akg-images



Queen Elizabeth I’s Cradle

Queen Elizabeth I’s cradle, (1896). Princess Elizabeth (1533-1603) spent much of her early childhood at the Royal Palace of Hatfield, Hatfield House.

IDENTIFIER: AKG5191288, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / akg-images



Queen Elizabeth Ring

Queen Elizabeth I Ring, c. 1560. Found in the collection of the Chequers Estate. The images inside the ring are of Elizabeth and her mother, Anne Boleyn.

IDENTIFIER: AKG5691178, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage Images / Fine Art Images / akg-images

Queen Elizabeth Cameo

Cameo carved with the portrait of Elizabeth I, c1575. The queen in profile, wearing a ruff. An example of the type often presented by the queen to favoured people. From the Cheapside Hoard, part of a goldsmith’s stock found buried beneath a floor in Cheapside, in the City of London.

IDENTIFIER: AKG4867764, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / Museum of London / akg-images



Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal

Queen Elizabeth I’s virginal, made in Italy circa 1570. Chromolithograph from an illustration by William Gibb from A.J. Hipkins, ‘Musical Instruments, Historic, Rare and Unique,’ Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, 1888. Alfred James Hipkins (1826-1903) was an English musicologist who specialized in the history of the pianoforte and other instruments. William Gibb was a master illustrator and chromolithographer and illustrated ‘The Royal House of Stuart'(1890), ‘Naval and Military Trophies'(1896), and others.

IDENTIFIER: AKG2002525, SOURCE:FLORILEGIUS, CREDIT LINE: akg-images / Florilegius



Queen Elizabeth Half Pound Coin

Elizabeth I Half Pound Coin. Dated 16th Century; akg-images / WHA / World History Archive,AKG5519928

Queen Elizabeth Coins

Elizabethan coins, (1896). Coins from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Illustration after the originals in the British Museum, London, from a work published by Boussod, Valadon & Co, (1896).

IDENTIFIER: AKG5191300, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / akg-imagesTIME PERIOD



Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth

Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth I, 16th century, (1896). Illustration after the original in the British museum, London, from a work published by Boussod, Valadon & Co, (1896).

IDENTIFIER: AKG5191309, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / akg-images

Wax Impression of Great Seal

Wax impression of great seal of Elizabeth I (incomplete), 1586-1603.

IDENTIFIER: AKG5729885, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage Images / Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford / akg-images



Queen Elizabeth Medal

Queen Elizabeth I medal, 16th century, (1896). Illustration after the original in the British Museum, London, from a work published by Boussod, Valadon & Co, (1896).

IDENTIFIER: AKG5191310, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / akg-images

Pearl Sword

The Lord Mayor’s Sword of State and Pearl Sword. The State sword originates from the mid-seventeenth century. The Pearl Sword was used according to legend, by Elizabeth I at the opening of first Royal Exchange in 1571.

From The Connoisseur Vol XLIV by [Otto Limited, London, 1916.] IDENTIFIER: AKG5247532, SOURCE: HERITAGE IMAGES, CREDIT LINE: Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / akg-images



Travel cutlery and bag of Queen Elizabeth?

Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Great Britain. Image copyright Lessing Archive

Elizabeth’s Saddle and Handkerchief at Warwick Castle

Image credit unknown



Elizabeth’s Funeral Effigy with Corset

Image Credit is Unknown (if you know please advise)

Elizabeth’s Dress

This is part of a dress that was given to Blanche Parry by Queen Elizabeth and was later turned into an altar cloth.

©Historic Royal Palaces/ St Faith’s Church Bacton



Essex Ring

Essex Ring – given to Robert Devereux by the Queen

Image Credit is Unknown (if you know please advise)

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Early Letter from Princess Elizabeth to Lady Knollys

Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys was the daughter of Mary Boleyn and William Carey. When Catherine’s cousin Queen Mary came to the throne they fled the country for fear they would be persecuted for their Protestant beliefs. This letter was written in 1553 making Elizabeth twenty years old. Elizabeth and Catherine always had a close relationship – is it possible because Elizabeth had a feeling they were sisters instead of cousins? We’ll never know for certain.

Relieve your sorrow for your far journey with joy of your short return, and think this pilgrimage rather a proof of your friends, than a leaving of your country. The length of time, and distance of place, separates not the love of friends, nor deprives not the show of goodwill. An old saying, when bale is lowest boot is nearest: when your need shall be most you shall find my friendship greatest. Let others promise, and I will do, in words not more, in deeds as much. My power but small, my love as great as them whose gifts may tell their friendship’s tale, let will supply all other want, and oft sending take the lieus of often sights. Your messengers shall not return empty, nor yet your desires unaccomplished. Lethe’s flood hath here no course, good memory liath greatest stream. And, to conclude, a word that hardly I can say, I am driven by need to write farewell, it is which in the sense one way I wish, the other way I grieve.

Your loving cousin and ready friend, COR ROTTO

Catherine came back to England in 1558 and served Queen Elizabeth as Chief Lady of the Bedchamber until her death in 1569.


 

Elizabeth, Queen of England (Part Six) – Two Queens, One Island

They were both female, both royal by birth and both queens in their own right, but being cousins is what caused the most havoc in the lives of these two women. I am of course speaking of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart.

It wasnt only the fact that the cousins practiced different religions but that one was declared illegitimate in 1536 after the execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn. Had Henry VIII legitimized both Mary and Elizabeth Tudor when he added them to the line of succession things may have turned out very different for Mary Stuart.

In this post I will not go into full detail on the cousins lives but will try to understand their relationship a bit better and show the differences in the two women.

On Facebook I asked the following questions:

Do you believe that Elizabeth truly saw Mary as a threat to her throne?Or was it her advisors who made her believe it?

Here are a few of the responses:

Lisa Pennington:”Mary was a clear threat because Mary wanted to depose and kill her! Elizabeth knew this too, but hesitated to execute a regnant Queen.”

Nora C Conley:”I think Mary may very well have been a threat but Elizabeth was also a tad bit paranoid. I think the backers of both women were the real problem. If Mary didn’t have a few powerful backers she would have hardly mattered at all.”

Gail Trusty:”I think it was complicated enough to be a female ruler. Two of them competing, unheard of in memory. The men wanted them gone. They got one to kill the other, and rendered the other infertile by making every one she chose to marry, not qualified. And they got the job done.”

Bethany Morris:”Elizabeth was not stupid. She knew she was a threat and learned information through her Advisors who of course knew that she had to make a choice over her life or risk her always being a threat. But that does not mean that she liked the choice in front of her. It weighed heavy on her conscience.”

Age When They Became Queen

Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland at only six days old, after the death of her father, King James V.

Elizabeth Tudor became Queen of England at twenty-five years old after the death of her sister, Queen Mary.

Elizabeth, nine years older than her cousin was Protestant, while the younger Mary was a staunch Catholic. Religion became the force between the two queens that would ultimately lead to the execution of Mary Stuart.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland & France

Mary Stuart had been of queen of two countries, by birth Scotland, and by marriage France. Mary wed Francis, the dauphin of France on the 24th of April 1558 at the cathedral of Notre Dame. Something not many people know is that Francis was given the crown matrimonial upon his marriage to the Scottish queen. This made him the King of Scotland. Upon hearing this the very powerful Hamilton family in Scotland joined the Protestants to oppose the decision to make Francis the King of Scots. The Hamiltons were heir apparent to the Scottish throne should Mary die without issue – they had a vested interest in the matter. In the two years the young couple were married the Scottish crown never arrived in France.

Mary Stuart, Queen of England

During the last illness of Queen Mary I of England in November 1558, the Valois family in France, or King Henry II to be more specific, saw Mary Stuart and his son Francis as the Catholic heirs to the throne of England. As stated earlier, Queen Mary was Catholic while her cousin Elizabeth was a well-known Protestant. As the great grand-daughter of King Henry VII, King Henry II of France had convinced the young Queen that it was her right to inherit the English throne should Queen Mary die.

It seems that the 15 year old Mary did not fully understand how her claims to the English throne offended her cousin Elizabeth. By allowing those around her to claim the title of Queen of England she would start a battle with England that would end with her execution.

Scotland 1560 & Treaty of Edinburgh

In 1560, while Mary was still in France, a Protestant and anti-France uprising threatened Marys Scottish throne. English intervention on the side of the insurgents and the death of Marys mother, Mary of Guise, led to the Treaty of Edinburgh. With this treaty the French agreed to withdraw their troops that had been stationed in Scotland and agreed to recognize Elizabeths right to rule England. This left Scotland in the hands of a coalition that supported Protestantism.

Mary refused to ratify the treaty which marked the end of the first stand-off between the two young queens: Elizabeth came out of it triumphant, while Mary was humiliated and incensed.

Mary’s Return to Scotland

Then in December 1560, Marys husband, a young man who had only been King of France for seventeen months died. The death of King Francis II left Mary a childless dowager queen of France. Catherine de Medici, a woman who practically raised Mary, made it clear that her home was in Scotland and not France. This must have been a scary time for Mary, she was just a child when she arrived in France and Scotland would seem foreign to her – her only choice was to return to her homeland.

Elizabeth, who had only been Queen of England for two years, was concerned about her Catholic cousins return. This was solidified by Marys refusal to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh. Because of this Elizabeth was furious and in turn refused Mary a warrant of safe passage through English waters upon her return from France.

In a conversation with the English Ambassador Mary is quoted as saying:

If my preparations were not so far advanced as they are, replied Mary, peradventure the queen, your mistress’s unkindness might stay my voyage; but now I am I am determined to adventure the matter, whatsoever come of it. I trust the wind will be so favorable that I shall not come upon the coast of England; but if I do, then, Monsieur l’Ambassadeur, the queen, your mistress, will have me in her hands to do her will of me; and if she be so hard-hearted as to desire my end, peradventure she may then do her pleasure and make sacrifice of me. That casualty might be better for me than to live; in this matter God’s will be done!

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

In the summer of 1565 things became more heated between the two cousins when Mary took as her second husband, her cousin (and Elizabeths), Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. This new marriage did not please Elizabeth because he was also considered a possible heir to the English throne…which as she saw it (and her advisors) was a threat to her rule and her life.

For those not familiar with Darnleys heritage: He was the son of Margaret Douglas who was the daughter of Margaret Tudor, dowager queen of Scotland and sister to Henry VIII. Henry Stuart was Elizabeths first cousin as well as first cousin of Mary Stuart. Henry VIII had excluded his eldest sisters family in the line of succession for an unknown reasons, but it could easily be because of the rocky relations between the two countries or Henrys fear that both countries, England and Scotland could be ruled by a Scot, or worse yet, a ruler from Europe.

By the following summer, the Scottish Queen became pregnant with who would later be King James VI of Scotland/James I of England. By this time Mary saw her husband for who he was: a drunk, womanizer and complete douchebag.

Mary, in her ever dramatic fashion, had never hid her misery about her second marriage to the enemies of her husband. She was even quoted as saying by Scottish historian David Calderwood that, unless she were quit of the king [Darnley] by one means or another, she could never have a good day in her life, and rather than that to be the instrument of her own death. — I love how dramatic all of Marys statements were.

The Aftermath of Darnley’s Death

Then in February 1567, Henry Stuart was found murdered after an explosion at Kirk o Field. He had previously fallen ill with either smallpox or syphilis, depending on who you talk to, and was suggested by Mary to recuperate at Kirk o Field before returning to court.

The night of Darnleys death, Mary was attending a wedding of a member of her household. When Darnleys body and that of his valet were found outside they were surrounded by a cloak, a dagger, a chair and a coat. Darnley was dressed in his nightshirt which had suggested that they fled his bedchamber in haste.

Suspicion soon feel on James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell and Mary herself. Mary had been rumored to have a romantic relationship with Bothwell and Darnley’s death seemed far too convenient for many.

In pop culture we often see Bothwell and Mary as a love story, but according to author, John Guy, the Earl of Bothwell never loved the Queen of Scots, he only loved the power she brought him. The fact that he dominated the couples relationship did not seem to bother Mary – she appeared okay with allowing him with all her cares, something her cousin Elizabeth would never allow.

After the death of Henry Stuart, Queen Elizabeth wrote her cousin a letter (from Westminster) that contained a warning:

Madame, my ears have been so deafened and my understanding so grieved any my heart so affrighted to hear the dreadful news of the abominable murder of your mad husband and my killed cousin that I scarcely have the wits to write about it. And inasmuch as my nature compels me to take his death in the extreme, he being so close in blood, so it is that I will boldly tell you what I think of it. I cannot dissemble that I am more sorrowful for you than him. O madame, I would not do the office of faithful cousin or affectionate friend if I studied rather to please your ears than employed myself in preserving your honor. However, I will not at all dissemble what most people are talking about: which is that you will look through your fingers at the revenging of this deed, and that you do not take measure that touch those who have done as you wished, as if the thing had been entrusted in a way that the murderers felt assurance in doing it. Among the thoughts in my heart I beseech you to want no such thought to stick at this point. Through all dealings of the world I never was in such miserable haste to lodge and have in my heart such a miserable opinion of any prince as this would cause me do. Much less will I have such of her to whom I wish as much good as my heart is able to imagine or as you were able a short while ago to wish. However, I exhort you, I counsel you, and I beseech you to take this thing so much to heart that you will not fear to touch even him [Bothwell] whom you have nearest to you if the thing touches him, and that no persuasion will prevent you from making an example out of this to the world: that you are both a noble princess and loyal wife. I do not write so vehemently out of doubt that I have, but out of the affection that I bear you in particular. For I am not ignorant that you have no wiser counselors than myself. Thus it is that, when I remember that our Lord had one Judas out of twelve, and I assure myself that there could be no one more loyal than myself, I offer my affection in place of this prudence.”

When Queen Elizabeth discovered that her cousin had not heeded her advice and went and married Bothwell, she was horrified. She had warned Mary that her new marriage was a threat to her Scottish throne. Marys response to her cousin was that she, Mary, could not rule Scotland alone (like her cousin) because she did not have the same authority that Elizabeth held in England. Mary must have believed she needed a man to be an effective Scottish queen.

However, it wasnt long before (it is believed) Mary Stuart saw the man before her for who he truly was, a man grasping for power. On the 24th of April 1567, Queen Mary was on her way to Holyrood after seeing her young son James, it was after that that she was forcibly taken by Bothwell to Dunbar where was ravished. Whether or not Mary was actually abducted and/or raped is still hotly debated. Everything about her relationship with Bothwell was unliked by her counselors and so if she wanted to make herself look better she very well could have made up the entire story.

Abdication

Only a few months later, in June of 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate her throne. After twenty-five years as Queen of Scotland she gave it all up. Her son was now King James VI of Scotland. After being threatened and forced to sign she was quoted as saying, When God shall set me at liberty again, I shall not abide these, for it is done against my will.4Mary did not know before signing that her cousin Elizabeth had been planning a war to defend her.

Mary was locked up at Lochleven Castle and was accused of adultery and murder and was said to be unfit to rule.

When Elizabeth was informed of what had happened she was furious. If one queen could be forced to abdicate, why couldnt she be forced to do the same? Elizabeth immediately sent for Cecil and lectured him for not being able to help Mary. Elizabeth threatened to declare war on Scotland again because Mary was an anointed queen, accountable to God alone. She wanted to demonstrate that a similar action in England would not be tolerated. Cecil warned her that a war with Scotland may cause the those against Mary to assassinate Her- he also knew that Elizabeths anger over the matter would eventually subside.

When Mary eventually settled into her new way of life her ultimate plan was to get back all that she had lost. She spent her days at Lochleven Castle sewing, embroidering, playing cards, dancing and plotting.

Freedom

After eleven months of captivity at Lochleven, Mary finally found her freedom with the help of some of those employed by her captors.

Mary raised an army that was larger than her brother, the Earl of Moray’s army, and she expected to defeat him and punish him for his greed. Unfortunately for Mary, it was her army that would be defeated. After riding for thirty miles at night she hid at the abbey in Dundrennan – it was there that she wrote an urgent appeal for aid from her cousin Elizabeth. With the letter she sent a diamond ring that Elizabeth had given her in 1563 as a token of love and friendship. Little did she know that Elizabeth had just purchased a bunch of Marys jewels from the Earl of Moray.

Mary grew impatient and couldnt wait for her cousins reply, she hopped on a fishing boat to cross the Solway Firth, landing at seven in the evening, near Carlisle, England.

The following morning, Mary wrote a second letter to Elizabeth asking for her assistance in reclaiming her Scottish throne. Elizabeth was still sympathetic to her cousins cause but she also understood how dangerous it was to have Mary, a Catholic, in northern England.

A Guest of the Queen

Cecil understood all too well the danger of Mary being in England and as soon as he heard he placed her under strict guard at Carlisle Castle. Cecil was determined to see Mary not regain her throne and show that she was indeed responsible of adultery and the murder of Henry Stuart.

Within two weeks of her arrival in England, Mary understood that her future was in the hands of William Cecil, not her more sympathetic cousin, Elizabeth.

For nearly twenty years Mary would remain Elizabeths prisoner, under the supervision of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. She was moved from one castle to another. Mary had consistently requested a face to face meeting with her cousin but that day never come – the two women would never meet.

Marys downfall was the fact that she had become a figurehead for the Catholics in England. Unlike Lady Jane Grey with Queen Mary, it is believed that Mary had indeed involved in the conspiracies to remove the Protestant Elizabeth.

Elizabeths spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham had created a network of spies to intercept Marys letters. It was within those letters that Mary was caught plotting to kill Elizabeth.

Mary was found guilty at her trial on the 25th of October 1586 and it wasnt until the 1st of February that she finally signed the death warrant of her cousin. The decision could not have been an easy one for Elizabeth, she always appeared sympathetic to her cousin but ultimately understood that she must protect her own throne from a usurper.

Conclusion of My Series on Elizabeth

On my journey to discover who Elizabeth truly was I can honestly say that the only thing that changed my mind a bit was that she appeared sympathetic to her cousin Mary and the situations she found herself in.

Do I now feel that Elizabeth was the best Tudor monarch? No. I still reserve that spot for Henry VIII. But I do understand a little better why so many of you do.


Notes:

Strickland, Agnes. The Queens of Scotland: Abridged and Adapted from Strickland’s “Queens of Scotland. (1887)

Hume, Martin.the love affairs of mary queen of scots. (1903)

Elizabeth I.Elizabeth I: Collected Works

4Matusiak, John.James I: Scotland’s King of England (2015)


 

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Elizabeth, Queen of England (Part Five)

Missed the previous parts in this series? You can find the previous four articles HEREand the podcasts HERE

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Elizabeth, Queen of England – Elizabeth’s Ladies

By mid-January 1559 Elizabeth had her household set, rightfully so, she was officially crowned Queen of England. Her group of tightly knit ladies were referred to as the old flock of Hatfield.

Instead of the Catholic ladies in Queen Marys household like Wharton, Waldegrave, Cornwallis, Babington, Dormer and Southwell, Elizabeth replaced them with her cousins, the ladies Carey, Knollys and Ashley; As well as the daughters and wives of those men who served her, such as the ladies Cecil, Throckmorton, Warner, Cheke and Benger.

Loyal Servants

Of course, those ladies who had served her throughout her life would stay involved now that she was Queen. Kat Ashley and Blanche Parry to name two. Blanche has been reported to have served Elizabeth from the time she was in the cradle until she died in 1590.

Ashley was almost immediately appointed her Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber – this position was the most prestigious post within Elizabeths household because it gave her complete access to the sovereign. Kat was nearly always by the Queens side, even at night she was right there sleeping on a pallet bed in Elizabeths bedchamber. Not only was she responsible for the care of the Queen but she was also responsible for overseeing all the other ladies of the privy chamber.

Blanche Parry was appointed second Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber and was also (due to her fondness for literature) the keeper of the Queens books.

There were two other ladies from Elizabeths time at Hatfield that found a place in her household as Queen, they were: Lady Elizabeth Fiennes de Clinton, who was appointed Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber and Elizabeth St. Loe or Bess of Hardwick. Hardwick, who, at the age of thirty-one was one of the oldest member of the Queens household.

Lady Anne Russell was one the youngest ladies to serve the Queen, she was merely ten years old when she was appointed Maid of Honor.

Elizabeth didnt only show favor to the women who had served her in the past but also some of the women who had served her stepmother, Kateryn Parr. Mrs. Eglionby was appointed mother of the maids and Elizabeth Carew was also given a noteworthy position as well.

No Women Allowed

Interestingly enough, if you were a woman and were not a member of the Queens household you were not welcome at court. Male courtiers were discouraged from bringing their wives to court because this would ruin the image that Elizabeth wanted as the most attractive and desired woman at court. This would explain why Amy Robsart was not at court with her husband Robert Dudley – it wasnt only that the Queen was jealous of her relationship with her favorite, she felt that way about all the ladies except for the ones who were her servants.

Elizabeth even decreased the number of women who normally served the queen from twenty to only eleven. There were now only six maids of honor – the lowest number of female attendants in nearly forty years.

Various Positions in the Queen’s Household

Ive had a few of you ask me on Facebook about the different positions that women held in the Queens household and what they were responsible for – here is an idea:

The ladies of the privy chamber attended the queens daily needs such as washing, dressing and serving at the table.

The queens chamberers would perform more menial tasks such as arranging bedding and cleaning the queens private chambers.

If you were a maid of honor to the Queen this meant that you were unmarried and attended the Queen in public and would carry her long train. A maid of honor was also responsible for entertaining her by singing, dancing and reading to her. These girls were supervised by the Mother of Maids.

The ladies in waiting to the queen were women who were sometimes connected to the privy chamber and held their position due to their experience or their husbands position at court.

When these women joined the queens office they had to swear the ceremonial oath. This oath was used to form a bond of allegiance between the ladies and their queen.

Queen Elizabeth was very concerned about matters of personal cleanliness by the standards of the day. She was known to take regular baths in a tub that was specially made for her. This tub would travel with her from palace to palace – Elizabeth clearly liked to be clean. If for some reason her tub was unavailable, or time did not allow for it, her ladies would clean her with wet cloths that were soaked in pewter bowls. As far as dental hygiene I covered this in an article once and author Tracy Borman states that Elizabeth would clean her teeth with a concoction of white wine and vinegar boiled up with honey which would be rubbed on with fine cloths.

The duty of preparing the Queen each day would take hours – from bathing to dressing and hair, all had to be just right.

Elizabeth, like her father Henry VIII, did not handle illness well. In her lifetime, it had been noted that stress caused Elizabeth to suffer from headaches, breathlessness, stomach aches and insomnia. She was also known to rail against her ladies and doctors insisting she was fine because she perceived illness as weakness. This must have been hell for Elizabeth when she contracted smallpox in 1562.

It was at Hampton Court Palace on the 10th of October 1562 that Elizabeth began to feel unwell. After immersing herself in a bath and taking a walk outdoors (which resulted in a chill) Elizabeth took to her bed with a fever. A German physician by the name of Dr. Burcot was summoned to examine the queen. His diagnosis was smallpox even though she had no tell-tale spots on her skin. Elizabeth called him a fool and dismissed him.

Smallpox and Sickness

By the 16th of October the Queen was gravely ill. She was incapable of speech and would appear to pass out for stretches up to twenty-four hours. The royal doctors feared she would die and sent for Cecil.

The Queens cousin, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon persuaded the humiliated Dr. Burcot to return (some reported by dagger) to the Queens side. The doctor ordered that Elizabeth be wrapped in red flannel, laid on a pallet bed by the fire and be given a potion that he had created. Merely two hours later Elizabeth was alert and speaking. Clearly Dr. Burcot was no fool.

By her side through it all (until she became ill herself) was Robert Dudleys sister, Mary Sidney. Sidneys case was much worse than the Queens and she was badly disfigured by her illness. Her husband, Sir Henry Sidney said:

When I went to Newhaven I left her a full fair lady in mine eye at least the fairest, and when I returned I found her as foul a lady as the smallpox could make her, which she did take by continual attendance of her majestys most precious person (sick of the same disease) the scars of which (to her resolute discomfort) ever since hath done and doth remain in her face, so as she liveth solitary like a night-raven in the house more to my charge then if we had boarded together as we did before that evil accident happened.

Mary Sidney is listed a one of Queen Elizabeths Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber and makes one wonder if she was the one who attended to the Queen because of her closeness to Robert. Surely, in the big picture, this did not benefit Mary at all. She and her husband served the Queen for many, many years and felt this deserved more rewards than they received.

The Queen’s Activities

When Elizabeths health was good her favorite past time was dancing. She loved to show off her skills by performing such beautiful and complicated dances such as the galliard and volta. Elizabeth would spend long hours with her ladies rehearsing the steps until they were performed to perfection.

In the evenings, when Elizabeth retired to her private apartments, her ladies would attend to her every need. They would carefully unpin her hair, undress her and remove her makeup. The Queen undone was something only her ladies were allowed to see. This is why it was such a big deal years later when the Earl of Sussex (Lettice Knollys son) burst into the Queens bedchamber to witness her in this state.

Compensation and Treatment of her Ladies

To serve the Queen was not a lucrative career – it was mostly for the prestige and favor by the Queen. Their pay was considered moderate. Maids of honor and ladies of the presence-chamber were seldom paid at all, while ladies of the privy chamber and bedchamber receive an annual salary of roughly 33 pounds or the equivalent of around 7,000 pounds today.

Not only did they lack pay, or receive very little pay, but their meals usually consisted of leftovers from the Queens meals.

While most of the women in her household were unpaid or little paid they were regularly receive clothing, jewelry and other gifts from their mistress.

Their living quarters were also very cramped and uncomfortable. While sanitation was poor there were no bathrooms or flushing toilets available to them like there was to the Queen. The court, as a result, would have had a foul smell. When this would happen the Queen and her entourage would regularly move or travel to allow for a thorough cleaning of the palace to have the human waste disposed of before they returned.

Elizabeth was also noted as treating her ladies very similarly to how her mother had – if any of her ladies failed to perform any of their duties properly the Queen would fly into a rage and punish them with slaps or blows. Author Tracy Borman says in Elizabeths Women, When one poor lady was clumsy in serving her at table, Elizabeth stabbed her in the hand and that one foreign visitor to court observed: She is a haughty woman, falling easily into rebuke…She thinks highly of herself and has little regard for her servants and Council, being of opinion that she is far wiser than they; she mocks them and often cries out upon them.

Elizabeth had the temper of her father and all the charm and charisma of her mother.

Going Against the Queen

The downside of being a close servant to the Queen was that she controlled your fate. Ive discussed this several times – that I find it completely selfish and unnecessary for Elizabeth to hate when her ladies married. One of the ladies who served Elizabeth learned the hard way to not cross the Queen – Elizabeth Throckmorton.

In 1584, at the age of 19, Elizabeth Bess Throckmorton went to court and became a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Eventually she became Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. She was responsible for dressing the Queen. A very intimate job, indeed.

Bess and her younger brother, Arthur were both courtiers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Bess had been described by her contemporaries as “intelligent, forthright, passionate, and courageous.

After six years at court (roughly 25 years old) the still single Bess met Walter Raleigh who was quickly becoming one of the Queen Elizabeths favorites. As a lady to the Queen it was necessary for Bess to get permission to be courted. The Queen must also give her approval of any man who wished to court one of her ladies because they were supposed to be seen as extremely virtuous women. Throckmorton and Raleigh clearly believed they would not get permission and began a secret and intimate relationship.

By July 1591, Bess Throckmorton was pregnant she secretly wed Raleigh and understood the seriousness of getting married without permission from Elizabeth. If she did not marry then her child would be considered a bastard. So really, at that point, she didnt have a choice.

Bess must have been aware of the danger in having the Queen discover she was pregnant AND married that she somehow obtained permission to leave court to stay at her brother Arthurs home in London. It is there that she gave birth to a son in March 1592.

Not long after she returned to court only to have the Queen discover all that had happened behind her back. Both Throckmorton and Raleigh were thrown in the Tower of London. In October, at only six months old, the couples son died of the plague and Queen Elizabeth chose to release the couple from the Tower. She never forgave Bess Throckmorton for her betrayal and Raleigh was ordered not to be seen at court for one year.

The fate of Bess Throckmorton mirrors that of Lettice Knollys after her secret marriage to Robert Dudley. Both women fell in love with the Queens favorite, married secretly and fell from favor. However, both women appear to have found love despite the loss of favor from their Queen. This is something that the Queen would never have.

Anne Vavasour was Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth and the mistress of the Earl of Oxford, by whom she had an illegitimate son Edward. Both Anne and the Earl of Oxford, for their offences, were sent to the Tower by the Queens orders. Later she became the mistress of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, by whom she had another illegitimate son Thomas. This affair happened shortly after she had married her first husband, John Finch, a sea-captain. The Queen apparently was not as displeased with this affair as Anne and Lee entertained the Queen together at Ditchley.

Interestingly enough, Anne was charged with bigamy when she married John Richardson after she had already married (in c.1590) John Finch, who was still living. Her fine was 2,000 and she was spared from performing a public penance.

Frances Walsingham was Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth and the wife of Sir Philip Sydney. She was the daughter of Francis Walsingham, who was a trusted adviser of Queen Elizabeth. He is best known as Elizabeths spymaster.

In 1590, Frances married her second husband, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. The match caused great displeasure to the Queen Elizabeth, partly because Essex was the son of Lettice Knollys and partly because Elizabeth herself had a crush on Robert Devereux herself.

Then we look at Catherine Carey, cousin (or possibly sister) to the Queen. Catherine and her husband Francis Knollys were both loyal servants to the Queen. Francis was always at the will of the Queen, even when his wife was on her deathbed and he begged to be by her side – the Queen would not allow him to come home. Even Catherine requested her husband to be by her said, to no avail.

My Opinion of the Queen

Throughout my years of researching the Tudors Ive always said that Elizabeth is my least favorite Tudor monarch and this article, in my opinion is the perfect example of why. I understand those of you who love her because she was a strong female ruler, or because she brought peace and prosperity to England. My response to that is: Sure, yes, she was all those things, but that does not mean she was a nice person. In my opinion, she was just like her father. She was selfish, moody and unjust.

The next article on Elizabeth will be my last in this series and I havent quite figured out where Im going to go with that one yet. Stay Tuned!

Read Part Six HERE / Listen to Part Six Here


Sources:

Borman, Tracy. Elizabeths Woman (Bantam Books, 2009)
MacCaffrey, Wallace T. The Shaping of the Elizabethan Regime – Elizabethan Politics, 1558-1572 (Princeton University Press, 1968)
Weir, Alison. The Life of Elizabeth I (Ballantine Books, 1998)


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