Elizabeth & Robert: Did They or Didn’t They?

Guest article by Samantha K. Cohen

Being a romantic I hope they did but history being more practical than me says maybe they did and maybe they didn’t. In other words, we really don’t know.

Medically, Elizabeth I was a mess. Frequent headaches and stomach aches were two of her many illnesses. Missed periods were frequent.

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Looking for the Real Amy Robsart (Guest Post)

Guest article by Nicola Cornick

Amy Robsart is a woman from the footnotes of history who is most often defined as either a wife (of Robert Dudley, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I) or as a victim (of an unexplained death.) When I came to study and write about Amy, I wanted to find out as much as I could about the woman behind these different identities, which is no easy task. There are however clues to Amy and her life that shed some light on both her character and her activities, and help us to visualise her as a person in her own right.

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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.

__

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.

 

Letter from Queen Elizabeth to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

As the Queen’s favorite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester had petitioned to be sent to the Netherlands to assist in protecting the Protestants in the country. King Philip of Spain had recently taken control of the country after the abdication of Charles V. King Philip was shocked at the number of Protestants in the country and how fast the movement was growing – he wished to stop the movement and return the Netherlands to Catholicism. As a Protestant herself Elizabeth understood the importance of putting a stop to King Philip’s campaign as soon as possible – what was to stop him from continuing on through Europe?

The Dutch were extremely grateful for England’s intervention in their cause and the leaders had asked Leicester to take a position as the head of their government as Governor of the Netherlands. Leicester sent word to the Queen to get her permission in the matter but had not heard back from her. Eventually, the matter was pressed further and Leicester felt the need to accept the position without the Queen’s permission…something this letter shows she was not pleased with.



Leicester as Governor General of the Netherlands

 

In two and half years the Queen would lose her closest friend and the person she had known the longest.

Netherlands, April 1586

Right trusty and right well-beloved cousin and councillor, we greet you well. It is always thought in the opinion of the world a hard bargain when both parties are leasoned (slandered), and so doth fall out in the case between us two. You, as we hear, are greatly grieved in respect of the great displeasure you find we have conceived against you; and we, no less grieved that a subject of ours of what quality that you are, a creature of our favor above all our subjects even from the beginning of our reign, should deal so carelessly – we will not say contemptuously – as to give the world just cause to think that we are had in contempt by him that have looked to receive any such measure. Which, we do assure you, hath wrought as great grief in us as any one thing that have ever happened unto us.

We are persuaded that you that have so long known us cannot think that ever we could have been drawn to have taken so hard a course herein, had we not been provoked by an extraordinary cause. Burt for that your grieved and wounded mind hath more need of comfort than reproof, whom we are persuaded (though the act in respect of the contempt can no way be excused) had no other meaning and intent than to advance our service, we think meet to forbear to dwell upon a matter wherein we ourselves do find so little comfort, assuring you that whosoever professeth to love you best taketh not more comfort of your well-doing or discomfort of your evildoing than ourself.

Now to come to the breach itself, which we would be glad to repair in such sort as may be for our honor without the peril and danger of that country, we do think meet that you shall, upon conference with Sir Thomas Heneage and such others whose advice you shall think meet to be used therein, think of some way how the point concerning the absolute title may be qualified in such sort as the authority may notwithstanding remain, which we think most needful to continue for the redress of the’abuses and avoiding of confusion that otherwise is likely to ensure. Which as we conceive may be performed if the States may be induced to yield that authority unto you, carrying the title of lieutenant-general of our forces, that they do now yield unto you under the title of an absolute governor. And for that we are persuaded that you may be best able, knowing the dispositions of all sorts of people there as well of the inferior as the superior, to judge what is fit to be done to bring such a qualification as we desire to pass, we think meet that the whole of proceeding should be referred to the good consideration and extraordinary care of you and Sir Thomas Heneage, and such others whose advise you shall use in the matter. For we must needs confess that it is a thing that we do greatly desire and affect. And therefore we do look that you should use all the best endeavor that possibly you may to bring that same presently to pass. And yet notwithstanding, if by conference with Sir Thomas Heneage and other whose advice you shall like to use therein, you shall find that any such motion for the present may work any peril of consequence to that State, then do we think meet it be forborne and are content to yield that the government shall be continued as it now doth under you for a time until we shall hear from you how the said qualification we so greatly desire touching the title may be brought to pass without breeding any alteration in those countries. For we can be content (if necessity shall so require) to tolerate the same for a time. And so, we think, must the Council of State be given to understand, for that they maybe be the rather drawn thereby to devise some way to yield us contentment in this our desire.

And whereas by our letters directed our servant SirThomas Heneage we have appointed that the answer to the requests of the council of Estate there contained in their letters directed unto us for the stay of the revocation of your authority should be delivered by him unto the Council of State there according to such resolution as should be taken between you, wishing it shall fall out to be such as you shall think meet that our assent be yielded for the continuance of your government as it now standeth for a time, then would we have the said Sir Thomas in the delivery thereof let the said Council of State understand how we are drawn, for the love we bear towards them and the care we have that nothing should proceed from us that might any way work their peril, to leave all respects unto our own hands, hoping that the consideration thereof will draw them the rather to devise some way how to satisfy us in the point of qualification, as also to be more ready from time to time to carry that respect and regard to you, our minister during the time of your employments there, as may be both for our honor, your comfort, and the particular benefit of themselves. Given under our signet at our manor of Greenwich.

Elizabeth I – Collected Works (Pages 277-279)

Edited by Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose

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Book Review: “Elizabeth’s Rival” by Nicola Tallis

Jane Seymour (11)

Elizabeth’s Rival by Nicola Tallis

When I was asked to review this book by Michael O’Mara Books I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about Lettice Knollys, cousin to Queen Elizabeth of England. You see, most of you probably know that my favorite monarch to study is Henry VIII, and so stepping outside my comfort zone into the world of Elizabethan England was a little scary. Was I going to like it? Would there be something that would draw me in? In this review I’ll go into the basis of the story and what it is I enjoyed about it.

Cousin to Elizabeth I and grandniece to Anne Boleyn, Lettice had a life of dizzying highs and pitiful lows. Entangled in a love triangle with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I, banished from court, plagued by scandals of affairs and murder, embroiled in treason, and finally losing her family to war, sickness and the executioner’s axe. Lettice lived to the astonishing age of ninety-one; her tale gives us a remarkable, personal lens on to the grand sweep of the Tudor Age. – Michael O’Mara Books

Lettice Knollys was the daughter of Catherine Carey and Francis Knollys, her grandmother was Mary Boleyn, making her a first cousin (once removed) to Queen Elizabeth. Now, if you believe the stories that Catherine Carey was the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn then she would instead be Elizabeth’s niece. The resemblance between the two women had often been stated and so it, in my opinion, is highly likely that Lettice’s grandfather was indeed the King of England.

Lettice married three times, the first was to a man by the name of Walter Devereux. She was seventeen years old when she became Viscountess Hereford and in 1572, after his promotion, she became Countess of Essex. By all accounts it appeared the couple had a strong relationship, they even had five children together.

Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex as in great favor with the Queen of England. Elizabeth liked him very much and Devereux was not afraid to speak his mind with the Queen – something not many around her were brave enough to do. Devereux spent a lot of time in Ireland trying to subdue uprisings. He was looking for fame within the Queen’s court and offered to fund the campaign through his own pocket – something that would later cause him and his family much grief.

It was during one of Walter’s campaigns in Ireland that rumors began to spread that she was having an affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Kenilworth Castle and Chartley were not too far from one another and Lettice was known to make trips to Leicester’s estate to hunt. This was something many other nobles did as well. Often Leicester was at court and so they would not even see one another.

After many years away, Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex died of dysentery in 1576. Lettice mourned the loss of her husband and two years later secretly married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester without the Queen’s permission. While she once was one of the Queen’s favorite things turned quickly for Lettice when Elizabeth found out about the marriage. Their relationship would never be the same again.

When Robert Dudley died in 1588 there was the hope that Lettice would once again be welcomed back to court and into the Queen’s favor. Unfortunately for Lettice that would not happen. In 1589 she married a Catholic by the name of Christopher Blount. While the marriage appeared to be a happy one he would eventually be executed for treason.

This book was wonderfully written and researched. It was a quick read for me because the story was told so well – I couldn’t put it down. Tallis does a wonderful job of laying the foundation of Lettice’s life before court, including that of her mother, Catherine Carey. Catherine and her husband were ever-loyal to the Queen and died without her husband by her side. Francis Knollys was not granted permission to come back to England to be with his wife. Tallis shows the side of Lettice Knollys that many don’t know – the doting mother who until their last days smothered her children with love and support.

Most articles I’ve read about her life focus solely on her scandalous relationship with Robert Dudley, but this book gives the full picture of who she was as a person. I now have a whole new respect for Lettice Knollys. If I had half of her courage I would be happy.

If you’d like to read this book you can purchase it on Amazon:

Amazon – US
Amazon – UK

Portraits of Elizabeth’s Favorite: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester



In the past there were no cameras, only brushes and canvas to leave us with images of those who we would later learn about in history books, lectures and blogs online. Their true identity would be left to the eye of the beholder – it was up to them to translate what they saw onto canvas…for prosperity. As with most portraiture the final product can vary with each artist.

Portraits of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

“Dudley’s youth was overshadowed by the downfall of his family in 1553 after his father, the Duke of Northumberland, had unsuccessfully tried to establish Lady Jane Grey on the English throne. Robert Dudley was condemned to death but was released in 1554 and took part in the Battle of St. Quentin under Philip II of Spain, which led to his full rehabilitation. On Elizabeth I’s accession in November 1558, Dudley was appointed Master of the Horse.” – Christine Hartweg (All Things Robert Dudley)



These two portraits are very similar – the sitter (Robert Dudley) appears to be wearing the same outfit, however, the faces appear to differ as do the details on the clothing. I was unable to find the artist for either of these.

Yale Center for British Art released under Creative Commons CC-BY license. Archived from the original on 2011-09-03.



It was in Dudley that the eight-year-old Elizabeth had confided upon the execution of her third stepmother, Catherine Howard, in 1541, vowing: ‘I will never marry’. He would always remember the conversation, and it may have been the reason he decided to marry Amy Robsart nine years later. – Tracy Borman (Robert Dudley: Queen Elizabeth I’s great love)

Robert Dudley in 1576, aged 44, as is stated in the margin. Miniature by Nicholas Hilliard

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1575

“Robert Dudley’s private life interfered with his court career and vice versa. When his first wife, Amy Robsart, fell down a flight of stairs and died in 1560, he was free to marry the Queen. However, the resulting scandal very much reduced his chances in this respect.” – Christine Hartweg (All Things Robert Dudley)

by Steven van der Meulen



Portrait by Nicholas Hilliard.

“Elizabeth made it clear that she had no intention of giving up her favourite. If anything, she found ways to spend even more time with him. A year after her accession, she had Dudley’s bedchamber moved next to her private rooms in order to facilitate their clandestine meetings. Before long, their relationship was causing a scandal not just in England, but in courts across Europe.” Tracy Borman (Robert Dudley: Queen Elizabeth I’s great love)

van der Meulen, Steven; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; The Wallace Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/robert-dudley-earl-of-leicester-209567

 

“For the first 30 years of Elizabeth’s reign, until Leicester’s death, he and Lord Burghley were the most powerful and important political figures, working intimately with the Queen. Robert Dudley was a conscientious privy councillor, and one of the most frequently attending.”‘ – Christine Hartweg (All Things Robert Dudley)

unknown artist; Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester; National Portrait Gallery, London; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/robert-dudley-1st-earl-of-leicester-158140



unknown artist; Robert Dudley (1532/1533-1588), Earl of Leicester, High Steward of the University (1563); Old Schools, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/robert-dudley-153215331588-earl-of-leicester-high-steward-of-the-university-1563-195459

 

British (English) School; Robert Dudley (1533-1588), Earl of Leicester, KG; National Trust, Knole; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/robert-dudley-15331588-earl-of-leicester-kg-218909

 

Segar, William; Robert Dudley (1532/1533-1588), 1st Earl of Leicester; Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/robert-dudley-153215331588-1st-earl-of-leicester-193702



 

 

‘I humbly kiss your foot’ by Your Majesty’s most faithful and obedient servant. These were probably the last words ever written by Robert Dudley. Five days later, on 4 September 1588, he breathed his last. Elizabeth was inconsolable at the loss of ‘sweet Robin’, the only man whom she had ever truly loved. Their relationship had survived almost 50 years of trials and tribulations, and Elizabeth was lost without him.” -Tracy Borman (Robert Dudley: Queen Elizabeth I’s great love)

 

by Unknown artist, marble bust, late 18th century or 19th century



 

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester by Unknown artist;silver medal, 1587  National Portrait Gallery, London

 

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester by Christoffel van Sichem (Voschem) line engraving, 1580s – National Portrait Gallery, London

Sources/References:

Christine Hartweg (All Things Robert Dudley)

Tracy Borman (Robert Dudley: Queen Elizabeth I’s great love)

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