The first mentions of sinister goings-on regarding Lady Amy Dudley née Robsart appear quite suddenly in November 1559, ten months before her death. The Habsburg ambassadors were at that point very angry about the fact that Queen Elizabeth had still not married the Archduke Ferdinand. One of the chief culprits in this affair was Lord Robert, whose support they had at first enlisted – until he grew cold of the enterprise, following Elizabeth’s lead. Thus it came that de Quadra could write home that he had heard a
certain person who is accustomed to give me veracious news that Lord Robert has sent to poison his wife. Certainly all the Queen has done with us and with the Swede, and will do with the rest in the matter of her marriage, is only keeping Lord Robert’s enemies and the country engaged with words until this wicked deed of killing his wife is consummated. The same person told me some extraordinary things about this intimacy, which I would never have believed.1
His Imperial colleague and fellow-lodger, Caspar von Brüner, made no efforts to hide his hatred of the favourite:
Although he is married to a beautiful wife he is not living with her, and, as I have been told by many persons, is trying to do away with her by poison. For this reason I think that the Queen and he have a secret understanding … I really do believe that he will follow in the footsteps of his parents [i.e., be executed], and may the Devil be his companion, for he causes me and all who are active on behalf of his Princely Highness a world of trouble. He is so hated … that it is a marvel that he has not been slain long ere this, for whenever they behold him they wish he might be hanged. … I am certain he will one day meet with the reward he so richly merits. It is just like him to protract this marriage until he has sent his wife to Eternity.2
This is nothing more than a nice sample of Habsburg paranoia and self-interest, although there was indeed an impression that Robert was the ‟king that is to be“ (de Quadra, again), and stories that Elizabeth was having children by him started to come up in the summer of 1559 and were forever to circulate. There were also several assassination plots against Robert Dudley, who took to wearing light body armour under his clothes;3 one plot which remained secret at the time was planned by the Swedish ambassador,4 who was wooing the Queen on behalf of Erik XIV. It is interesting that the French ambassador (who had no candidate in the race) has nothing to say about poison, although quite a lot of his correspondence for this time is still extant.5 According to Dr. Simon Adams, a leading expert on Elizabeth I and editor of Dudley’s household accounts, the latter ‟enjoyed very close social contact with the French embassy in 1559, but only peripheral reference is made to him in the Noailles despatches. By contrast, his contact with the Spanish embassy, as revealed in the accounts at any rate, was minimal. Therefore the comments on him in the Spanish despatches, which have been used extensively as sources, must be treated with some caution.“6
One account already quoted and discussed in Part I of this article has become known as A Journal of Matters of State or BL Additional MS 48023 and was written in about 1562/1563, probably by the MP John Hales, a former adherent of the Duke of Somerset and a fierce Protestant. His chronicle contains valuable court gossip and London street talk; however, he is patently hostile to Robert Dudley and any of his friends or relatives. Moreover, he did not know Dudley and did not recognize him, as he writes. Lord Robert being an extremely prominent court figure, this is an important aspect to bear mind when evaluating his observations.7 The ‟evidence“ for murder is contained in the following passage:
How the Lord Robert’s wife brake her neck at Forster’s house in Oxfordshire … her gentlewomen being gone forth to a fair. Howbeit it was thought she was slain, for Sir ——– Verney was there that day and whylest the deed was doing was going over the fair and tarried there for his man, who at length came, and he said, thou knave, why tarriest thou? He answered, should I come before I had done? Hast thou done? quoth Verney. Yeah, quoth the man, I have made it sure. So Verney came to the court. This woman was viewed by the coroner’s quest, whereof one Smith was foreman … It was found by this inquest that she was the cause of her own death, falling down a pair of stairs, which by report was but eight steps. … Many times before it was bruited by the L. Rob. his men that she was dead. … This Verney and divers his servants used before her death, to wish her death, which made the people to suspect the worse. And her death he mourneth, leaveth the court, lieth at Kew whither the lords resorted to him to comfort him. Himself, all his friends, many of the Lords and gentlemen, and his family be all in black, and weep dolorously, great hypocrisy used. The Tuesday after Michaelmas Day he repaireth to the court, at Hampton Court. … And I for myself knew him not, for I never saw him before, nor knew not it was he till he was past.8
As Hales makes clear himself, he repeats what was widely talked. This talk was later elaborated upon by the anonymous authors of Leicester’s Commonwealth, a Catholic propaganda libel against Robert Dudley, then Earl of Leicester and the most exalted patron of a militant Protestant foreign policy. The political context of this 1584 work is to be seen in the events leading up to the final nemesis of Mary Queen of Scots. The satirical tale in Leicester’s Commonwealth need not be taken seriously, if only for its scurrilous and manifest errors: Sir Richard Verney goes himself to Amy’s house and forcibly sends her servants away (!), before he breaks her neck and places her at the foot of the stairs (no head wounds, here). She is buried twice over, first secretly at Cumnor Parish Church, then at Oxford – so that her husband may play the grieving widower. Meanwhile, the inquest’s verdict is: murder!
Sir Richard Verney was never arrested or otherwise molested by the authorities, which seems odd if his crime was common knowledge; however, Amy Dudley had lived at his house at Compton Verney in Warwickshire a year earlier for some time, before she moved to Cumnor. Hales claims he came to court after the deed, and indeed he may have been on his way from Warwickshire to the London area, and may even have been seen passing through Abingdon – a possible explanation of why he became associated with the tragedy in what today would be called the tabloid press.
It is most unlikely that any killers would have risked to be seen on the wide square before Cumnor Place and the parish church in broad daylight, entering or leaving the house. The proponents of the murder theory are generally keen to portray Amy Dudley as a healthy young woman (which she may well have been); however, if she could move around as she pleased – and she could have when in good health – why kill her in her own house? This could only draw suspicion on her husband and ‟his men“. Why not meet her at another place under some pretext, perhaps even on a lonely street? Why not mask the crime as an assault by common robbers? The principal weakness of the classic Verney murder scenario is that it could under no circumstances benefit Robert Dudley. It is generally believed that the suspicious death of his wife destroyed his chances to marry the Queen. Why should his adherents, hoping to profit from his impending elevation as consort, make an existing scandal worse by openly murdering his wife in her own house? Not for nothing was Robert Dudley shocked – not only about the fact in itself, but about the consequences for his reputation.9 He was an intelligent man and it is inconceivable that he would have ordered such an act or that any one of his men could have been so stupid. As historian Professor David Loades has put it, when Lady Dudley was found dead ‟the obvious conclusion was drawn. So obvious, indeed, we can be reasonably certain that Lord Robert had no hand in his wife’s death.“10
In May 1566 Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester gave ‟four ells of black taffeta for a short gown and three yards of black velvet to guard the same … to Mr. Smith the Queen’s man“.11 In his Journal Hales describes the jury’s foreman as ‟one Smith … who was the Queen’s man being Lady Eliz.“ and who was sacked for his ‟lewd behaviour“. Some have thought that these two were one and the same Smith – and that this somehow proves that the jury six years earlier had been bribed.12 The family name being so common and the first name unknown, it is impossible to know whether the two Smiths are in fact one; the foreman, apparently, was Richard Smith, a gentleman usher to Elizabeth as princess and as queen, and Mayor of Abingdon (near Cumnor) in 1564 – 1565.13
Even if ‟Mr. Smith“ was the same man there may be a less sinister reason for him receiving the stuffs than what has been suspected: Leicester had become Chancellor of Oxford University in 1564, and in the summer of 1566 he was expecting the Queen for a grand reception – one venue being St. Mary’s Church, his wife’s resting place; beforehand he was busy making sure the occasion would be a success by all standards. As a former mayor of nearby Abingdon Richard Smith belonged to the group of people who might be expected to attend, for which he would have needed the right outfit (of course Dudley may have been grateful for a convenient outcome of the inquest). The stuffs were delivered under the supervision of Anthony Forster like many other items to make clothes of to a number of people,14 and it seems such gifts from the Earl were fairly common. Robert Dudley had conducted business with Anthony Forster since at least 1557, regularly borrowing and repaying huge sums; Forster indeed seems to have acted as a sort of treasurer to Dudley.15 By the time Lady Amy moved into his house he (who later sat also as MP for Abingdon) was certainly a gentleman-servant most trusted by her husband. Judging from Thomas Blount’s letters to his master in September 1560, the jurymen, all local men of some substance and some of them ‟very enemies“ of the well-to-do Forster, seem not to have been easily intimidated: ‟they be very secret; and yet do I hear a whispering that they can find no presumptions of evil. And if I may say to your Lordship my conscience, I think some of them may be sorry for it, God forgive me.“16
Four months after Lady Dudley’s death Sir Henry Sidney, who was close to his brother-in-law Lord Robert but of a very independent mind, explained the latter’s dilemma to the diplomatic Bishop de Quadra (who at the moment had no Habsburg candidate on offer):
As regards the death of the wife, he was certain that it was accidental, and he had never been able to learn otherwise, although he had inquired with great care and knew that public opinion held to the contrary. I told him if what he said were true the evil was less, for, if murder had been committed, God would never help nor fail to punish so abominable a crime, whatever men might do to mend it but that it would be difficult for Lord Robert to make things appear as he represented them. He answered it was quite true that no one believed it, and that even preachers in the pulpits discoursed on the matter in a way that was prejudicial to the honour and interests of the Queen.17
Nicholas Throckmorton, incessantly writing home from Paris against a possible Dudley marriage of the Queen, nevertheless thought well of Lord Robert’s person, as he explained to Cecil: ‟I do like him for some respects well, and esteem him for many good parts and gifts of nature that be in him“ – it was just the scandal that was jeopardizing England’s overseas prestige, he maintained.18 When Throckmorton’s first hysterical reports had arrived, his friend Henry Killigrew replied: ‟I cannot imagine what rumours they be you hear there, as you write so strange. Unless such were here of the death of my Lady Dudley; for that she brake her neck down a pair of stairs, which I protest unto you was only done by the hand of god, to my knowledge.“ After a few weeks he could imagine the rumours and added that ‟the Queen says she will make them false.“19 In the end, Killigrew advised Throckmorton to stop his frantic warnings lest they be seen as signs of his private ambition rather than his care for the good of the state.20 Elizabeth herself told his messenger Robert Jones to his face that ‟the matter had been tried in the country, and found to be contrary to that which was reported saying that he was then in the court and none of his at the attempt at his wife’s house, and that it fell so out as should neither touch his honesty nor her honour.“ The word attempt has caused raised eyebrows,21 while the preceding words are easily overlooked: none of his. If taken literally, the Queen would have been referring to an assault by a third party; but the likelihood is that it was a slip of the tongue or that the over-assiduous Jones – having already made Elizabeth laugh when he warned her that Robert Dudley’s father, the Duke of Northumberland, had hated her even more than he had her sister Mary – misrembered her words, as does happen all the time when one reports the speech of other people by memory.
Nicholas Throckmorton later gave up his resistance against the Dudley-Elizabeth marriage project and became Leicester’s most trusted ‟political advisor“ until he died in the latter’s house in 1571. Of course it was claimed the Earl had poisoned him with salads; he had been suffering from tuberculosis for a long time, however. As Dudley informed Francis Walsingham: ‟We have lost on Monday our good friend Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, who died in my house, being there taken suddenly in great extremity on Tuesday before; his lungs were perished, but a sudden cold he had taken was the cause of his sudden death. God hath his soul, and we his friends great loss of his body.“22 The man who had warned Throckmorton in late 1560, Henry Killigrew, was a lifelong follower of Robert Dudley and had already served in the household of the Duke of Northumberland. After Leicester’s death in 1588 he begged the Privy Council for permission to leave his post in the Netherlands ‟that I may yield him the last service and testimony of my devotion at his funerals.“23
William Cecil sabotaged Robert Dudley’s suit for the Queen’s hand from the moment Dudley was a widower. Yet there is no reason to believe that he ever thought him to be guilty of his wife’s death. Shortly after the tragedy, Lord Robert having retired to Kew, he paid him a visit to assure him of his friendship; he immediately got a letter of thanks:
Sir, I thank you very much for your being here, and the great friendship you have shown towards me I shall not forget. … I pray you let me hear from you, what you think best for me to do. … I am sorry so sudden a chance should breed me so great a change, for methinks I am here all the while as it were in a dream … Forget me not, though you see me not and I will remember you and fail you not, and so wish you well to do.24
Cecil’s famous remark that Leicester was ‟defamed by the death of his wife“ says just that, and nothing else.25 The odd nature of this document is sometimes overlooked: It was one of Cecil’s memoranda in which he listed every conceivable defect of Robert Dudley as royal consort alongside every supposed advantage of the Archduke Charles in the same role.26
Robert Dudley certainly had enemies among the highest nobility who tried to destroy him; the Earl of Arundel eagerly requested the inquest’s documents so soon as the verdict was given in 1561 – and found nothing, notwithstanding de Quadra’s hopes.27 John Appleyard, Lady Amy’s half-brother, was offered £1,000 in cash (as a first instalment) for evidence against his brother-in-law, ‟whereunto he answered that he would always stand with the Earl against any person saving the Queen.“28 He was under the impression that the agents were acting on behalf of the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Sussex. Certainly not coincidentally, during this spring of 1567 these two men were the chief promoters of Elizabeth’s marriage with the Archduke Charles, a nearly lost cause by then, for which they blamed Leicester.29 The Privy Council having got wind that such high-standing personalities had been mentioned in so murky transactions, they put Appleyard in the Fleet prison and started a major investigation. On the board sat an even-handed panel of friends and enemies of the Earl of Leicester – Cecil (as arbiter), the Earl of Arundel, the Marquess of Northampton (two old enemies), Lord Admiral Clinton, and the Earl of Pembroke (two old friends).30
Appleyard had been present at the inquest of 1560 and for several years had no problems accepting the verdict. At some point however he thought that the Earl of Leicester had not done enough for him, although in fact, as the Privy Council reminded him, he had received many posts and advantages through his patron, like the office of Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1559.31 Cecil recorded Appleyard’s statements:
he said that he had oftentimes moved the Earl to give him leave and to countenance him in the prosecuting of the trial of the murder of his sister, adding that he did take the Earl to be innocent thereof, but yet he thought it an easy matter to find out the offenders, showing certain circumstances which moved him to think surely that she was murdered, whereunto the Earl always answered him that he thought it not fit to deal any further in the matter, considering that by order of law it was already found otherwise, and that it was so presented by a jury. Nevertheless, Appleyard upon this examination, said the jury had not as yet given up their verdict. Also, in his speeches, he said that … the Earl of his own disposition was his good lord. … For the matter of his sister, wherein they have offered their aid for the examination of all he shall name, giving reasonable cause why he presents them, thinks that with the Council’s permission his next way is to desire a copy of the coroner’s verdict, and thereupon take counsel’s advice how to begin the trial of the cause.32
Appleyard received his copy of the report, after which he seems to have changed his mind; he never named any guilty persons, but declared that in the coroner’s report he found ‟not only such proofs testified under the oaths of fifteen persons, how my late sister by misfortune happened to death, but also such manifest and plain demonstration thereof, as has fully and clearly satisfied and persuaded me“. He was released but had to appear before Star Chamber where he said that ‟he [had] accused my Lord of Leicester only for malice“,33 having already asked the two ‟noble gentlemen against whom he has trespassed“, Norfolk and Sussex, for pardon.34 His brushes with the authorities were not yet over, for in the aftermath of the Northern Rebellion, in early 1570, he led his own local rebellion in Norfolk – they even planned to betray the port of Yarmouth to the Duke of Alba. At a time when more than 750 rebels were executed in England he escaped execution, receiving a life imprisonment. Even in case this was because he maintained in his trial that he was ‟to have had [his co-conspirators] to a banquet, and to have betrayed them all, and to have won credit thereby with the Queen“,35 it seems likely that his excellent court connections played a role in his survival. They certainly did when four years later, having become ill, Appleyard was transferred to the more comfortable quarters in the Dean of Norwich’ house by royal order. The Dean of Norwich was a good friend and protegé of the Earl of Leicester.36
The case of John Appleyard is certainly mysterious. Imprisoned, he was under pressure from the Council; but the Council also questioned quite a number of Robert Dudley’s servants – among them Thomas Blount and William Huggyns who was Appleyard’s brother-in-law – and it appears that an honest inquiry would have been possible if Appleyard had really supplied names. It seems that he had nothing substantial to present, at least Cecil thought so as he told Leicester: ‟If William Huggyns be with your Lordship, I pray you let him come with your Lordship that he may be spoken withal upon the sudden, concerning Appleyard, for amongst them they will fall out in their own colours.“37
The impression is unavoidable that Appleyard was an idiosyncratic character with a somewhat faulty memory. His son Henry was in Leicester’s service in the 1570s and was trusted with carrying the Earl’s dispatches from the Netherlands in 1586.38 Amy’s other half-brother, Arthur Robsart, an illegitimate son of her father, always had a good relationship with Robert Dudley, who had sent for him to monitor the 1560 inquest as he had for Appleyard. In 1589, after Dudley’s own death, he wrote in a letter of ‟my chief friend gone the Earl of Leicester“.39
If Appleyard had really known anything interesting about his half-sister’s death, would not Robert Dudley have found means to remove him from the scene entirely? After a murder there often follow strange and convenient deaths of potential witnesses. Why could the supposed killer Verney live out his days in peace? Would not have Dudley have him prosecuted or at the least – killed? He died in 1569 in his bed.
Sir Richard Verney from Warwickshire had been a life-long member of the Dudley affinity and had deputized for Lord Robert as Lord-Lieutenant in the county in 1559/1560.40 There survives a single letter of his to Dudley, from April 1560: writing from Warwick, he explains that he is unable to come to court because of his bad health and lack of money; he also apologizes for the death of some of Lord Robert’s hawks that had been in the keeping of his cousin:
I have good hope you will think … no wilful negligence in your man, who I assure you taketh the mischance marvellous grievously. Except your Lordship by your letters seem something to comfort him, I believe it will do him hurt. He grieveth a great deal the more that they should miscarry in his guiding considering that he hath had knowledge and long experience of the keeping of hawks.41
Verney’s son George was a spendthrift (‟the unthrift“, calls him Leicester) and when he died he left a young child for whom the Earl desperately wanted to have the wardship from the Master of the Court of Wards, William Cecil. Uncharacteristically for the system, this wardship brought with it only costs for the guardian and Leicester involved himself very personally in saving the young Edward Verney’s inheritance from ruin.42 Leicester (who was fond of children) was apparently watching over his upbringing: ‟Sir John hath great care in bringing him up, and so have I chiefly, till he be a little bigger to go to some other place to get more knowledge“.43 This means a certain closeness to the Verneys, though hardly repayment for a murder done 15 years earlier.
There is no hint that anyone who knew Robert Dudley well believed his first wife to have been killed by the hand of an assassin. With the passage of time the notion of Amy Dudley’s murder rather became a part of political folklore alongside a number of later would-be scandals surrounding the ‟great Earl“, who was very much a celebrity persecuted by forerunners of the press. Thus, when various agents informed Philip II of Robert Dudley’s death on 4 September 1588 at Cornbury Park near Oxford, predictably one of the reports went: ‟Leicester died almost suddenly on his way to the baths, and in the same house as that in which he had caused his wife to be killed, the master of it having invited him to dinner.“44
Unlike the alternatives of accident and suicide, the murder scenario faces a number of larger questions that are seldom addressed: Could Robert Dudley really have survived, physically and politically, if he had been guilty? After losing 55% of his immediate family between 1553 and 1557 alone, would he have risked the axe for murder, having narrowly escaped it once for high treason? Why did other courtiers and statesmen obviously believe him innocent of his wife’s death? Why did his enemies, people of very high social standing, never succeed in destroying him? Why were they prepared to spend huge sums in futile attempts to accuse him of murder? Why did people who would have known of the deed, or even committed it themselves, die natural deaths decades later? Would Queen Elizabeth really have perverted justice to such a degree and condoned a murder which affected her honour so deeply? How could she have continued to have utter trust in the man she regarded as ‟another ourself“?45
There are enough sources so as to make them fitting for every scenario, especially in an age that is in love with conspiracy theories. This is perhaps best illustrated by Amy Robsart’s second (and last) surviving letter, to her London tailor:
Edney, with my hearty commendations this shall be to desire you to take the pains for me as to make this gown of velvet which I send you with such a collar as you made my russet taffeta gown you sent me last, & I will see you discharged for all. I pray you let it be done with as much speed as you can & sent by … the carrier of Oxford, & thus I bid you most heartily farewell from Cumnor this 24th of August.
Your assured friend,
It has been argued that a woman who writes such a lively, normal letter can neither be ill nor depressive, and therefore she cannot have killed herself just 15 days later, and since an accident is statistically unlikely she must have been murdered. Something is missing in the equation: The statistical improbability of murder. It would arguably have been the only case of high society wife-killing in England during the entire 16th century.
The Death of Amy Robsart: Accident? Or Suicide?
1 CSP Span I p. 112
2 Skidmore 2010 pp. 167 – 168
3 Adams 1995 p. 151
4 Loades 2004 p. 269
5 Adams 1995 p. 33
6 Adams 1995 p. 34
7 Adams, Archer, Bernard 2003 pp. 41, 43; Adams 1995 pp. 34 – 35
8 Adams, Archer, Bernard 2003 pp. 66, 67
9 Adams 2004
10 Loades 2009 p. 212
11 Skidmore 2010 p. 369
12 Skidmore 2010 pp. 369 – 370; Bernard 2000 p. 170 – 171
13 Adams, Archer, Bernard 2003 p. 66
14 HMC Bath V p. 168; Adams 1995 p. 470
15 Adams 1995 passim
16 Adlard 1870 p. 40
17 CSP Span I pp. 178 – 179
18 Gristwood 2007 p. 112
19 Skidmore 2010 p. 244
20 Doran 1996 p. 45
21 Skidmore 2010 p. 253
22 Lehmberg 2004
23 Adams 1995 p. 349
24 Skidmore 2010 p. 237
25 Gristwood 2007 p. 119
26 Wilson 1981 pp. 188 – 190
27 CSP Span I p. 213
28 HMC Salisbury I p. 350
29 Hume 1904 p. 110
30 HMC Salisbury I p. 350
31 HMC Salisbury I p. 350; Williams 1964 p. 180
32 HMC Salisbury I pp. 350, 345 – 346
33 Skidmore 2010 p. 305
34 HMC Salisbury I pp. 345 – 346
35 Williams 1964 pp. 174, 180 – 182
36 Wilson 1981 p. 183
37 HMC Pepys p. 119
38 Adams 1995 p. 362
39 Adams 1995 p. 483
40 Adams 2002 pp. 154, 164
41 HMC Bath V p. 156
42 Adlard 1870 pp. 92 – 95; Haynes 1987 p. 124
43 Adlard 1870 p. 95
44 CSP Span IV p. 431
45 Lovell 2006 p. 265. In a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury, 25 June1577.
46 Skidmore 2010 p. 192
Calendar of … State Papers Relating to English Affairs … in … Simancas, 1558–1603. (ed. by Martin Hume, 1892–1899). HMSO.
Calendar of the Manuscripts of … The Marquess of Salisbury … Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire. Volume I. (1883) Historical Manuscripts Commission. HMSO.
Report on the Pepys Manuscripts Preserved at Magdalen College, Cambridge. (1911) Historical Manuscripts Commission. HMSO.
Manuscripts of The Marquess of Bath Volume V: Talbot, Dudley and Devereux Papers 1533–1659. (1980) Historical Manuscripts Commission. HMSO.
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Adams, Simon (2002): Leicester and the Court: Essays in Elizabethan Politics. Manchester University Press.
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Adams, Simon; Archer, Ian; Bernard, G. W. (eds.) (2003): ‟A ‘Journall’ of Matters of State happened from time to time as well within and without the Realme from and before the Death of King Edw. the 6th untill the Yere 1562“ in: Ian Archer (ed.): Religion, Politics, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England. Cambridge University Press.
Adlard, George (1870): Amye Robsart and the Earl of Leycester. John Russell Smith.
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Doran, Susan (1996): Monarchy and Matrimony: The Courtships of Elizabeth I. Routledge.
Gristwood, Sarah (2007): Elizabeth and Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics. Viking.
Haynes, Alan (1987): The White Bear: The Elizabethan Earl of Leicester. Peter Owen.
Hume, Martin (1904): The Courtships of Queen Elizabeth. Eveleigh Nash & Grayson.
Jenkins, Elizabeth (2002): Elizabeth and Leicester. The Phoenix Press.
Lehmberg, Stanford (2004): ‟Throckmorton, Sir Nicholas (1515/16–1571)“. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
Loades, David (2004): Intrigue and Treason: The Tudor Court, 1547–1558. Pearson/Longman.
Loades; David (2009): The Tudor Queens of England. Hambledon Continuum.
Lovell, M. S. (2006): Bess of Hardwick: First Lady of Chatsworth. Abacus.
Skidmore, Chris (2010): Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Williams, Neville (1964): Thomas Howard, Fourth Duke of Norfolk. Barrie & Rockliff.
Wilson, Derek (1981): Sweet Robin: A Biography of Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester 1533–1588. Hamish Hamilton.
First published on 16 April 2011 at thehistoryfiles.com