Category Archives: errors & myths

Did Lady Jane Grey Wear Chopines?

The following supposed eyewitness description of Lady Jane Grey is from a 1909 book, Lady Jane Grey, by Richard Davey: ‘”This Jane is very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful. … The new Queen was mounted on very … Continue reading

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Handkerchiefs and Tennis

On 31 March 1565, the English ambassador in Scotland reported to the former English ambassador in France an incident that had (probably) occurred at Hampton Court. He had heard it from the Earl of Atholl, a grandee at the court … Continue reading

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Did Good Queen Bess Kill More People for Religion than Bloody Mary?

Did Mary I kill fewer people because of religion than Elizabeth I? – The short answer is no. I have seen many claims over the last few years on the internet that Mary I executed fewer people on grounds of … Continue reading

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Did Robert Dudley Have a Spy in Margaret Douglas’ Household?

Did Robert Dudley employ a spy in Margaret Douglas’ household at Temple Newsam in Yorkshire in the early 1560s? According to a number of Margaret’s and her son Darnley’s biographers, yes. The claim seems to rest on a single document. … Continue reading

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Robert Dudley’s Noble Ancestors

According to the book Leicester’s Commonwealth (written in about 1584 by angry Catholic exiles), Robert Dudley had “but two ancestors”. Those being his father, John Dudley, and his grandfather, Edmund Dudley. John Dudley in turn became Viscount Lisle, Earl of … Continue reading

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How Much Did Lettice Knollys Resemble Queen Elizabeth I?

It is often said that Lettice Knollys, Robert Dudley’s second wife, bore a remarkable resemblance to her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Because Robert Dudley risked his favoured position with Elizabeth when he married Lettice, biographers have sometimes … Continue reading

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In Luctu Terminantur or To End in Grief

William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s chief minister, had a habit of preparing memoranda for his own later use. He would make lists of things and arguments he found worth remembering. Two of these lists concern Robert Dudley and his role as … Continue reading

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What Did Elizabeth and Essex Shout At Each Other?

According to court gossip a famous scene occurred in 1598, when a handful of councillors met Queen Elizabeth I to discuss the appointment of a new Lord Deputy of Ireland. The Earl of Essex, the queen’s favourite and formerly the … Continue reading

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A Grand Conspiracy in 1553? – Foreign Affairs

On 13 March 1553 the English privy council busied itself with granting a licence for the export of 200,000 pairs of old shoes.1 On 27 June 1553 the members of the same council swore themselves to secrecy about their forthcoming … Continue reading

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A Grand Conspiracy in 1553? – Parliament

Historians have disagreed considerably on deciding when exactly the Duke of Northumberland’s plot to plant his son Guildford on the English throne – by marrying him to Lady Jane Grey – came into being. Traditionally this happened quite early, sometime … Continue reading

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