Category Archives: family & marriage

The Lovesick Earl, Part II

The quarrel between the Earl of Leicester and Sir Thomas Heneage continued into 1566, though at some point it must have died down because 20 years later, when Elizabeth sent Heneage to rebuke Leicester in the Netherlands, he showed so … Continue reading

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The Lovesick Earl, Part I

By 1565, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, ambassador first to France and then to Scotland, had become Leicester’s “political brain”.1 As will appear, he had also become the chief advisor of the earl’s love life. – For the first time since falling … Continue reading

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Leicester as Stepfather

Robert Dudley was fond of children.1 As a young uncle he had taken a fancy to his five-year-old nephew Philip Sidney, an affection which lasted for a lifetime; when he visited William of Orange in 1582 the prince’s wife was … Continue reading

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The Marriage of Mary Dudley

On 29 March 1551 Lady Mary Dudley married Henry Sidney, in private; on 17 May 1551 she married him once again, this time in public, at her parents’ house, Ely Place, London. Henry Sidney was 22 in 1551, and he … Continue reading

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John Dudley’s Youth: In Kent, at Court, in France

Edmund Dudley’s decapitated body was buried in the precincts of the Blackfriars monastery in the west of the City of London. Fifteen months later, in November 1511, his widow remarried, on the king’s command; the lucky bridegroom was Arthur Plantagenet, … Continue reading

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John Dudley’s Childhood, in London

John Dudley was born between February 1504 and February 1505,1 probably in London, Candlewick Street. Apparently, he was named after his grandfather, Sir John Dudley of Atherington, himself a younger son of another John, the formidable first Baron of Dudley … Continue reading

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Acquitted, Delivered, Discharged

In November 1579, on a Tuesday afternoon, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote one of his most personal letters; addressed to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, it speaks about his relationship with the queen like no other. A couple of months … Continue reading

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The Earl of Leicester’s Fool

It is well known that Elizabeth I did not suffer fools gladly. Indeed, while she enjoyed to be entertained by the likes of Richard Tarlton, that is outright clowns, her sense of humour had its limits when it came to … Continue reading

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Robert Dudley’s Childhood

On 24 June 1532 (or, possibly, 1533) Lady Jane Dudley, the wife of Sir John Dudley, gave birth to her fifth son, Robert. It was a holiday with much street celebration in England, the Feast of St. John the Baptist. … Continue reading

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Letter to a Lady

“This appears to be a Love Letter”, an 18th century clerk endorsed one of Robert Dudley’s most remarkable writings. The four large pages in his own handwriting to an unknown lady, doubtless his lover Douglas Sheffield, give an inside view … Continue reading

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