Category Archives: Netherlands

Robert Dudley’s Health

Robert Dudley was a fit man – an excellent dancer and horseman of athletic built. Even his diet was (according to our standards) reasonably healthy: He abhorred the heavy drinking habits of his time and had a taste for salads … Continue reading

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The Peace Portrait: The Significance of the Little Dog

One of the most beautiful portraits of Elizabeth I is the so-called Peace Portrait, and it has long been associated with the Earl of Leicester. The queen, symbolizing the goddess of peace, Pax, holds an olive branch and stands on … Continue reading

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The Earl of Leicester Goes Fishing

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, liked salads, artichokes (from his own garden), and fish. Unlike King Philip II, who loved to go fishing1 but did not eat fish. (He secured a papal dispensation to eat meat on Fridays). For Robert … 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 Earl of Leicester’s Social Conscience

According to Leicester’s Commonwealth, the Catholic libel of 1584, the Earl of Leicester was a rapacious upstart, persecuting the old and decent gentry families up and down the country. Local historians of the 17th century were much influenced by the … Continue reading

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A Collection of Princes

All principal residences of the Earl of Leicester boasted so-called long or great galleries, and all contained collections of paintings – early examples of the picture galleries which became so fashionable in the early 1600s. Whether at Leicester House on … Continue reading

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Robert Dudley The Ladies’ Man?

Robert Dudley, the ladies’ man? “Aliquando mulierosus, demum supra modum uxorius”, the historian William Camden described him – “much given to women and, finally, a good husband in excess”.1 He certainly always married for love: Amy Robsart on 4 June … Continue reading

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“This conceit of my ability”: The Earl of Leicester Is Offered Absolute Authority

Mr. Secretary, I came hither to the Hague, upon Monday last, where I was very honourably received, all the States being assembled together for that purpose, to make as much show as they could devise of their good wills to … Continue reading

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Departure and Arrival: Leicester and the Netherlands in 1585, Part II

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester left his country house at Wanstead on 5 December 1585 and spent the next two nights at Ingatestone, killing time,1 until he received the letter which finally confirmed that Her Majesty had signed “the assurance” … Continue reading

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Departure and Arrival: Leicester and the Netherlands in 1585, Part I

Elizabeth simply would not let him leave. For a good decade the Earl of Leicester had hoped to lead an expedition to the Netherlands in support of the “cause”, the Protestant revolt against King Philip of Spain. In the summer … Continue reading

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