Who’s Who?

ROBERT DUDLEY EARL OF LEICESTER (1532-1588),
Elizabeth I’s lifelong friend and “Sweet Robin”, Master of the Horse, privy councillor, Governor-General of the United Provinces, and much, much more! Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

AMBROSE DUDLEY EARL OF WARWICK (c.1531-1590),
an elder brother of Robert Dudley, who became very close to him. Elizabeth I made him Master of the Ordnance and gave him his father’s title of Earl of Warwick, thus restoring the Dudleys to the high nobility. Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

AMY DUDLEY née ROBSART (1532-1560),
the first wife of Robert Dudley; her death at the foot of a flight of stairs continues to cause speculation and her widower a bad press. Amy Robsart

SIR ANDREW DUDLEY (c.1507-1559),
a younger brother of John Dudley and an accomplished soldier who gained a position of trust in Edward VI’s privy chamber, being in charge of the king’s privy purse. Andrew Dudley

ANNE DUDLEY née RUSSELL (1548/9-1604),
the third wife of Ambrose Dudley, with whom she had a happy marriage; as a widow she became one of Queen Elizabeth’s closest friends. Anne Russell, Countess of Warwick

DOUGLAS SHEFFIELD née HOWARD (1542/3-1608),
Robert Dudley’s lover in the early-mid 1570s and mother of his son, Sir Robert Dudley. She married Sir Edward Stafford in 1579 and went with him to France, where she became a friend of Catherine de Medici. Egged on by her son, in 1605 she unsuccessfully claimed in a court case that she had been secretly married to the Earl of Leicester. Douglas Sheffield

EDMUND DUDLEY (1471/2-1510),
father of John and Andrew Dudley, he was a very successful advisor to Henry VII, but was executed on Henry VIII’s accession. Edmund Dudley

GUILDFORD DUDLEY (d.1554),
second youngest brother of Robert Dudley, and husband of Lady Jane Grey. Executed on the same day as his wife. Guildford Dudley

HENRY DUDLEY (d.1557),
the youngest son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, he fought with his brothers Ambrose and Robert at the Battle of St. Quentin, where he was killed by a cannonball.

JANE DUDLEY née GUILDFORD (1508/9-1555),
the wife of John Dudley, and mother of Robert and his 12 siblings. She desperately tried to save her husband and sons in 1553 and made friends among the incoming Spanish nobles in 1554, which contributed to her surviving sons’ release in the same year. Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland

JEROME DUDLEY,
a brother of John and Andrew Dudley, and destined for the church by his father. However, he was mentally or physically incapacitated and needed care. Still alive in 1556.

JOHN DUDLEY DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND (1504-1553),
also Earl of Warwick and Viscount Lisle. The father of Robert Dudley and for a short time the father-in-law of Lady Jane Grey. “Arguably the most evil statesman to govern England during the sixteenth century” (popular author Alison Weir) – “one of the most remarkably able governors of any European state during the sixteenth century“ (Professor Dale Hoak). John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland

JOHN DUDLEY EARL OF WARWICK (1530-1554),
became the heir of his father John in 1544 after the death of his eldest brother, and was styled Earl of Warwick after his father became Duke of Northumberland. In June 1550 he married Anne Seymour, the Duke of Somerset’s and former Protector’s daughter. He died in October 1554, only days after his release from the Tower of London. John Dudley, Earl of Warwick

KATHERINE HASTINGS née DUDLEY (c.1543-1620),
the youngest sister of Robert Dudley, she was “married” as a child to Henry Hastings, the heir of the Earl of Huntingdon. Though childless, the marriage was happy, and she dedicated herself to the education of young gentlewomen. Katherine Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon

LETTICE DUDLEY née KNOLLYS (1543-1634),
mother of the ill-starred Earl of Essex, rumoured lover, and from 1578 wife of Robert Dudley. Termed a “she-wolf” by the jealous Queen Elizabeth. Lettice Knollys

MARY SIDNEY née DUDLEY (d.1586),
eldest daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and mother of the poet Sir Philip Sidney. One of Elizabeth I’s favourite ladies, she caught smallpox while nursing the queen. Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney

ROBERT DUDLEY LORD DENBIGH (1581-1584),
Robert and Lettice Dudley’s little son and heir, who died suddenly in July 1584, aged three. His lovely tomb is in the Beauchamp Chapel of St. Mary’s Church, Warwick.

SIR ROBERT DUDLEY (1574-1649),
the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley and Lady Douglas Sheffield, he unsuccessfully sued for his father’s and uncle’s titles in the early 1600s. After that he went to Italy and became an expert in engineering, map making, and mathematics. The Holy Roman Emperor granted him the use of his grandfather’s title, “Duca di Northumbria”. Sir Robert Dudley

4 Responses to Who’s Who?

  1. Bobbi Sutton says:

    As an American, I get so confused by the Sutton/Dudley names. I have read that Dudley is an alias of Sutton and they are one in the same people. Are these Dudley’s also Suttons?

    • Yes, they were originally the Suttons of Dudley Castle. The whole clan no longer used the name Sutton during much of the 15th and 16th centuries, it seems, and had switched to Dudley, but in 1584 a pamphlet still spoke of Leicester as Robert Dudley alias Sutton.

  2. Jane C. says:

    Do you have any ideas of people today who may be descendants of the Dudley’s, Sackville’s, Howards, or Smythes? And/or any connection between the British East India Company and/or the American’s who might be descendants today?

    • Hi, regarding Dudley family descendants in America there is a book called The Sutton-Dudleys of England and the Dudleys of Massachusetts, in New England by George Adlard, who was a Victorian author. His work is certainly serious scholarship, although maybe outdated in places. It should be on Google Books or Archives.org or available as a reprint.

Comments are closed.