The Tudor Society

10 October – Elizabeth I comes down with Smallpox

On this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1562, twenty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth I was taken ill at Hampton Court Palace, with what was thought to be a bad cold. However, Elizabeth actually had smallpox.

It was thought that the queen would die, so there was panic over the succession, and it was at this point that Elizabeth chose Robert Dudley as "protector of the kingdom". However, Elizabeth I survived and went on to reign until her death in March 1603.

Elizabeth was nursed by her good friend, Mary Sidney, who also came down with smallpox and was badly disfigured by it. Find out more in my video on her below today's one.

You can find out more about smallpox in my Claire Chats talk on the topic - click here.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1505 (10th or 11th) – Death of William Barons (Barnes), Bishop of London and former Master of the Rolls. He was buried at St Paul's Cathedral.
  • 1530 – Death of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquis of Dorset, magnate, soldier and courtier. He was buried at Astley Collegiate Church in Warwickshire. Grey's offices included Constable of Warwick Castle and of Kenilworth Castle, and he also acted as Chief Answerer at the marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon. Grey was also the grandfather of Lady Jane Grey.
  • 1549 – Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, was ordered to leave Windsor Castle and to give himself up. He had moved there with the young Edward VI on the 6th October, from Hampton Court Palace, after learning that his protectorship was in danger.
  • 1588 – Funeral of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He was buried in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. M

    Yes, I remember that video about the Sidneys. I was struck with an intense interest (and, really, sorrow), for Mary Sidney, and haven’t forgotten it. I wonder about their marriage afterwards, because it was evident Henry Sidney regarded his wife highly, at least before the smallpox. Truly a sad story all around. Except that Elizabeth recovered well, of course. The end of the video, the one about the Sidneys, when you mention how embittered they became, reminded me of another one of my favorite Tudor stories (or anecdotes). When Henry Carey, Baron Hundston, was dying (was it the 1590’s?), Elizabeth was going to make him an earl, but he turned her down, saying something to the effect of, if I didn’t deserve it during my lifetime why should I have it in my dying days?. Anyway, fascinating. Truly fascinating. Michelle t

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10 October – Elizabeth I comes down with Smallpox