The Tudor Society

10 October – The burial of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I catches smallpox

On this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, according to his instructions.

His funeral was well-attended and his widow, Lettice, a woman known by Elizabeth I as "the she-wolf", erected a monument to "her best and dearest husband" in the chapel, which was also the resting place of the couple's young son, Robert, "the noble impe".

Find out more about Leicester's funeral and resting place, and see some photos of his tomb...

Also on this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1562, twenty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth I was taken ill at Hampton Court Palace.

It was thought that it was just a bad cold, but it turned out that the queen had smallpox.

Elizabeth became seriously ill and it was thought that she would die, causing panic over the succession, but Elizabeth recovered and reigned until 1603.

She was nursed by her good friend, Mary Sidney, who also came down with smallpox and was badly disfigured by it.

Find out more...

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. R

    I visited Saint John’s Collegiate Church, the famous Beauchamp Chapel of the Earls of Warwick pre Covid and the Golden Spiral Framed tomb of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury as well as magnificent tomb of Robert Dudley and his wife Lettice are really something to see. They are truly wonderful and over the top. Ambrose Dudley, his brother is also there, as is his son, Robert Dudley, known as the Imp. The video days he was three and our Claire is probably right but the inscription notice read nine, which I think is a mistake. The entire Chapel is wonderful as is the Church and the old crypt is worth a separate visit.

    Poor Mary Sidney, not only did Elizabeth give her smallpox because of her devotion in nursing her but she tried to pass her off to Ivan the Terrible as a wife as well.

  2. J

    After recently doing our family history and genealogy, to my surprise discovered that Robert Dudley is my 12th great grandfather and lettice is 12th great grandmother. Thank you for providing your very informative accounts . As you can imagine I was surprised and spent two days fact checking over and over.
    Loving your factual stories and my sister and I are planning to visit the tombs too. Thank you. Julie

Leave a Reply

10 October – The burial of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I catches smallpox