The Tudor Society

27 July 1588 – Leicester invites Elizabeth I to Tilbury

Robert Dudley

On this day in history, the 27th July 1588, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and the Lieutenant and Captain General of the Queen's Armies and Companies, invited Elizabeth I to visit Tilbury, where he was busy assembling troops. If you read my post from yesterday, you will know that 4,000 men had been assembled at Tilbury Fort on 26th July 1588 to guard the eastern approach to London from the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada.

The reason for his invitation was to stop his beloved Queen and childhood friend from doing what she was threatening, that is riding to the south coast to be with her troops meeting the Duke of Parma's (Governor of the Spanish Netherlands) forces as they landed. Leicester wrote to Elizabeth inviting her to come and "comfort" the forces gathered at Tilbury, saying "you shall, dear lady, behold as goodly, as loyal and as able men as any prince Christian can show you" and assuring her that he personally would be in charge of her safety because she was "the most dainty and sacred thing we have in this world to care for, a man must tremble when he thinks of it."

Also on this day, the Spanish Armada dropped anchor just off Calais, near where Parma had gathered 16,000 men at Dunkirk. The Spaniards were getting ready to invade!

Previously shared on The Elizabeth Files.

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