The Tudor Society

4 September – The death of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I’s reaction

On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died at Cornbury while on his way to Buxton to take the waters for his health.

The death of her favourite, and the man that is considered to be her 'true love', was a devastating blow to Elizabeth I and her reaction to the news shows just how much she loved her "sweet Robin".

Leicester wrote to his queen just days before his death and "His Last Letter" was something that Elizabeth I treasured for the rest of her life.

Find out more about Leicester's death, his last letter and Elizabeth's grief in today's video.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1504 – Birth of Antoine de Noailles, soldier and French diplomat at the English court in Mary I's reign, at Château de la Fage.
  • 1539 - William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII. The Duke then sent the treaty to England, where it was ratified and concluded by early October.
  • 1550 – Death of Sir Thomas Paston, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
  • 1590 – Death of Sir James Croft, Lord Deputy of Ireland, member of Parliament and conspirator. Croft was one of the leaders of Wyatt's Rebellion in 1554, but although he was sentenced to death for treason, he was eventually released and pardoned. He served Elizabeth I as Comptroller of the Household, but was imprisoned briefly in her reign for negotiating with the Duke of Parma without permission. Croft was buried at Westminster Abbey, in the Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

There are 3 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    It is such a sad story. It’s a shame she couldn’t have marriage, or some kind of relationship with him beyond being her favorite. Thanks for sharing the letter. Michelle t

    1. C - Post Author

      I get so choked up thinking about Elizabeth’s reaction to his death, it’s so moving.

  2. R

    The three words Elizabeth wrote show how deeply she cared for her only true love…His Last Letter.
    Really moving, thank you.

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4 September – The death of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I’s reaction