The Tudor Society
  • 8 February – The Queen’s favourite rebels

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th February 1601, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Queen Elizabeth I’s former favourite, did a rather foolish thing and raised a rebellion against the queen and her council.

    Spoilers: It didn’t go well and he ended up being executed as a traitor.

    Find out exactly what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 28 September 1599 – Robert Devereux upsets Elizabeth I

    On this day in history, 28th September 1599, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, strode into Queen Elizabeth I’s bedchamber unannounced and saw the Queen without her makeup or wig, without her “mask of youth”.

    Essex had been confirmed as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 30th December 1598 and he left England on 27th March 1599, arriving in Dublin on 14 April. His campaign against the Irish was unsuccessful. Essex had assumed that he’d be able to defeat the Earl of Tyrone and his men quickly, but as things dragged on he became disillusioned with the situation. Exhaustion, disillusionment and a fear that his enemies at court were undermining him and influencing the queen against him, led to him giving up on the Irish situation, making a truce with the Irish rebel leader (against the qqueen’s wishes) and returning to England without the queen’s permission. This amounted to desertion and disobedience, something which Elizabeth I could not and would not tolerate

    Devereux rushed back to court at Nonsuch Palace to offer an explanation but ended up making things worse when he strode into the queen’s bedchamber unannounced while she was getting ready:

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  • 8 February 1601 – Essex’s Rebellion

    On this day in history, Sunday 8th February 1601, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, his supporters and two hundred soldiers gathered at Essex House. Essex then marched into the city crying “For the Queen! For the Queen! The crown of England is sold to the Spaniard! A plot is laid for my life!”. However, the people ignored him and stayed indoors.

    Essex was forced to give up after his supporters deserted him, and he surrendered after Lord Admiral Nottingham threatened to blow up his house if he did not give himself up.

    Thomas Birch gives an account of the failed rebellion in his book…

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  • 25 February 1601 – The Execution of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

    At just before 8am on the 25th February 1601, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex was brought out of the Tower of London and walked to the scaffold. He was wearing a black velvet gown, black satin doublet and breeches and a black hat, which he took off as he climbed up onto the scaffold so that he could bow to the people gathered. He then made a speech acknowledging “with thankfulness to God, that he was justly spewed out of the realm”, and said:

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