The Tudor Society
  • October 7 – George Gascoigne, a man who helped Robert Dudley with a marriage proposal

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1577, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, George Gascoigne died in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

    As well as being an author and soldier, Gascoigne was a gifted poet. He was hired by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in 1575 to provide entertainment for the queen’s visit to Leicester’s home, Kenilworth Castle. Leicester was going to make one final attempt to persuade the queen to marry him, and he hoped Gascoigne could help him.

    Find out all about Gascoigne’s masque, Zabeta, and what happened at Kenilworth…

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  • August 28 – Robert Dudley writes his last letter to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1588, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote to his queen and childhood friend.

    Leicester wrote the letter to Elizabeth I while on his way to Buxton, in Derbyshire, to take the waters for his health. He was very ill.

    The letter is very special because following his death in September 1588, Elizabeth labelled it “His Last Letter” and kept it close by her until her own death in 1603.

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  • 7 October – A poet hired to woo Elizabeth I and there’s bad news for Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1529, Pope Clement VII wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    It wasn’t good news. Catherine of Aragon had won this battle, with the pope deciding that the marriage was valid, but she hadn’t won the war. Henry VIII did get the marriage annulled in the end, but the pope didn’t do it.

    But what was going on? Why wouldn’t the pope help? What was Henry VIII’s argument for an annulment and on what grounds did Catherine appeal?

    Find out more…

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  • 29 September – A papal legate arrives and Robert Dudley receives an earldom

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1528, the papal legate, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio, landed at Dover on the Kent coast.

    Campeggio and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who had been appointed the pope’s vice-regent, were given the task of hearing Henry VIII’s case for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    Find out more about what happened when next, what happened at the special legatine court, and how Henry ended up waiting for his annulment for a few more years…

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  • Expert Talk – Robin Maxwell and Christopher Gortner on Elizabeth and Dudley

    This month’s expert speakers (two!) are Robin Maxwell and Christopher Gortner, who I interviewed about relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. These two amazing historians and authors have quite different views about this fascinating relationship, and their knowledge is really worth sharing.

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  • Robert Dudley – His Last Letter video

    In today’s Claire Chats, on the anniversary of Robert Dudley’s death on 4th September 1588, I talk about his death, the very last letter he wrote to Elizabeth I and her reaction to news of his death.

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