fbpx
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…

    [Read More...]
  • 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…

    [Read More...]
  • 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…

    [Read More...]
  • 4 September – Another marriage is arranged for Henry VIII and the death of Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1539, William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII.

    Anne would of course become Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    Find out all about the marriage agreement and its terms, and what happened next…

    [Read More...]
  • 28 August – Robert Dudley’s last letter to Elizabeth and Mary receives an unwelcome visit

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1588, an ailing Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I. He wrote it while on his way to Buxton, in Derbyshire, to take the waters for his health.

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

    In this video, I share a transcript of Robert Dudley’s last letter, and talk about Elizabeth I’s reaction to his subsequent death.

    [Read More...]
  • 7 August – Sir Robert Dudley, Dudley’s illegitimate son

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1574, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s illegitimate son, Sir Robert Dudley, was born at Sheen.

    Find out more about Sir Robert Dudley, who grew up to be a mariner, cartographer and landowner, in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

    [Read More...]
  • 9 July – Elizabeth I visits Robert Dudley’s castle

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1575, Queen Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, home of her favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Her stay would be a long one, 19 days!

    Find out a bit more about her stay at Kenilworth Castle in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

    [Read More...]
  • 3 December – Roger North, a man close to Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd December 1600, sixty-nine-year-old peer and politician Roger North, 2nd Baron North, died at his London home.

    North was a good friend of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, accompanying him on trips, witnessing his secret marriage and serving with him in the Netherlands. It was even said that he’d converted Leicester to Puritanism! North also served Elizabeth I as Privy Councillor and Treasurer of the Household and was close to the queen.

    Find out more about Leicester’s good friend Roger North, his life and career, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 10 October – The funeral of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Elizabeth I’s favourite

    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, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 22 September – The burial of Amy Dudley (née Robsart)

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd September 1560, Amy Dudley (née Robsart), wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried in the chancel of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.

    Amy had been found dead at the foot of the stairs of her home and the subsequent inquest had ruled her death as caused by “misfortune”. She was buried in a lavish ceremony which cost her widower over £2,000.

    Find out more about her burial, and who attended, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 28 August – Robert Dudley’s last letter to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1588, an ailing Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I. He wrote it while on his way to Buxton, in Derbyshire, to take the waters for his health.

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

    In today’s talk, I share a transcript of Robert Dudley’s last letter, and talk about Elizabeth I’s reaction to his subsequent death.

    [Read More...]
  • 24 June – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Elizabeth I’s favourite

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th June 1532, the feast of St John the Baptist, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and favourite of Elizabeth I, was born.

    Elizabeth I called Leicester her “eyes” and “sweet Robin” and there was gossip over their relationship, but there was far more to Robert Dudley than his closeness to the queen. Find out all about his life and career in today’s talk:

    [Read More...]
  • 11 December – Robert Dudley’s lover and mother of his son

    On this day in history, 11th December 1608, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s former ladies and a lover of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Her name was Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield, and she was the mother of Leicester’s illegitimate son, Sir Robert Dudley.

    Find out more about Douglas Sheffield, who claimed to be Leicester’s legal wife, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 7 October – The man who helped Robert Dudley propose to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1577, author, poet, courtier and soldier George Gascoigne died in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

    Gascoigne was a gifted poet and was hired in 1575 by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to provide entertainment for Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Leicester’s home, Kenilworth Castle. This was Leicester’s last ditch attempt at getting 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, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 29 September – Elizabeth I tickles Robert Dudley while making him an earl

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1564, Michaelmas, the queen’s favourite, Robert Dudley, was made Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh in front of the Scottish ambassador, Sir James Melville.

    Elizabeth I made Dudley an earl so that he’d be suitable as a potential bridegroom for Mary, Queen of Scots, but she couldn’t refrain from a display of affection during the ceremony, tickling him on the neck!

    In today’s talk, I explain why Elizabeth I was prepared to marry her favourite off to Mary, Queen of Scots, what happened on this day in 1564, and what happened next.

    [Read More...]
  • 21 September – Robert Dudley’s secret marriage

    On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 21st September 1578, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, married Lettice Dereveux (née Knollys) in a secret marriage at his house. So secret was it that he only told his chaplain and his friends the day before.

    Leicester was marrying the woman Elizabeth I had dubbed “the she-wolf”, so he knew that his queen would not be happy.

    In today’s talk, I give details of this secret wedding along with some facts about the bride, Lettice Knollys.

    [Read More...]
  • 8 September – The mysterious death of Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th September 1560, the body of Amy Dudley (née Robsart), wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was found at the bottom of some stairs in her rented home, Cumnor Place in Oxfordshire.

    What had happened to Amy? Was her death a result of “misfortune”, as decided by the coroner, or was it suicide or murder? Did Robert Dudley kill his wife? Did William Cecil kill Amy?

    In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society, examines what happened that day and the theories regarding Amy Robsart’s mysterious death, an event that definitely put an end to the idea that Elizabeth I could ever marry Robert Dudley.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 8 August – Elizabeth I accepts Robert Dudley’s invitation

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th August 1588, Queen Elizabeth I decided to accept Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s invitation to visit the troops he had gathered near Tilbury Fort to guard the eastern approach to London from the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk, I explain why Leicester invited his queen to visit the troops – there was more to it than just boosting morale.

    [Read More...]
  • 4 June – Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart get married

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th June 1550, sweethearts Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart tied the knot at the royal palace of Sheen at Richmond in a service attended by King Edward VI.

    This marriage was a love-match, but it lasted just ten years, ending with Amy’s death in 1560, a death which is surrounded by controversy.

    I share an excerpt from my book “On This Day in Tudor History” in today’s video.

    [Read More...]
  • The Dudley Family Quiz

    This week’s Sunday quiz tests your knowledge of one of my very favourite Tudor families, the Dudleys.

    How much do you know about them?

    Find out in this fun quiz!

    [Read More...]
  • Robert Dudley is made Earl of Leicester – 29 September 1564

    On this day in history, 29th September 1564, Robert Dudley was made Earl of Leicester, an earldom which had been planned earlier in the year to make him more acceptable as a bridegroom to Mary, Queen of Scots. This earldom was an important one, having previously been held by royal princes like John of Gaunt and Henry of Bolingbroke (Henry IV). Although Dudley behaved impeccably at the ceremony, the queen did not. As she put the chain of earldom around Dudley’s neck, she “could not refrain from putting her hand in his neck to kittle him smilingly.” A loving gesture and perhaps one that was meant to reassure Dudley that he was still hers.

    [Read More...]
  • Robert Dudley Resources

    As it is the anniversary of the death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, on 4th September 1588, I thought it would be good to share links to some Robert Dudley resources we have here on the Tudor Society website.

    [Read More...]
  • Douglas Sheffield, Baroness Sheffield (c.1542/3-1608)

    Douglas Sheffield, née Howard, was the oldest daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, Surrey, and his wife, Margaret Gamage. Her date of birth has been a source of debate among historians. However, Simon Adams has argued that the dates of 1542 and 1543 are the most likely due to her being seventeen upon her marriage in 1560. Her older brother was Charles Howard, 2nd Baron of Effingham and 1st Earl of Nottingham. Charles was a successful English statesman and Lord High Admiral under Elizabeth I and James I. Commander of the English forces, he was hugely influential during the Armada period and was renowned for having been a significant figure in the naval defence against Spanish invasion during the 1590s. Douglas was part of a distinguished and notorious noble family that had been instrumental in court politics since the early sixteenth century. While her father held the title of baron, his half-brother was the Duke of Norfolk, William enjoyed a successful career under all four of the Tudor monarchs, and this favour ensured his daughter made a good marriage; Douglas married John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. The couple had two surviving children: Edmund Sheffield, later 1st Earl of Mulgrave, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormonde. The newly married couple were received well by the queen, who provided a wedding gift on 27th October 1560.

    [Read More...]
  • Kenilworth Castle and Elizabeth I’s 1575 visit

    I am very excited about going back to Kenilworth Castle in September on the Discover the Tudors Tour as it’s been nearly 8 years since I was last there, and it’s a place that is dear to me. I studied at Warwick University, just a few miles from the castle, so I have been many times and it never fails to have an effect on me.

    In this talk, I look at the Dudley family’s links to Kenilworth Castle and the preparations for Elizabeth I’s 19-day visit there in 1575. I hope you enjoy it.

    [Read More...]
  • Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen – Wednesday 7th March

    Thank you to Dr Elizabeth Goldring for letting me know about the TV programme Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen which will be broadcast in the UK tomorrow, Wednesday 7th March, at 9pm on BBC4. Elizabeth was involved in the programme and told me that the show attempts to re-create the fireworks display that Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, organised for Queen Elizabeth I at Kenilworth Castle in 1575 – how wonderful!

    Here’s the trailer for the programme:

    [Read More...]
  • 21 February 1590 – The death of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance, Privy Councillor and fourth son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, at Bedford House on the Strand in 1590. He was laid to rest in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. You can read more about Ambrose in my bio of him – Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick.

    I have a real fondness for the Dudley family and was very moved when I visited the tombs of Ambrose, his brother Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Robert’s wife, Lettice, and Robert’s little boy, Robert Dudley, Lord Denbigh, “the noble imp” as his tomb says.

    Here are some photos I took at the church in Warwick. By the way, the crowns are earls’ coronets rather than royal crowns.

    [Read More...]
  • Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley Quiz

    Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get your thinking cap on, make yourself comfortable and test your knowledge of this famous Tudor couple with our Sunday quiz. Good luck!

    [Read More...]
  • Robert Dudley: His Last Letter

    On this day in history, 28th August 1588, an ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote what would be his final letter to his queen and life-long friend, Elizabeth I.

    I want to take this opportunity to share the Claire Chats video talk that I did on this subject back in September 2016. I hope you enjoy the talk.

    [Read More...]
  • Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Kenilworth Castle

    This day in history, 9th July 1575, was the first day of a 19-day-long stay for Elizabeth I at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, home of her great friend, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

    This visit was significant as it was the longest stay at a courtier’s house in any of Elizabeth’s royal progresses, and Leicester went to extraordinary lengths to impress his friend and queen, probably as a last-ditch attempt to woo her and win her hand in marriage.

    [Read More...]
Cart
  • No products in the cart.