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The Tudor Society
  • October 10 – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1588, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the queen’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried.

    He was laid to rest in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, according to his instructions.

    Leicester’s funeral was well-attended and his widow, Lettice (née Knollys), a woman known by Elizabeth I as “the she-wolf”, erected a monument to “her best and dearest husband” in the chapel. The chapel is also the resting place of the couple’s young son, Robert, “the noble impe”, Lettice, and Leicester’s brother, Ambrose.

    Find out more about Leicester’s funeral and resting place, and see some photos of his tomb…

    [Read More...]
  • 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…

    [Read More...]
  • September 29 – An intimate moment between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1564, Michaelmas, Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, was made Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh.

    Dudley was made earl in a ceremony in front of the Scottish ambassador, Sir James Melville, as the queen was granting him the earldom to make him a suitable potential bridegroom for Mary, Queen of Scots.

    There was a moment of intimacy during the proceedings – Elizabeth I tickled Robert Dudley’s neck!

    [Read More...]
  • September 22 – Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley, is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd September 1560, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Amy Dudley (née Robsart) was buried in the chancel of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.

    Amy, who was married to Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, had been found dead at the foot of the stairs of the house she was renting. The coroner ruled her death as caused by “misfortune”.

    Amy was buried in a lavish ceremony at St Mary’s, a funeral which cost Robert Dudley over £2,000.

    Find out more about her burial, and who attended…

    [Read More...]
  • September 4 – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, dies.

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died at Cornbury.

    He was 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”.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • July 27 – Robert Dudley wanted to keep Elizabeth I out of harm’s way

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th July 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote to Queen Elizabeth I with an invitation. He was intent on keeping the queen, the woman he loved, out of harm’s way.

    What was his invitation?

    [Read More...]
  • July 9 – Mary I wants to avoid bloodshed and vengeance, and Elizabeth I visits Leicester’s home

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1553, Mary (the future Mary I), daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, wrote to her late half-brother’s privy council regarding “some evil” that she had heard.

    This was three days after Edward VI’s death and the day after Mary had proclaimed herself queen at at Kenninghall.

    But what was going on? What had Mary heard and was she going to do about it?

    Find out more about the situation and Mary’s letter…

    [Read More...]
  • June 24 – Happy birthday, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

    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…

    [Read More...]
  • June 4 – Robert Dudley gets married, and lightning strikes St Paul’s

    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.

    Find out more…

    [Read More...]
  • 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...]