Elizabeth I's Secret Lover: The Royal Affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Elizabeth I's Secret Lover: The Royal Affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

by Robert Stedall


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This eloquent biography of the most influential nobleman of the Elizabethan Age reveals how Robert Dudley brilliantly captivated the court of Elizabeth I—and the heart of a queen.

In many respects Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was the most significant statesman of the Elizabethan Age, ranking only behind the queen herself in precedence.

As a great impresario, he honored Elizabeth I to glittering effect and became the forerunner of Shakespearean theater, combining classicism with ribaldry. He attracted the financing of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation. He was the supporter of academic endeavor, of poetry, and of Puritan scholarship. By employing a network of his own secret agents, he provided information of crucial importance to the crown. As Master of the Horse, he developed English bloodstock to provide horses for royal and military requirements. He saw to it that England’s navy and army was properly prepared to meet Continental aggression when needed.

Lord Robert Dudley has faced criticism from historians by competing with William Cecil to gain the ear of Elizabeth I and thwarting his efforts to arrange a political marriage for her to protect against Catholic aggression from Spain. There can be no doubt that Elizabeth wanted to marry him. He was devastatingly attractive, athletic, and loyal. Perhaps most compelling to readers who enjoy royal scandal, this eloquent new book provides compelling evidence that the virgin queen spent time in her bed with him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643134727
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 07/07/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 274,951
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Robert Stedall is an expert historian on Tudor history and is the curator of the popular www.maryqueenofscots.net. He is the author of Mary Queen of Scots' Downfall and The Roots of Ireland's Troubles, but this is his first book to be published in America. Robert lives in England.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Maps x

Family Trees xii

Introduction xvii

Part 1 Pre-Elizabethan Ups And Downs

Prologue 2

Chapter 1 John Dudley, Viscount Lisle 5

Chapter 2 The Seymour brothers' rivalry 17

Chapter 3 Somerset's difficulties in Government 28

Chapter 4 Warwick establishes control 35

Chapter 5 Efforts to circumvent the succession of the Catholic Mary Tudor 45

Chapter 6 Events leading to Lady Jane Grey's execution 62

Chapter 7 Surviving Mary Tudor's reign of terror 72

Part 2 Elizabeth's Favourite

Chapter 8 Master of the Horse 84

Chapter 9 Elizabeth establishes herself as Queen 88

Chapter 10 Robert's relationship with Amy Robsart and her tragic death 101

Chapter 11 The not so virgin Queen 106

Chapter 12 The political background to Elizabeth's European marriage negotiations 118

Chapter 13 Marriage considerations 125

Chapter 14 Patronage and trading projects 135

Chapter 15 Flirtation with Lettice Knollys designed to provoke Elizabeth 152

Chapter 16 Robert survives political attempts to undermine his standing 160

Chapter 17 The Northern Rising 169

Chapter 18 Romance with Douglas Sheffield 180

Chapter 19 Religious confrontation 186

Chapter 20 Royal visits to Dudley homes 193

Chapter 21 Marriage to Lettice Knollys 198

Part 3 Political Adviser And Military Commander

Chapter 22 Negotiations for Elizabeth to marry the Duke of Anjou 216

Chapter 23 A more aggressive approach to international diplomacy 221

Chapter 24 Leicester's Commonwealth 231

Chapter 25 Governor of the Netherlands 238

Chapter 26 The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots 259

Chapter 27 Lieutenant and Captain General of the Queen's armies and companies 265

Aftermath 275

Bibliography 282

References 287

Index 314

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