Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester


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11 hours ago on 29 July 2014 @ 8:47am 38 notes


Detail of the Lady Elizabeth, The Family of Henry VIII, c.1545, artist unknown, Royal Collection.

"Kat Ashley had ceased to be responsible for Elizabeth’s education in 1542, when the child began sharing some lessons with her brother Edward under the auspices of Dr Richard Coxe. In 1544, Katherine Parr appointed her a tutor of her own, the Greek scholar William Grindal. Grindal had been associated with John Cheke and Roger Ascham in the education of Prince Edward, and Ascham in particular took a great interest in Elizabeth’s academic development, maintaining a regular correspondence with her and Mrs Ashley from 1545, urging his protégée to ever greater efforts. Ascham, a Yorkshireman who was Senior Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge, later wrote, ‘I have dealt with many learned ladies, but among them all the brightest star is my illustrious Lady Elizabeth.’ He referred to Kat’s ‘diligent overseeing’ of her charge’s private study, and exhorted the governess ‘to favour somewhat this rare intelligence, for the younger, the more tender, the quicker, the easier to break’. Ascham also gave Grindal advice as to which books to study and how to approach them.

Henry VIII never intended Elizabeth’s education to be a preparation for queenship. His purpose was that she should become an erudite example of her sex and an ornament of the House of Tudor. From Grindal, Elizabeth learned Greek (a recent addition to the traditional curriculum thanks to the influence of Desiderius Erasmus, John Cheke and others) and Latin, which she spoke, read and wrote fluently. This study of the classics in time enabled Elizabeth to gain a sophisticated understanding of history, philosophy and the art of oratory. In addition she studied the Scriptures and the early Fathers of the Church. Battista Castiglione taught her Italian; her earliest surviving letter, sent to Katherine Parr in 1544, is in that language, and she later became especially fluent in it, which gave her an advantage when it came to conversing with foreign diplomats, since Italian was rapidly replacing Latin as the language of diplomacy.

Elizabeth grew up to be an excellent linguist, although her French accent, mimicked by a French ambassador, was marred by overlong ‘A’ sounds, such as ‘Paar Dieu, paar maa foi!’ Blanche Parry, who had served her in her chamber since her birth, is believed to have taught her some Welsh, the language of her Tudor forbears. She even mastered Spanish, but not until she was in her twenties. By the age of thirteen, Elizabeth had presented Katherine Parr with several of her own translations of devotional works: The Mirror of a Sinful Soul (from French to English), Katherine’s own book, Prayers and Meditations (from English into Latin, French and Italian) and The Dialogue of Faith (from Latin into French).

Educated as she was by men who all held firm reformist views on religion, Elizabeth could not have failed to be influenced by them, nor could she have been unaware of Katherine Parr’s own secret convictions, for in 1547 she translated yet another work for her stepmother, the Institution de la Vie Chrestienne by John Calvin, the eminent French Protestant scholar and reformer. Yet already she had learned to keep her own counsel in matters of religion, for while her father lived it was dangerous to hold Protestant views.

As a child, Elizabeth was taught to write in the ‘secretary’ script that had dominated European calligraphy since the time of Charlemange. Castiglione then taught her to write a fine Italic script, which she later improved under Ascham’s tutelage. As a result, she raised the skill of handwriting to an art form, signing her name with magnificent loops and flourishes. She also wrote a rapid, spidery hand when engaged upon private correspondence and notes.

Elizabeth’s education was outstandingly successful and laid the foundations for habits of study that were to last all her life. Although the curriculum she followed was demanding and often strict, she was formidably intelligent and loved learning for its own sake. Her biographer, William Camden, observed later that never a day went past without her reading or writing something for recreation.”

Source: The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir.

1 week ago on 19 July 2014 @ 12:20am 36 notes
For me thinks I am here all this while as it were in a dream, and too far - too far from the place where I am bound to be.

Lord Robert Dudley in a letter to Sir William Cecil, September, 1560. 

Source: The Lover of Queen Elizabeth, being the life and character of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester by Jerusha Richardson.

(via mygoodqueenbess)

via  imjustasmith  (originally  mygoodqueenbess)
2 weeks ago on 15 July 2014 @ 12:20am 6 notes

Secret love: Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, kissing in the garden. Costumes by Angela Mombers, picture by Marja Fafiani (x)

2 weeks ago on 14 July 2014 @ 6:04pm 4 notes

mygoodqueenbess replied to your post: Here’s a novel I just found about the …

It seems to me like The Virgin’s Lover…a book I don’t like at all.  This one I haven’t read it, but in the Phillipa Gregory novel, Elizabeth appears like an idiot!

Ugh what wasted potential if it’s like “The Virgin’s Lover”!  I’ve flipped through that book and it only takes a couple of pages to figure out it’s awful.  

I really need a good novel about Robert.  One that is nothing like “The Virgin’s Lover!”

2 weeks ago on 14 July 2014 @ 5:59pm

Here’s a novel I just found about the life of Robert Dudley! It’s only available as a Kindle ebook, which sucks since I don’t have one (and don’t really want one - I’m old fashioned).  


The Queen’s Favourite 
A Historical Novel 
Based on the life of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester 

Enter into the dark, dangerous world of Tudor England and the Court, where friendships are rare and ambition is counted a virtue, not a vice. Where a man like Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, has to struggle every day to keep his position as favourite to a queen. 

Opportunist! Murderer! Adulterer! Traitor! 

Robert Dudley is born into a family stained by treason. 

With a grandfather executed by Henry VIII, Robert witnesses his own father, John Dudley, determined to raise his family from ignominy and obscurity. Placed in the Royal Household, Robert spends his childhood years at the Royal Court, playmate to the children of Henry VIII, Edward and Elizabeth Tudor. 

Robert sees his father grow in power and influence, but when John tries to make Lady Jane Grey queen, he finds that Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, is a formidable opponent. Imprisoned and sentenced to death, the future looks bleak for the Dudleys. 

But when the last of the Tudors, Elizabeth, ascends the throne, Robert fortunes change. Their friendship renewed, he and Elizabeth soon set tongues wagging across Europe with their scandalous behaviour. But when Robert’s wife dies in mysterious circumstances, the rumours grow worse, and he fears that Elizabeth might abandon him and he sees his hopes of becoming her husband fading. 

Unwilling to marry him, but not prepared to let him go, Elizabeth keeps Robert jealously by her side. Forced to live a double life and keep his love affairs secret, Robert must sacrifice the thing he desires most – a family. 

He throws himself into state affairs, desperate to acquire a respectable reputation before it is too late. Can he achieve the position he has always craved, or is he doomed to forever remain the despised favourite of a Tudor queen? 

Perfect for those who love the historical fiction novels of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir. 

Currently only available as a Kindle eBook. 
Revised Second Edition. 


2 weeks ago on 14 July 2014 @ 5:35pm 4 notes


Did an 11-year-old Shakespeare first see Queen Elizabeth in 1575?

It may have been the first glimpse he had of his future.

please read more here:


2 weeks ago on 11 July 2014 @ 12:20am 4 notes

Leicester as Stepfather

Robert Dudley was fond of children. As a young uncle he had taken a fancy to his five-year-old nephew Philip Sidney, an affection which lasted for a lifetime; when he visited William of Orange in 1582 the prince’s wife was impressed by the kindness Leicester showed to her five-year-old daughter Louise Juliana. He deeply regretted that as long as he could not re-marry (fearing Elizabeth’s wrath) he would not leave legitimate heirs to his house, but in his words there is also a natural longing for offspring of his own. Finally in 1578 marry he did, for love, but he also acquired a family of stepchildren by his marriage to Lettice Devereux, an aspect that may have made his choice even more attractive.

Hartweg, Christine. “Leicester as Stepfather.” All Things Robert Dudley. Wordpress, 16 June 2014. Web. 10 July 2014.

2 weeks ago on 10 July 2014 @ 4:54pm 5 notes

Alison Weir has a new novel out about Elizabeth and Robert’s relationship!


Their affair is the scandal of Europe. Queen Elizabeth presents herself as the Virgin Queen but cannot resist her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley. Many believe them to be lovers, and there are scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all.

The formidable young Queen is regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes covet Tudor England and seek her hand in marriage. Under mounting pressure to take a husband, Elizabeth encourages their advances without ever committing; a delicate, politically-fraught balancing act which becomes known as ‘The Marriage Game’.

But treading this dangerous line with Robert Dudley, the son and grandson of traitors, could cost her the throne.

Played out amidst the splendour of the Tudor court and the most famous events of a great age, THE MARRIAGE GAME is a dramatic, complex and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss. At its heart is our greatest Queen and the emotional truth of one of history’s most extraordinary love affairs. (x)

Here’s a quote from the sample that I quite like (you’ll see why):

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Wait…is that a good quote about Robert I see?

2 weeks ago on 9 July 2014 @ 7:43pm 46 notes

Exciting recent research has connected the portrait with Queen Elizabeth’s favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Dudley was an important patron of artists and amassed a substantial art collection at Kenilworth Castle, a former royal palace granted to him by the Queen. Evidence now shows that this painting was one of a pair commissioned by Dudley for festivities at Kenilworth during the 1575 royal progress, when he was hoping Elizabeth might marry him. Dudley’s Festivities were the grandest and most lavish during the great annual progresses that Elizabeth and her court made around the country. They consisted of 18 days of feasting, dancing, fireworks and entertainments. The portrait of Dudley is now in collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. (x)

2 weeks ago on 9 July 2014 @ 7:31pm 6 notes