Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester

Vivienne Kennedy reviews Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, playing until 23 September

On Wednesday 17 September I visited The Brewery at Tobacco Factory Theatres for a history lesson Living Spit style in the form of Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous, written and performed by Stu McLoughlin and Howard Coggins and directed by Craig Edwards.

Following Living Spit’s 2012 show The Six Wives of Henry VIII, this new production takes its audience on a laugh out loud history class through the 44 (and a bit) years of Elizabeth I’s reign over England, focusing very much on her lack of marriage and child-bearing and the reasons behind it.

As with all Living Spit shows there is music, original songs written by McLoughlin and Coggins and giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to play a variety of instruments as they sing. My favourite was OMG, sung in the first act by Elizabeth and Robert Dudley as they realise that their childhood friendship is turning to love, and poignantly reprised by Elizabeth in Act Two…that’s one of Living Spit’s skills, they can lead you from laughter to poignancy and back again in a moment. (x)

You know you want to see this.

1 day ago on 19 September 2014 @ 3:38pm 3 notes

Elizabeth + Costumes

3 days ago on 17 September 2014 @ 12:03pm 275 notes

Court duties came first; there was no way, at this time, they could be avoided. And so it was very late that night before she dismissed all her attendants and he was able to come to her. In the big state bed they met as equals and knew that it was over at last, the long, bigger struggle for mastery between them. They met with all the passionate tenderness of a life-long love affair, but now the final satisfaction eluded them; and Leicester, whose fault alone it was, wept and said they were accursed.
She drew him down upon her breast and no shadow of her cruel disappointment touched her voice. “My love,” she whispered, “it doesn’t matter.”
Evidently the wrong thing to say, for he immediately stiffened in her arms and turned away from her on the pillow. “I am impotent in your bed and you say it doesn’t matter?”
His hair still curled thinly at the nape of his neck and was black here and there in those places where it had not turned white. She put out a hand to touch it gently. “You’re tired,” she began hesitantly. “And unwell. It was unreasonable of me to expect—”
“A man?”
She shook her head sadly. “No failure of yours can ever compare with the way I have failed you all these years. So let there be no more talk of blame. When you come back from Buxton you will be well again and it will be different. We could go to Ricote. Just a few attendants. Margery is so discreet—”
Long after he slept, she lay awake, cherishing his weight against her breast. At dawn she woke him gently and watched him dress in the cold, cruel light, furtive as any young lover creeping away to avoid discovery.
The state bed was like an enormous empty cavern when he had gone; she could not imagine how she had slept alone in it for all these years. And when she met him later, in the presence of her ladies, they smiled at each other as though they shared some private joke

5 days ago on 14 September 2014 @ 7:46pm 11 notes

My dearest and beloved daughter Elizabeth, I love you with my every breath, and I beg you will n e v e r  f o r g e t  i t.

6 days ago on 14 September 2014 @ 11:38am 245 notes

On show at Lord Leycester’s Hospital are a letter written by the hands of Robert Dudley, a Curtain and a Bear that are said to be made by Amy Robsart, Dudley’s Wife.

In 1571, Lord Robert Dudley bought the buildings from the United Guilds of Warwick and founded, under a charter from Queen Elizabeth I, a hospital for disabled or aged soldiers and their wives.

via  mygoodqueenbess  (originally  theenglishladye)
1 week ago on 11 September 2014 @ 12:07pm 21 notes


Gemma Deerfield as Amy Robsart in an episode of National Geographic’s “Mystery Files”.


1 week ago on 8 September 2014 @ 4:29pm 32 notes


On this day in history…

8 September 1560: The death of Amy Robsart.

Amy Robsart, born in 1532, was the daughter of Sir John Robsart, a member of the gentry, and his wife, Elizabeth Scott. On 4 June 1550, she married Robert Dudley, son of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick - the leader of Edward VI’s government. As Amy was marrying rather high above her station, the union was likely, as William Cecil put it, “a carnal marriage” (or, to put it more kindly, a love match.) The connection with the Dudley family did not remain an illustrious one, for when Edward VI died in 1553, Mary I fought her way to the throne. Because John Dudley had opposed the new queen’s Catholic rule, he was executed and many of his supporters and family members, including his son, Robert, were imprisoned. After his release from the Tower in 1554, Robert Dudley and his wife found themselves without much wealth or influence. Although he accepted the reign of Mary I, Robert remained close to Princess Elizabeth Tudor. In 1558, she succeeded her sister as Queen of England. Robert Dudley immediately regained his wealth and influence, and was made Master of the Horse - an important position with close personal ties to the monarch. Robert was more than a politician to Elizabeth, however, and soon rumors arose that the new queen was in love with him. Despite the fact that he was married to Amy, speculation was rife that Robert wished to marry the queen once his wife was dead. Rumors arose that he was poisoning her, or that he wished to divorce her. Amy does indeed seem to have been ill, possibly with breast cancer. She lived alone at various manor houses, for Robert was constantly at court attending the queen. On 8 September 1560, Amy was found dead at the foot of the stairs at her home, Cumnor Place. Robert Dudley, at Windsor with the queen, soon heard the news and sent his steward to carry out an inquest regarding her death. The inquest’s verdict was that she had fallen down the stairs by accident. Amy’s death was of course greeted with whispers and accusations against both Robert and Elizabeth I. Modern historians have put forth many theories, including both suicide and murder. Amy was buried at St. Mary’s, Oxford. Her husband did not attend the funeral, though this was not uncommon. The entire royal court went into mourning and Robert retired to the country for some time. He continued as the queen’s favorite, though, of course, he never married the “Virgin Queen.” He became Earl of Leicester in 1564, and remarried secretly in 1578, which merely infuriated the queen. Although Elizabeth was not willing to marry her favorite, she seemed to prefer him single.

1 week ago on 8 September 2014 @ 10:47am 13 notes


Today In History | September 7, 1533: Birth of Elizabeth I

Less than two weeks after taking to her chamber, at 3 o’clock on the afternoon of the 7th September in 1533, Anne Boleyn gave birth to a baby girl: Elizabeth Tudor, named after her paternal grandmother Elizabeth of York, and possibly also her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Howard. The little girl had her father’s red hair and long nose, and her mother’s coal black eyes.

The birth was straightforward, the baby was healthy and so was Anne, but something was very wrong – the baby was a girl and not the promised son and heir promised by Anne, astrologers and doctors. A celebratory tournament had been organized and a letter announcing the birth of a prince had been written, with the intentions of naming the prince either Henry of Edward. The joust was cancelled and the word “prince” had an “s” added in the birth announcement letter. The celebratory jousts were cancelled in 1516 too, when Mary was born, and it was traditional for the celebrations of the birth of a princess to be low-key. Although the joust was cancelled, “a herald immediately proclaimed this first of Henry’s ‘legitimate’ children, while the choristers of the Chapel Royal sang the Te Deum”and preparations were already underway for a lavish christening. 

Henry and Anne both grieved that Elizabeth was not a boy, but little did they know that she would go on to be one of the greatest monarchs in British history - the Virgin Queen, Gloriana; that she would give her name to an age. Long live Good Queen Bess. {1}{2}

1 week ago on 7 September 2014 @ 7:27pm 1,750 notes
Also Elizabeth's most influential (for her) stepmother Catherine Parr died on Sept 5th. So very eventful month.

Ah yes! Should have put that on the list too!

That would have been even more traumatic for her since it came so soon (and unexpectedly) after the Seymour situation.

tagged   neta07    reply  
1 week ago on 6 September 2014 @ 7:43pm 1 note

September is quite an eventful and interesting month in the lives of Elizabeth and Robert!

1 week ago on 6 September 2014 @ 6:45pm 74 notes