What were the issues around marriage for Elizabeth and her subjects? Because as the continuing barney between the two of them would prove, it really mattered to both parties.
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Now then, When Elizabeth came to the throne there was, as we have heard, much rejoicing. However, in certain quarters there was also much gloom. Elizabeth’s reign is one surrounded by a constant feeling of external threat that makes one long for the days of Henry VIII. Back then, Henry was able to spend his time on his hobbies – hunting, jousting, being painted, cutting the heads off his wives and so on – and all the while watching Valois and Hapsburg rip, tear, and beat 7 bells out of each other. Henry could intervene when there seemed to be an opportunity for a bit of Henry V imitation. Elizabeth, on the other hand was constantly surrounded by threat – whether by intervention to wipe out her religious settlement, or to nibble at her possessions such as Ireland, or even an existential threat to the whole kingdom.
Elizabeth does not appear to have been a naturally gloomy person, rather upbeat actually on a good day, a bit of a bantasaurous, but her Principal secretary Cecil, now he comes across as a man accompanied always by a little dark cloud, opening every so often to release rain or hail should it be that he began to look too happy; am man for whom every silver lining had its cloud. Except possibly when on his grand estates like Theobald and Burghley. Cecil was a worrier and a worker, a hard worker. One of those workaholics who get home late and constantly lament how hard they are working – but don’t know a way to break free. And anyway, let’s not feel too sorry for him, he was the leading politician of the age whose name will live for ever, and he earned a packet in the process. William Camden the 17th century historian wrote of him
Of all men of genius he was the most drudge; of all men of business the most a genius
He had quickly established his primacy over the Privy Council, largely because of his favour with the queen, but also because he’d managed to remove many potential sources of opposition, such as William Paget. There are plenty of portraits of Cecil, and if met him stalking the corridors of Whitehall or Richmond, you would notice grey eyes and black sober dress including skull cap – all made of very fine and expensive materials. While the overall impression was sober, there were giveaway additions, according to one observer; gold filigree buttons, gold decoration at collar and shoulder, black sword strap with gold buckles and gold sword hilt. You might also notice 3 warts on the right check – the best English politicians all have warts I think you’ll find. I may be onto some amazing link, because of course Oliver Cromwell was more than ordinarily warty to boot, and just like Cecil, there was a man that believed in divine providence. Discuss the link between warts and belief in divine providence in 5,000 words. For Cecil, one of the things that made the rule of a woman acceptable was that Mary’s death and the arrival of the Protestant Elizabeth was clearly due to God’s hand, and however odd the gift horse looks, you don’t look it in the mouth.
The Cecil and Elizabeth partnership as it unfolded over the decades was solid, and despite the odd wobble here and there warm. It was however nothing like the Elizabeth- Dudley partnership; Cecil’s relationship was a professional one between bureaucrat and master, and notably they often disagreed. Cecil was driven up the wall by Elizabeth’s prevarications and refusal to take decisions – and it is a most frustrating situation to be in, when the boss won’t make a decision which is after all what they are paid for, I know this from personal experience. Just as it’s infuriating when your advice is disagreed with and not followed; of which of course I have deep experience as a parent. But the Queen was ever Cecil’s master and despite the pain he believed deeply that he owed her his service, and that went very deep; even so, on occasion he went behind his queens back.
They were also capable of explosive, incendiary, thermo nuclear disagreement, when Elizabeth would roast him at length over the hot fire of her tongue. The profile of these Cecil well knew; after one such balling out by his mistress, Cecil rather wryly remarked that she would cool eventually – and that 3-6 weeks was the average time. Elizabeth and Cecil disagreed often because their outlook was in some crucial areas fundamentally different. Cecil was driven by an almost apocalyptic vision as an English state surrounded by Catholic foes. Elizabeth was driven much as more by traditional dynastic concerns like her dear old dad. When John Knox wrote to her on her accession, he was trying to be sheepish and slightly apologetic when he referred to the role of providence in her accession. John Knox, it has to be said, didn’t really have an apologetic mode, but in trying to justify Elizabeth’s queenship in the light of his First Blast of the Trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women, he did so on the basis of divine intervention, with more emphasis on divine providence than Elizabeth felt comfortable with. She scrawled notes on Knox’s letter that
God hath made our prince by due title of birth and law, not by some extraordinary miracle without former right
Anyway I didn’t mean to talk about this yet, we were talking about the serious, worrisome and providential Cecil and his relationship with Elizabeth. The point is the bond was long lasting, built on mutual respect and Cecil’s massive experience, sense of duty and work rate – but it was not always easy with both parties coming from different viewpoints, and when Cecil, in extremis, on add occasion felt he had to bend the rules.
For Cecil and indeed many English, the world in 1558-9 was a dangerous place. We are used to thinking of Elizabeth’s reign as being one of a struggle between England, and Catholic Imperial Spain, and Philip II’s determination to rub out Protestantism in England. But in 1559 it was more France that England feared. Calais had been shamefully lost and Elizabeth tried hard to regain it or gain compensation for its loss; the French Dauphin Francis and his Queen, Mary of Scots unashamedly laid claim to the English throne, as well as ruling in Scotland and France. In January 1559 the diplomat Nicholas Wotton declared that if France and Spain made peace
We were not long able to resist the French and the Scottes, and other whom the French would set in our toppes; whereof might ensue that the French would be lords of England and Scotland too
Nicholas Wootton by the way would have a descendant called Henry Wootton who would gloomily describe a diplomat as a man sent abroad to lie for this country. Classic. Anyway, another commentator likened England to
A bone thrown between two dogs
And both French and Spanish diplomats referred to England’s situation as like Milan’s had been; fought over and torn to pieces by the French and Spaniards. So, when in May 1559 a peace was concluded between France and the Empire, poor old Nicholas Wotton no doubt had to go and have a lie down in a darkened room with a wet towel on his forehead. Meanwhile it appeared that England was poorly prepared to meet the threat. A paper for the Privy council concluded
The Queen poor, the realm exhausted; the nobility poor and decayed; good captains and soldiers wanting; the people out of order; justice not executed; all things dear; excesses in meat, diet and apparel; division among ourselves; war with France…steadfast enemies, but no steadfast friends.
Apart from that, course, everything was fine. Happy, Happy.
Nor were these fears the dreams of children; they had real substance. Francis and Mary quartered the royal arms of England with those of France, which is as in yer face as you get before sending over a few thousand soldiers into your back garden. And even this early there were voices appealing to Phillip II that England herself was a threat; the Spanish Ambassador to Scotland wrote of Elizabeth that
This woman desires to make use of religion in order to excite rebellion in the whole world. If she had power today she would sow heresy broadcast in all your majesty’s dominions, and set them ablaze without compunction
Actually, Elizabeth wanted no such thing, howsoever her armies would end up supporting Protestants. Elizabeth’s reasons would be more cautious, albeit linking the security of her realm with the survival of protestantism. Phillip had many pressures pushing him to confrontation with England. But for the moment he was disinclined to listen to them; he was more inclined to continue in his suspicion of the ambitious French, and to seek English amity. He was even considering offering Elizabeth his fair and dimpled hand in marriage.
Now look I have wandered off path again. The point is that Cecil in particular felt England was surrounded and besieged and threatened by an aggressive France, a Franco Scottish kingdom, and the hostility of Catholic Europe. As far as Cecil was concerned, then a few things had to happen, and they had to happen now, or now-ish please ma’am, and they were all linked. Mainland Britain needed to become a bastion of Protestantism – so Scottish Protestantism was to be encouraged and nurtured. The succession needed to be secured; at the moment, Henry’s 1544 will held sway, and the heir to the throne was Katherine Grey, since the Stuarts had been excluded by that will. Catholic Europe believed that will to be better used as toilet paper than as a legally binding document – it hadn’t been signed by Henry, simply stamped with his seal. And anyway everyone knew that Mary Stuart was the rightful heir, as the senior descendant of Henry VII. And ooh – a catholic, did I mention that? Cecil was convinced that while Catholic Europe would continue to view Elizabeth as a bastard, a long list of heirs for Elizabeth would take much of the heat out of the situation. And for that to happen, of course, Elizabeth must be married.
Well, now there’s a topic for discussion and make no mistake. What did Elizabeth think of the idea of marriage? Now you are asking; I mean, who knew what Elizabeth thought of anything really? One consideration though was all tied up with the question of gender roles, which incidentally was not an academic question for consideration by learned 21st century profs and so on; it was painfully real, and present, Elizabeth would have been aware of her responsibilities, both dynastic and as a woman, even without old Knoxy blasting away on his trumpet. Here’s the thing then; as monarch her responsibility was to produce heirs, and she had Cecil going potty with desperation that she should secure the succession by so doing; her court and council was painfully aware that only Elizabeth was all that stood between England and the chaos of a disputed succession. On the other hand, it was generally accepted that women were supposed to do what men told them to do, particularly their husbands; and indeed they were not mentally and emotionally equipped to rule the roost anyway, certainly not to be a monarch. So if she married there was a pretty thing; would she then remain mistress of her own destiny?
Of course there were also Elizabeth’s personal desires, which is where Dudley will come in when we have a moment. But firstly let’s pursue the gender angle; how far, you ask knowingly was Elizabeth’s image and ability to govern affected by gender in a deeply patriarchal society? Well, I am glad you asked me that Historians recently have dug out the buns on a fascinating topic, and built a case that Elizabeth had to bend over backwards to get round the issues. They point to the trumpet blastings of John Knox as already mentioned; and that even the divines that defended her rule, such as one John Aylmer, did so on the basis that she would receive advice and guidance from her male advisors in Council and parliament. There was some feeling amongst her subjects; some would have agreed with Thomas Becon, a Norfolk clergyman, who had a bit of a moan to his God:
Thou has set to rule over us a woman, whom nature hath formed to be in subjection unto man.’ 
It’s been suggested that to deal with attitudes like this, Elizabeth was forced to deliberately subvert council, bypassing it to gain advice elsewhere, such as in court, and by heading out on progresses to make communication more difficult with the PC and allow her latitude to act.
But in fact there’s very little evidence that Elizabeth’s counsellors and subjects used gender as an excuse to disobey or sideline their Queen. As we’ve discussed, the conventions of counselling and guidance included the responsibility of individuals to provide informal advice, and Elizabeth took frequent advantage of this. There’s little evidence that Elizabeth tried to sideline the PC, taking part herself in meetings and debating openly with the C. She herself used gender but never saw her status and authority as lessened, she did not feel she had to rely on male advisors; she saw herself as the decision maker, as she put it
‘God’s creature ordained to obey his appointment’
She accepted, as all English monarchs steeped in tradition and humanist teaching would, that she would ‘direct all my actions by good advice and counsel’; but this did nothing to hide where real power and authority to govern lay
I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God
It’s pretty clear, then, where responsibility lies. In a letter to Mary Queen of Scots, who had made the faux pas of addressing a request to the PC, Elizabeth does some strip tearing and notes that much as she loves and respects the PC
They are Councillors by choice and not by birth, whose services [if] no longer to be used on that public function then it shall please her Majesty to dispose of the same.
There is not much evidence that the PC or indeed parliament disagreed with her. It is true that parliament, stuffed full of opinionated blokes used to ordering women about could not resist presenting petitions on a subject Elizabeth clearly saw as her personal prerogative, namely her marriage; but they were forced to accept her brush off and evaision. The PC was perfectly capable of disagreeing with their queen, and getting cross when she did not follow their advice; but there we go, Elizabeth felt perfectly capable of not following their advice if she chose; and as Cecil remarked to Thomas Cromwell’s old protégé, Ralph Sadler
Our part is to counsel and after to obey the command
So there’s little evidence that gender adversely affected Elizabeth’s authority or ability to rule, or at least not while she did not marry; we’ll compare and contrast see how Mary QoS fares in her circumstance when we get to it. It is notable though just how widely Elizabeth used gender. She has been referred to as a ‘political hermaphrodite’, because she freely used both male and female metaphors and images. In 1601 she referred to herself as ‘King, Prince and Queen’, and cleverly exploited the legal position that the monarch had two bodies – a natural body that reflected gender, personal characteristics, age and mortality and so on; and a political body, un touched by biology and immortal – the queen is dead long live the queen sort of thing. So Elizabeth had a male body politic, while a female natural body. By so doing she laid claim to virtues that were at the time seen as male, as well as traditional female virtues. Everyone who did the Tudors at school can repeat by heart her Tilbury speech
I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king
And in the words of Terry Deary, the king wants them back. Elizabeth was often represented as a classical deity – Venus, Diana or Athena; although these are all female, it is very much in the tradition of kingship, with European monarchs being likened to the figures such as Hercules. And She was likened to male biblical figures as well as female. But meanwhile she used female symbols too; notably of the Virgin Mary, but primarily as that of a loving caring queen, a theme she comes back to again and again. And in which her annual progress played a critical part. We might doubt the depth of that feeling; it’s pretty clear that Elizabeth was capable of most unloving retribution for those that stepped out of line; but for Elizabeth it represented a truth. She felt she had devoted herself to public affairs, made personal sacrifices including rejecting marriage and executing a kinswoman in Mary, been threatened with numerous assassination plots and a continent-wide threat to depose her. So, she felt she’d lived up to the loving mother thing, even if she’d lived in luxury. Certainly, while its of course possible to be cynical, there’s no doubt that the love between the queen and her subjects was one of Elizabeth’s enduring and deeply held convictions.
Incidentally as a final word, there’s a lot more debate these days about the Gloriana thing which I guess we’ll come to in a few decades. Whereas once it was seen as a deliberately cultivated image, it’d now thought of as much more debateable that such a clear strategy went into it. Historians point out that there are many symbols associated with her in pictures, and given the mass of paintings produced of her it would have been almost impossible to impose rigid control on images. And there are many ways in which Elizabeth was presented – Gloriana was but one.
So just to repeat, Elizabeth then was fully aware of the dangers inherent in marriage, and had the example of her sister’s rather unhelpful experience to prove the point, and would soon have evidence from north of the border. And indeed, you could make the argument that Elizabeth told everyone right from the off what she intended, telling her first parliament in February 1559
‘And, in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin’
It was not just that Elizabeth feared losing control by being lumbered with a husband, although she did that. It’s also that her personal life was littered with examples of failed marriages – including her mother’s, and um, 4 at least of her father’s. But also, who to marry? If she married a foreign king or potentate, we have the same old Mary I scenario all over again; a blizzard of foreign imports at court, but critically, the interests of another nation at the table of the kingdom. Mary worked very hard and often successfully to keep Philip away from political power; but hey, she was still influenced, and ended up getting involved in a disastrous war where none of England’s interests were at stake, but which resulted in the loss of Calais. Alternatively, she could go for a local lad; and then she’d have the Edward IV and Woodville problem, one of the noble family’s acquiring an unrivalled opportunity to steer patronage and political influence in their family’s direction and settle a few scores on the way. A German envoy, doing his best for Ferdinand’s suit for Elizabeth’s hand, made the point
‘If the Queen were to take the noblest and fittest man in her realm, she would affront one-half of the Kingdom, for there are thousands who deem themselves worthy to be made the Queen’s consort … should the Queen, however, wed a nobleman or knight, such as Pickering, in less than a month both the Queen and the new King would be slain.’
Well, that’s an open and shut case then, I hear you cry. Marriage was clearly never an option for Elizabeth; so why did she keep publicly entertaining the idea? She’d frequently get cross being badgered about it and sometimes blow up, so why didn’t she just put it to bed, no double entendre intended?
Well, I suspect there are two main reasons. One, was that it was a terribly convenient diplomatic ploy. So, just when everyone is in a panic that the Guise family are in control in France and the French are going to join Spain in trying to crush the English and their pesky Protestantism, Elizabeth starts making eyes at the Duke of Anjou. It was jolly handy.
However, I suspect the other reason was that Elizabeth might have been thoroughly disinclined to get married from a personal angle, but the pressure…golly gosh, the badgering from all those blokes and counsellors desperate for her to marry and produce an heir; and of course the social pressure – that’s what women were supposed to do, marry and have babies. The constant badgering must have driven her potty. While we are on the topic of badgering by the way…I have always loved the word, and imagine a lovely low slung, snuffly Brock the badger pushing at the object requiring of persuasion with its snout. But I find I am wrong. It more likely comes from a badger being an old name for a trader – I am getting deja vue by the way have I told you this? – a badger was a word for trader, which came to used for badgering, the process for haggling and beating down in price, and the hard sell. Which makes more sense. Anyway I digress.
This is Elizabeth to her parliament in 1563 responding to their hope that she would marry
…and if I can bend by wyl to your need, I will not resist such a mynde
And again in 1566
I saye ageyn, I will marry as soon as I can conveniently…And I hope to have children, otherwise I would never marry
Elizabeth was pretty testy with parliament and advisors over the subject of marriage; as far as she was concerned, the decision was hers and no one else’s, so you know get out of my face. ‘It is monstrous’ she said ‘that the feet should direct the head’; to parliament she said that ‘I will deale therein for your safety and offer it unto yow as your prince and head without request’. So, basically, trust me I’m a Tudor, and you’ll be the first to receive an invitation if and when.
The point is that with all the pressure, external and internal, I suspect Elizabeth was undecided until it was all too late anyway, but never really ruled out the idea. Other views are available though, taking the view that Elizabeth was resolved from the off never to get married, or desperately wanted to marry Dudley but events conspired against her. You pays your money and takes your choice, essentially.
Her case for her advisors to butt out was weakened though in that she could not deny the right of Parliament to confirm the succession. But despite Cecil’s intense, slipper-chewing, liver-eating frustration she would not confirm the succession. In her view nominating a successor would promote political instability, saying
It is to be feared that if they [that is, her subjects] knew a certain successor of our crown they would have recourse thither
So, a confirmed successor would be the focus for conspiracy. Secondly ‘there be so many competitors’ that it would be difficult to choose; under the bill of 1544, for example, Katherine Grey was the next in line, as far as many Catholics were concerned it was Mary Stuart. So, disputes could easily arise.
Deep down, Elizabeth had a dynastically oriented view of life, and believed that the Stuarts had the best claim, but in the end like Maradonna in 1988 looked to the hand of God to solve things
When I am dead they shall succeed that has the most right
Presumably, through the operation of divine providence. When she said such things, Cecil nibbled on his shoes a little more fiercely. He didn’t like leaving things to chance, not one little bit.
However, there was another problem; which is that it seems reasonably, and shockingly clear that Elizabeth was much enamoured of one Robert Dudley. Actually, before Mary’s death there was little talk about an Elizabeth and Dudley romance, although of course there had been a lot of horror about the indecency of Thomas Seymour’s indelicacies when Elizabeth was 13. It appears though that they had known each other since they were children – but we only know this through one, tantalising quote from Dudders himself, as follows:
‘his true opinion was that she would never marry … he knew her majesty as well as or better than anyone else of her close acquaintance, for they had first become friends before she was eight years old. Both then and later (when she was old enough to marry) she said she never wished to do so.
It’s most likely that although there’s no record, that he was part of Edward VI’s household and they met there, but who knows. We have met Robert Dudley before however in these pages; in 1549 when he was 17, famously with his Dad the Earl of Northumberland on his campaign against Kett; and it’s generally assumed that it was around that time that Robert met his wife Amy Robsart, who was an inhabitant of the brave land of Norfolk. He got some experience of local government in Norfolk, until we meet him again in the disaster of his family’s involvement with Lady Jane Grey, and the 4 Dudley brothers found themselves in the Beauchamp tower of the Tower of London, and passed their time under threat of execution defacing the wall of said tower with graffiti, for which I very much hope they received a good clip round their collective ears for being oiks. Interestingly, Elizabeth was in the Tower for a couple of months two, and it’s amusing to contemplate the deployment of knotted sheets and stolen warm and wet kisses, with the odd Oh Liz, and Oh Bob thrown in and you know, so on. But grim faced and sensible historians who know what they are talking about, poo poo the idea – on the grounds that Elizabeth was very tightly guarded while there, and the very idea of her having an opportunity to nip round the corner for a bit of nookey is vanishingly unlikely.
Mary finally pardoned the Dudley boys, although they never escaped the feeling of suspicion during her reign – sideways glances, the rustle of skirts drawn aside…the mark of the traitor. But in 1558 at Elizabeth’s first Council meeting, which looked at new appointments, the Queen’s principal secretary Cecil scrawled the name Robert Dudley against the job of Master of the Horse.
Ah! I hear you mutter, looking at the smoking gun of royal favouritism, because as of course you may be aware, the Master of the Horse had good access to the Monarch, riding close behind them at royal processions, and organising the annual royal progress – which sound like a nightmare of a job to be honest. But actually, you could view the appointment as a re-appointment – Roberts’s elder brother John had held the post under Edward VI. Or you might see that as a convenient cover; because Cecil had proposed Dudley be sent abroad on diplomatic missions far from his squeeze – and it appears the Queen intervened to stop him. So that is suspicious.
But after this slow start, the court was soon buzzing with suspicion. Because there is no doubt that Dudley and the Queen hit it off. As I have said, Elizabeth was one for fun and banter; Ambassadors were advised to bone up on court gossip before they went to discuss business with her, since she was impatient of too much seriousness, nor at least liked to mix it up. Robert Dudley had charm, wit and employed flattery with the liberality of a trowel, and it worked. Elizabeth would later write that
‘Nature has implanted so many graces’ in him ‘that if she wished to marry she would prefer him to all the princes in the world’.
The pair of them shared the same sense of humour, and in jokes, laughing and teasing each other, to a degree that became frustrating to others at court; one ambassador hoping to have a few words on the royal barge complained
‘they began joking, which she likes to do much better than talking about business’.
They wrote constantly to each other, although Elizabeth did as much as she could to keep him close; she needed him, he was for her a chance to step outside the worries and pressures of the world political. For his part, Dudley was always aware that he owed everything to the queen; he showered her with gifts, and wrote to her that he would
‘forever remain in the bond-chain of dutiful servitude, fastened above all others by benefits past, and daily goodness continually showed’.
The buzz of suspicion about the pair surfaced relatively early, because of course it was almost impossible to hide anything at court, and Elizabeth was almost never alone. But the signs of affection were there for all to see; not just in the kind of intimacy I’ve just described, but in more suspect and less conventional ways. Within a year, Elizabeth had moved Dudley’s apartments at court next to hers so that they might get to see each other away from so many eyes. In 1559 Elizabeth conferred a very sought-after honour on him when she made him part of the order of the garter; as he knelt in the ceremony, many scandalised glances noticed that she tickled the back of his neck. Which is, you know, not part of the normal ceremonial. On occasion, Dudley forgot to observe the normal deference due to an anointed monarch in public – for example, snatching the Queens hanky and mopping his brow with it during a game of tennis against the Duke of Norfolk.
So you know, tongues will wag and all that, there’s no smoke without fire, and of course in these early days there was a string of suitors as long as you like beating at her door. The Imperial ambassador was engaged in promoting the suit of Archduke Charles, which looked like a runner for a while, when the news reached his ears that the queen was suspected of an affair with her master of the horse. The idea that the queen might not be a virgin horrified the man – and he employed an investigator to dig around in the queen household to see what dirt could or could not be found. The PI reported back that
‘They all swear by all that is holy that her Majesty has most certainly never been forgetful of her honour… ‘And yet it is not without significance that Her Majesty’s Master of the Horse, Mylord Robert, is preferred by the Queen above all others, and that Her Majesty shows her liking for him more markedly than is consistent with her reputation and dignity.’
Rumours would continue well into the 1570s; in 1566 the French ambassador reported that the queen had slept with Dudley, in 1572 a servant gossiped that they had a secret corridor to allow them to meet and sleep together. When she heard the rumours the queen was frankly horrified ‘My life is in the open,’ she told the Spanish ambassador, ‘and I have so many witnesses . . . I cannot understand how so bad a judgment can have been formed of me.’ She even staged the elaborate charade with Kat Ashley we discussed, where Kat clasped her knees and Elizabeth declared her innocence before the court.
But of course Catholic writers abroad had a field day pulling the heretic queen’s reputation through the mire. All of this was made worse by court politics. As we have said, the problems of marrying an Englishman were significant – even the very greatest in the land would be considered not good enough. But Dudley? Why, Dudley was a nobody, a family ennobled for a mere 3 generations, and look what they’d done with it – 2 of the 3 had produced traitors in Edmund Dudley and Northumberland. Get your hands off the queen sir or I shall run you through like a dog! I don’t think anyone actually said that, but I bet they thought it.
And then it was also made worse because, just to remind you – Robert Dudley was married, to Amy. So the very thought of an illicit sexual relationship was horrible – it would hardly be seeming for a Queen to be whipped at all 4 corners of a churchyard as common adulterers might be. None the less suspicions bred. And then on 8th September 1560, Amy Dudley, at their Oxford home of Cumnor Place, rather oddly insisted that all her servants leave the house and spend their time having fun at Abingdon fair. Leaving her all alone in the house. And we’ll find out why that’s significant next time.
 Mears,Natalie ‘The Council pp63-66, in Doran and Jones ‘The Elizabeth World’
 Borman, Tracy. The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty . Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition, loc. 4657
 Doran, S ‘The Queen’ p 45 in ‘The Elizabethan World’
 Skidmore, Chris. Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart (pp. 67-68). Orion. Kindle Edition.