The Complex Relationship Between Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and Queen Elizabeth I ~ A guest post by Tony Riches

The Freelance History Writer

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, Oil on Canvas 1596

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was one of the most intriguing men of the Elizabethan period. Tall and handsome, he soon became a ‘favourite’ at court, so close to the queen many wondered if they were lovers. The truth is far more complex, as each had what the other yearned for. Robert Devereux longed for recognition, wealth and influence. His flamboyant naïveté amused the ageing Queen Elizabeth, like the son she never had.

Their close relationship began in 1587, soon after Elizabeth ordered the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. At this troubling and uncertain time for the country, the queen descended into hysterical denial and depression, and even her most loyal courtiers feared for her health. Essex returned from his adventures fighting in the Netherlands, with his stepfather, Robert Dudley. In a typical gesture of misplaced chivalry, he defended the…

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