4 September 1588 – Death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

On the 4th September 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester died at his lodge at Cornbury, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

He had been ill for some time with a recurring stomach ailment and so had decided to travel to Buxton to take the waters. His journey had started on the 26th August and on the 28th August, at the home of Lady Norreys at Rycote, he wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I; a letter she kept beside her bed for the rest of her life.

Dudley never made it to Buxton for he was taken seriously ill at Cornbury and died there.

You can read more about his death and the letter he wrote to Elizabeth in my article “The Death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester”.

5 thoughts on “4 September 1588 – Death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

  1. I have been interested in the Dudley family especially Robert for a very long time. I have always believed that he was the great love of Elizabeth’s life. He was a man with many interests, a fine horseman he was the Queens Master of the Horse for many years. He had fine orgnizational skills he was responsible for helping to organize the Queens Coronation. In 1575 he held a summer progress for the Queen at Kenilworth that was so spectactular it was talked of for many years to come. He was a patron of the arts – he had 100 books dedicated to him. He was also a pioneer of new industries.

    On a personal note I hope to visit Warwick to see where Robert and several members of his family are buried. You have wetted my appetite Claire with you lovely photograph.

  2. I wonder how much of the hostility leveled at Robert Dudley was the result of jealousy that he had Elizabeth’s undivided attention?

    He had a great many of the virtues of a man of his day, but he seemed to be cursed with the most awful bad luck or bad timing.

    How different would things have been had he and Elizabeth been able to marry?

  3. I think alot of hostilities towards Robert stemmed from jealousy, miladyblue, it seems it was dangerous to be a favourite of the monarch,as we saw in her fathers court. I often wonder if it was the ‘jealous’ that had some thing to do with Amy’s death, to frame Robert, and stop Elizabeth going so far as to marry him… just a thought. But I do think he was her one and only real love, and it is such a pity the never wed and had a family.

    Poor Elizabeth, she must have been heartbroken. Though she tried, I don’t think any of her later favourites ever replaced or matched up to him. I hope they are together now in eternal peace and happiness.

  4. What a lovely thought Dawn that Robert and Elizabeth are now together in eternal peace and happiness. I also agree that non of her subsequent favourites ever matched up to Robert. I think that she intended his last letter to be found after her death and I believe that was her statement to the world that she had loved him and that her love had not diminished in the 15 years she had to go on living without him.

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