Robert Devereux

Name Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Date of Birth 10th November 1565 or 19th November 1566
Who was he?
Son of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys, who went on to marry Robert Dudley when Devereux died. He was related to the Queen because Mary Boleyn (the Queen’s Aunt) was his maternal great-grandmother.
How was he linked to Elizabeth I Royal favourite.Robert Devereux became a favourite of the Queen in around 1587, the year he replace Robert Dudley as Elizabeth I’s “Master of the Horse”. Elizabeth was said to have loved his eloquence, intelligence and his skills in courtly love.

Elizabeth famously cuffed the Earl’s ears when he was insolent during a heated debate, and he responded by drawing his sword!

What happened to him? Essex got into trouble with the Queen when he returned from his campaigns in Ireland in September 1599 without the Queen’s permission. He was interrogated by Council for 5 hours and it was declared that his return from Ireland was a desertion of duty. He was confined at York House where it is thought that he spent time communicating with James VI of Scotland.He was tried on 5th June 1600 and was given his freedom but was deprived of his office and sweet wines monopoly income.

On 19th February 1601 Essex was tried and found guilty of treason. He was executed on 25th February 1601.

Death Essex was beheaded at the Tower of London. He was aged 34 or 35.
Quotes “Elizabeth was fascinated by the young Essex and kept him constantly by her, finding his company stimulating. He possessed all the attributes she most admired in men…All through the summer, he had been observed walking or riding with her, while in the evenings the pair of them could often be seen playing cards or listening to music ‘until the birds sing in the morning'” Alison Weir in “Elizabeth the Queen”, who points out that Essex was 33 years Elizabeth I’s junior and that she probably regarded him as a son, although he may have reminded her of Thomas Seymour.
Marriages and Children Married Frances Walsingham, daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham and widow of Sir Philip Sidney in 1590. The couple had at least 3 children, including Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex.
Books Robert Lacey’s “Robert, Earl of Essex”

Articles: “The Execution of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex”