The Spanish Armada 2 – Leicester Invites Elizabeth to Tilbury

On this day in history, the 27th July 1588, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and the Lieutenant and Captain General of the Queen’s Armies and Companies, invited Elizabeth I to visit Tilbury, where he was busy assembling troops.

The reason for his invitation was to stop his beloved Queen and childhood friend from doing what she was threatening, that is riding to the south coast to be with her troops meeting Parma’s forces as they landed. Leicester wrote to Elizabeth inviting her to come and “comfort” the forces gathered at Tilbury, saying “you shall, dear lady, behold as goodly, as loyal and as able men as any prince Christian can show you” and assuring her that he personally would be in charge of her safety because she was “the most dainty and sacred thing we have in this world to care for, a man must tremble when he thinks of it.”

Also on this day, the Spanish Armada dropped anchor just off Calais, near where Parma had gathered 16,000 men at Dunkirk. The Spaniards were getting ready to invade!


2 thoughts on “The Spanish Armada 2 – Leicester Invites Elizabeth to Tilbury

  1. The intriguing thing is, Burghley and Walsingham didn’t want to let Elizabeth go to Tilbury — they felt the assembled (English) troops posed a security problem for her! Leicester, sensing his coup de theatre was under pressure from jealous colleagues, wrote: “Good sweet Queen, alter not your purpose if God give you health.”

    Walsingham, the spymaster, followed Elizabeth to the camp, so he could have an eye on the security situation. Elizabeth famously dispelled any fears with “My loving people …”

  2. Trying to dissuade this lady from doing exactly what she wanted must have been a nightmare! I almost feel sorry for Dudley, Walsingham and Cecil dealing with a “mere woman!”

    Henry VIII had guts. But Elizabeth is showing herself to be 100% Anne Boleyn’s daughter in this instance.

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