Lady Amy Dudley née Robsart is best known for falling down the stairs. The question has always been: did she fall, did she jump, was she pushed, or was her body arranged at the foot of the staircase after the deed was done? Amy Robsart was born on 7 June 1532 as the only legitimate child of the substantial Norfolk gentleman-farmer Sir John Robsart and grew up in a household of firmly Protestant leanings. In 1549, aged 17, she probably first met Sir Robert Dudley, who was exactly 17 days younger than she. The young people fell in love and married ten months later, on 4 June 1550. Amy’s father-in-law was the Earl of Warwick, later the Duke of Northumberland, the man in charge of the government of the young King Edward VI. Robert Dudley went to the Tower with the rest of his family after his father’s ill-fated attempt…
Princess Elizabeth began the year of 1536 as a ‘High and mighty Royal Princess’ and ended it as just another royal bastard. Her mother Queen Anne Boleyn was executed for treason and adultery on 19th May 1536 and from that moment her daughter’s world was turned upside down.
When Bess of Hardwick died, aged 81, she was the most powerful woman in Elizabethan England after the Queen. In her lifetime she had kept company with Mary Queen of Scots, married her grandchild into Royalty, was friends with Robert Dudley and William Cecil. She was close to the tragic Grey family and she was often at court. It is said that every aristocratic family in Britain has her blood running through their veins including the present Royal family. When Bess died she was the very wealthy Countess of Shrewsbury but her life had begun very differently.
There was nothing in Bess’s early life that indicated her great rise. Her family’s land was not valuable nor anything special; it was simply used to graze sheep. She was never a beautiful or a particularly well educated woman, which makes her spectacular rise to fame and fortune even more remarkable – this in an age when women had no legal rights. The best education a Tudor woman could hope to acquire was in sewing, music and perhaps if she was very fortunate the ability to read and write. Continue reading “Man eating schemer or modern woman trapped in Tudor Skirts? Bess of Hardwick…”→
Henry VIII had been married for nine years when he began his affair with 18 year old Elizabeth Blount. She was a maid of honour in Queen Katherine of Aragon’s household. Bessie had the reputation of being very beautiful much more so than Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn. After giving birth to the King’s son she was married to Gilbert Tailboy’s, 1st Baron of Kyme and the king provided the newlyweds with a manor in Warwickshire.