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Queen Elizabeth I of England is considered the greatest British Monarch by many.  That may or may not be so, depending UPon your take on history, but her long reign had a tremendous impact on society and even impacts how we live today.

Good Queen Bess, was called many things.  One in particular was “The Virgin Queen”.  Her subjects accepted her claim of purity so much that even my home state of Virginia was named for her.

Well, she may have been fibbing.

She had a boy friend or two, and she loved attention, and she loved the boys.

One in particular is considered her favorite, and maybe even her one true love.

Dudley do Wrong

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, became the Queen’s favorite the first year of her reign, and stayed there until her death.  He had hopes of marrying the Queen, but alas, the pesky wife of his got in the way.

There were other problems too.  Dudley was the elder brother of Sir Guilford Dudley.  Guilford had the bad fortune to fall in love with Lady Jane Grey.  Jane was queen for nine days.  Her father and father-in-law forced the crown UPon her head, which she eventually lost to the axe when Queen Mary, the rightful queen took the throne.

Robert was condemned as a traitor by default, later pardoned, he regained favor with Elizabeth when she took the throne after Mary’s death.

The Spanish Ambassador, in letters back to his King, Phillip, said that “…Dudley has become such a favorite of the Queen that she visits him in his chambers both day and night…”.

Somehow, I don’t think they were playing Canasta.

By 1659, The Court observed that Dudley rarely left the Queen’s side.  Meanwhile, back home, his wife Amy, was bored, lonely, and a tad jealous.

Mysteriously, she fell down a short flight of stairs and broke her neck.

There was an inquest, it was deemed an accident, even though her headdress was still in place and there were no other injuries.

Dudley was suspected by the Court to have arranged for the fall even though he was miles and counties away.

He wanted Amy out of the way so that he might marry the Queen.

Intrigue, jealousy, and subterfuge kept the marriage from taking place, but it didn’t keep the lovers apart.

His apartments at court were moved to the ones next to the Queen.  She needed his counsel, his advice, and his love.

But alas, as most royal love affairs go, one tired of the other.  This time it was Dudley.  He married Lady Douglas Sheffield, a young widow.  They had the ‘ever longed for son and heir’, the dream of every man in history.

The Queen loved and longed for Dudley after his marriage and fantasized thought about him through her affair with others, most notably, The Earl of Essex.

The Virgin Queen

She called herself the Virgin Queen, her people pretended to believe it, but every one knew she was the child of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and purity, chastity, and virginity were not part of the bargain.

So, Virginia it is, I mean, who’d want to live in Slutsylvania?

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