Elizabeth I's Secret Lover

The Royal Affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

This eloquent biography of the most influential nobleman of the Elizabethan Age reveals how Robert Dudley brilliantly captivated the court of Elizabeth I—and the heart of a queen.

In many respects Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was the most significant statesman of the Elizabethan Age, ranking only behind the queen herself in precedence. As a great impresario, he honored Elizabeth I to glittering effect and became the forerunner of Shakespearean theater, combining classicism with ribaldry. He attracted the financing of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation. He was the supporter of academic endeavor, of poetry, and of Puritan scholarship. By employing a network of his own secret agents, he provided information of crucial importance to the crown. As Master of the Horse, he developed English bloodstock to provide horses for royal and military requirements. He saw to it that England’s navy and army was properly prepared to meet Continental aggression when needed. Lord Robert Dudley has faced criticism from historians by competing with William Cecil to gain the ear of Elizabeth I and thwarting his efforts to arrange a political marriage for her to protect against Catholic aggression from Spain. There can be no doubt that Elizabeth wanted to marry him. He was devastatingly attractive, athletic, and loyal. Perhaps most compelling to readers who enjoy royal scandal, this eloquent new book provides compelling evidence that the virgin queen spent time in her bed with him.

Robert Stedall is an expert historian on Tudor history and is the curator of the popular www.maryqueenofscots.net. He is the author of Mary Queen of Scots' Downfall and The Roots of Ireland's Troubles, but this is his first book to be published in America. Robert lives in England.