Robert Dudley was the favourite of Elizabeth 1st and is often thought to be the man that she loved most.
His father had been the Duke of Northumberland and had been executed for his part in the attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. Robert and his brothers were also arrested, and were imprisoned in the tower at the same time as Elizabeth, but like Elizabeth he was later freed. When Elizabeth became Queen in 1558 he was made Master of the Horse. There is no doubt that Elizabeth had strong feelings for him and there were many rumours about their relationship. Dudley was married to Amy Robsart but when she was found dead at home at the bottom of a staircase many believed she had been murdered by Dudley to free himself to marry the Queen. It actually had the opposite effect, Elizabeth well aware how damaging to her reputation such a scandal could be. Dudley was sent away from court for some time though they remained lifelong friends. In 1563 she even offered him as a husband to Mary Queen of Scots. In 1573 Dudley is thought ot have secretly wed Lady Douglas Sheffield and though he had a son with her he later abandoned her for Lettice Knollys, the Queen's cousin who had become recently widowed. The two had previously had an affair and they secretly wed. When Elizabeth found out about the marriage months later both were banished from Court. While Dudley later returned to court and the Queens favour, Lettice was never welcomed back. They had a son but he died aged four. Dudley died in 1588, most likely of cancer. Elizabeth had received a letter from him just a few days previous to his death. She wrote "His Last Letter" on it and kept it in her treasure box until her death.
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