Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Question from Victoria - Regard for William Cecil

I know that Sir William Cecil was a great advisor to Elizabeth and she relied upon his wisdom. My question is how was he regarded by the noblemen since he seemed to have spies everywhere, and everyone was suspect to their loyalty of the Queen.

2 comments:

PhD Historian said...

Victoria, I hate to see a question go unanswered, and though the topic is outside my area of experise, I would recommend reading some of the books available about Cecil. There are a lot of them out there, and surely some of them address your question. Try searching on the RHS Bibliography under the subject "Cecil, William" for a list of recent books.

http://www.rhs.ac.uk/bibl/dataset.asp

kb said...

I'll help out a bit.

Different noblemen viewed Cecil differently. That's the short answer.

Not EVERYONE was suspected of disloyalty to the crown. However, there were some distinct groups of nobles who were as suspect of Cecil as Cecil was of them. Early in the reign there were some northern earls who felt excluded from the court and launched a rebellion. They were also Catholic so Cecil had been watching them for a bit and in turn they disliked Cecil because he had the ear of the monarch not they.

Much of the time, animosity surrounding Cecil was simple political jealousy. Cecil however also had his 'out of favor' moments with Elizabeth.

Cecil was a bit of a dour sober man and seems to have been very committed to protecting and serving Elizabeth in the manner he thought best - as opposed to the manner SHE thought best. This meant that sometimes Cecil's friendship was the most advantageous political coin of the realm - and sometimes not.