Friday, November 14, 2008

Question from Kayleigh - Elizabeth and Raleigh

From reading the majority view in answers on here, i know that people tend to believe that Elizabeth I died a virgin. I also know that she was said to have loved the earl of leicester, Dudley. What i am unsure of, is her relationship with Walter Raleigh? Did she love him also?


Anonymous said...

Please, really would like some help with this.

Lara said...

About all I know about them is that he was one of her favorites, but any biography of the Queen should have at least *something* about Elizabeth and Raleigh.

There are also some books on Raleigh himslef and some about Elizabeth and her various sailors out there (but I don't know how much the later might go into the personal relationships).

Foose said...

I don't know much about Sir Walter, but he appears to have been kin through her mother, and Elizabeth was quietly protective of her family, provided they behaved themselves. He was about 20 years younger than her, so a strong romantic feeling (beyond courtly flirtation) between them is not impossible, but most historians feel that Leicester and Essex were the favorites she had the most intimate relationships with.

Notably she never advanced Walter to high office or allowed him to sit on her Council, although he got some nice minor offices and properties. He was a man of many talents, but something of a "loose cannon," with a reputation for the smart remark that needlessly antagonized powerful people and a restless, impulsive, quixotic turn of mind that became quickly bored. One example of what the queen might have regarded as his unreliable judgment was his seduction of her maid of honor and the resulting clandestine marriage, which sent him to prison for a time.

Elizabeth enjoyed his company and wit, undoubtedly, and bestowed the pet name on him that was a customary signal of her favor, but I don't think he was fully in her confidence. He was definitely the type of man she always liked -- bold, athletic, well educated, adventurous, cultured -- and Essex feared his rivalry and did his best to poison his water with King James VI of Scotland, which paid dividends when James succeeded Elizabeth and ultimately executed Sir Walter.