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DUDLEY, Robert, Earl of Leicester [1532-1588] -- English nobleman and courtier

Relationship to me: 3C14
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Leicester led a charmed existence. His family seemed drawn to the headsman as a moth to the flame. His father, brother and his grandfather were all beheaded. Robert himself was convicted of High Treason, which carried a particularly gruesome penalty: to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He not only escaped that fate -- despite his confessed guilt -- but Queen ¤Elizabeth's first act after her accession was to create him 1st Earl of Leicester! Dudley became Elizabeth's favorite, and they may have become lovers. Then there was the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Dudley's wife, Amy, which became the subject of Sir Walter Scott's novel, Kenilworth.

There has been a recent revival of interest in Robert Dudley, due in part to sympathetic portrayals in the media, such as the 1998 movie Elizabeth, and Derek Wilson's 1981 biography, Sweet Robin. Wilson does a fair job of rehabilitating the reputations of Robert's father and grandfather in the bargain.  -30-
 

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