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About Robert Dudley


In 1578, he married the Queen's cousin, Lettice Devereux, Countess of Essex. He may well have been in love with her, as she was certainly a very vivacious, attractive woman, but in all probability he married her because she was pregnant, and was pressurized into making an honest woman of her by her influential family. Legend has it that Robert kept his marriage from the Queen for a year, but recently this has been brought into question. It is more likely that the Queen knew of his marriage shortly after it took place. It would have been very difficult for him to hide his marriage, as his enemies would have been very eager to tell the Queen about it. Lettice miscarried of their first child, but in 1579/80 gave birth to a son ,who she also named Robert. However, the child was not healthy and died in 1584. Robert was devastated. He had idolised his little son, and with his death, died his dream of perpetuating his dynasty. He had another son, also named Robert, from his affair with Lady Dudley Sheffield in the early 1570's, but he was illegitimate, and illegitimate children could not usually inherit their father's titles.

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Robert Dudley's Timeline