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• Queen Elizabeth
Courtship & Love

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Queen Elizabeth

Courtship & Love


Elizabeth's Suitors


Elizabeth had many suitors.


Most were foreign royalty. They included Francis duc d'Alencon from France, Philip of Spain, and Eric of Sweden.

Elizabeth was linked with two Englishmen.


The first was Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. His portrait, at right, is from the Bishop's Bible. Although they were close friends, Elizabeth would not marry him. When he died, Elizabeth mourned in privacy for many days.

The second was Leicester's stepson, Robert Devereux, earl of Essex. Elizabeth and Essex spent a lot of time together at court, but when he led a plot against the throne, she ordered him to be beheaded.



Elizabeth called Leicester her "Eyes." In this letter to her, he drew eyes above his signature. Can you find them?


How to be a Good Courtier

In 1528, an Italian named Baldesar Castiglione wrote a guide to courtly life called The Book of the Courtier .


Would you be a good courtier? See if you have any of the qualities listed below:


• "to have also... a certain grace... that shall make him at the first sight acceptable and loving unto who so beholdeth him"

• "to be known among others... for his fidelity toward him whom he serveth"

• "to show strength, lightness, and quickness"

• to be "a perfecte horseman for every saddle"

• "to speak and write well"

• "and beside his understanding... upon the book, [to] have skill in like manner on sundry instruments"


Married to England

Elizabeth was a smart leader. As a woman, she knew that if she were to marry, she would lose some of the power she enjoyed as queen.

Elizabeth was also aware of her responsibility to England. She knew that marrying the prince of another country could weaken her own nation or cause conflict with other countries.



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