Elizabeth I’s love life: ended up being she truly a ‘Virgin Queen’?

For a king known for the lady alleged virginity, Elizabeth I’s relationship has long been the topic of big speculation. Right here, Dr Anna Whitelock, a reader at the beginning of latest background at Royal Holloway, institution of London, examines exactly what truly continued behind the sealed gates of so-called Virgin king

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Throughout the years, countless guides, novels, performs and movies posses portrayed Elizabeth I’s interactions with numbers such as for example Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, therefore the Duke of Anjou. Inside lack of absolute proof somehow, issue ‘did they or performedn’t they?’ will usually linger. But something obvious is, both in the home and abroad, rumours about Elizabeth’s sex life – real or envisioned – circulated throughout their leadership. Definately not being the Virgin king, for some aggressive perceiver Elizabeth is the ‘whore’ of Europe.

Contemporary thinking regarding the ‘insatiable’ intimate appetites of females, along with Elizabeth’s problems to get married

fuelled suspicions that king ended up being engaged in key sexual liaisons. The lady Catholic enemies challenged this lady advantage, and implicated their of a “filthy lust” which had “defiled her human body together with nation”. The king of France joked that one on the big questions throughout the day had been “whether Queen Elizabeth ended up being a maid or no”. The courts of Europe happened to be abuzz with gossip regarding king of England’s conduct.

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From the most very first period of their leadership, rumours distributed of Elizabeth’s union with Robert Dudley, the lady “sweet Robin” whom she have identified since youth. Within days of their accession, Elizabeth got appointed Dudley as grasp of this pony – a position that guaranteed just about every day contact. (more…)