OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Elizabeth page 11

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 <11> 12 13

"Whilst Eric was wooing Elizabeth, the King of Denmark, out of political jealousy, sent over his nephew Adolphus, Duke of Holstein. He arrived March 20th, 1560, and was received with much honour. Adolphus was young, handsome, had a great military reputation, and is said to have been really in love with the queen. Elizabeth appeared equally charmed with him, but she could not prevail on herself to accept him. She made him Knight of the Garter, gave him a splendid reception and splendid presents, and then politely dismissed him.

At the same time that Charles of Austria, Eric of Sweden, and Adolphus of Holstein were contending for the royal, prize, the Earl of Arran was put forward by Cecil himself, and strongly recommended as giving a claim on the throne of Scotland. Arran, the son of the Duke of Chatelherault, had been very active in the Scottish war of the Reformation, stimulated by the smiles of the queen, and the support of her great minister; but when, in 1560, he made a formal application for his reward, Elizabeth shrouded herself in her old affected dislike of matrimony, and when Arran retired in confusion, complained that, though crowned heads had prosecuted their suits for years, the Scot did not deign to prefer his request a second time. Arran soon after lost his reason, and the loss was attributed to this disappointment.

To this list of regal or princely suitors we may add Hans Casimir, the eldest son of the Elector Palatine. He was a remarkably handsome youth of three-and-twenty, who, though betrothed to the beautiful Mademoiselle de Lorraine, abandoned that alliance from the persuasion that, once seen by Elizabeth, he was sure of success. Hans Casimir entreated Sir James Melville, who was in his father's service, to proceed to London and prefer his suit. Melville, who was a shrewd Scotchman, declined the commission; but Casimir found another agent, who, with his father's sanction, delivered his message. The queen replied that "the young prince must come to England, either openly or in disguise, for she would never marry a man that she had not seen." This reply of the Royal coquette gave Casimir the highest hopes, but again Melville withstood his suit, by declaring that he knew the queen never meant to marry, and therefore his journey would be a fool's errand, producing nothing but disappointment and enormous expense. Ho consented, however, to take his picture, which he did, and Elizabeth treated it with contempt. On Melville sending this intelligence to Hans Casimir, he was so far from resenting this treatment, or taking it to heart, that he thanked Melville for his services, and immediately married the eldest daughter of the Duke of Saxe.

Amongst suitors of lesser rank we may name the grand prior of France, brother of the Duke of Guise, and the youngest uncle of the Queen of Scots. On returning to France from accompanying Mary to Scotland, with the constables and 100 gentlemen of that embassy, he and his associates paid a visit to the English Court. Elizabeth received them with great distinction, and appeared particularly charmed with the grand prior. He was a handsome and bold fellow, and entered into this Royal flirtation with all his heart. Brantome, who was one of the company, says, "I have often heard the Queen of England address him thus: 'Ah, mon prieur, I love you much; but I hate that brother Guise of yours, who tore from mo my town of Calais.'" With this gay cavalier the English queen danced, and showed him great attention; but let him go, and found consolation in admirers nearer home. One of these was Sir William Pickering, a handsome man, of good address, and a taste for literature, who for some weeks engrossed so much of her attention, that the courtiers set him down as the fortunate man. He was soon, however, forgotten, and the more mature Earl of Arundel, a man of high descent, appeared to have a still more favourable hold on the fancy of the maiden queen. This nobleman, who, though a Papist, to please the queen voted for the Reformation, and who nearly ruined himself in expensive presents and entertainments for her, fell in a while under her displeasure, and was made a prisoner in his own house, for participation in the scheme of marrying the Duke of Norfolk to Mary of Scotland. But of all the long array of the lovers of this famous queen, foreign or English, none ever acquired such a place in her regard and favour as the Lord Robert Dudley, one of the sons of the Duke of Northumberland, who had been attainted, with his father and family, for his participation in the attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, to the exclusion of Queen Mary and of this very Elizabeth. The queen restored him in blood, made him master of the horse, installed him Knight of the Garter, and, soon after this period, Earl of Leicester, This maiden queen, who had rejected so many kings and princes, soon became so enamoured of this young nobleman, that their conduct became the scandal of the Court and country. The reports were believed, both in this country and abroad, of their living as man and wife, even whilst Leicester was still the husband of Amy Robsart. The Queen of Scots, in one of her letters, tells her that she hears this asserted, and that she had promised to marry him before one of the ladies of the bedchamber. Confirming this belief, Miss Strickland admits that Elizabeth had Leicester's chamber adjoining her own. Throckmorton, her ambassador, sent his secretary, Jones, to inform Elizabeth privately, and at the suggestion of Cecil and the other ministers, of the common remarks on this subject by the Spanish and Venetian ambassadors at Paris. Elizabeth, listening to Jones's recital, including the account of the murder of Amy Robsart, sometimes laughed, sometimes hid her face in her hands, but replied that she had heard it all before, and did not believe in the murder. From the evidence on this subject, it appears that Elizabeth had promised Dudley to marry him, and was this time very near being involved in the trammels of matrimony but she escaped to have another long string of princely suitors, whose advents we have yet to relate.

Careful to avoid the bonds of matrimony herself, Elizabeth was, however, bent on securing in them the Queen of Scots. Since Mary of Scotland had become a widow, the suitors of Elizabeth had transferred their attentions to her. She was younger and much handsomer; her kingdom was much less important, but then she was by no means so haughty and immovable. She was of a warm, a generous, a poetic nature, and would soon have found a congenial husband, but either her own subjects or her rival Elizabeth had something in each case to object. Her French relatives successively proposed Don Carlos, the son of Philip, and heir of Spain; the Duke of Anjou, one of the brothers of her late husband; the Cardinal de Bourbon, who had not yet taken priest's orders; the Duke of Ferrara, and some others. But none of these would suit her Scottish subjects, for they were all Papists; and they suited Elizabeth as little, for they would create too strong a foreign coalition. Mary, with an extraordinary amiability, listened to all the objections of Elizabeth, and expressed herself quite disposed to accept such a husband as should be agreeable to her. But Mary was not without policy in this condescension. She hoped to induce Elizabeth, by thus being willing to oblige her in this particular, to acknowledge her right to succeed her, but in this she was grievously disappointed. Elizabeth declared that " the right of succession to her throne should never be made a subject of discussion, for it would cause disputes as to the validity of this or that marriage; "that is, it would assuredly bring prominently forward what Elizabeth well knew was the weak place in her own claim - the illegal marriage of her mother. Mary declared herself ready to acknowledge the right of Elizabeth and of her posterity to the English throne, if she would acknowledge that her claim stood next; but Elizabeth replied that she could not do that without conceiving a dislike to Mary, for she asked "how it was possible for her to love any one whose interest it was to see her dead?"

Whilst Elizabeth was making a progress in the summer of 1563, in which her chief visit was to the university of Cambridge, where she made her Latin speech, she was greatly disturbed by the news that her old lover, the Archduke Charles of Austria, was paying his addresses to the Queen of Scots. Stung with both womanly and political jealousy - for Charles, besides his prospect of becoming emperor, was one of the most noble and chivalric princes in Europe - Elizabeth sent off the astute Randolph to Scotland to show Mary how very unfit a person was the archduke for her husband. He had been proposed by the Cardinal of Lorraine, - a sufficient proof, Randolph was to remind her, of his being an enemy to England; and that, if she married an enemy of England, there was an end of any chance of her succession. At the same time Elizabeth ordered Cecil to write to Mundt, one of the pensionaries in Germany, that the emperor should be advised to renew the offer of his son to the Queen of England; but the emperor replied that he had had a sufficient sample of the selfish and hollow policy of Elizabeth, and would not expose himself to a second insult.

Mary behaved with as much candour in the matter as Elizabeth had with duplicity. She told Randolph that she found it difficult to meet the views of her good sister in this matter; but that, if she would advise her in the choice of a husband, she would willingly listen to hei. Randolph said that it would be most agreeable to his Royal mistress if she would choose an English nobleman. Mary replied that she should be glad to know whom her Royal cousin would recommend, and was astonished to learn that the husband destined for her was no other than Lord Robert Dudley, the favourite of Elizabeth herself, and regarded by all the world as her future husband. Mary was so much piqued at what could not but appear to her a studied mystification, that she replied that "she considered it beneath her dignity to marry a subject." This was a hard hit at Elizabeth, who was supposed to be intending that very thing, and the pungent remark was not lost on her; nor the equally sarcastic remark that "she looked on the offer of a person so dear to Elizabeth as a proof of good-will rather than of good meaning."

Elizabeth observed with much spleen that Mary had treated the offer which she had made her with mockery, but Mary protested that she never had, and wondered who could so have represented her words. The circumstance became the public talk and laughter both of the two Courts and of Europe; and Dudley affected to be much offended by the nomination of him as the husband of Mary. He regarded the whole scheme, however, as a plot of Cecil to remove him from the English Court. Elizabeth, on her part, for at this time she was absolutely ridiculous in her doting on Dudley, was wonderfully flattered by his reluctance to leave her for the beautiful Queen of Scots, and she determined to lavish fresh titles and favours on him. She had already granted him the castle and manor of Kenilworth and Astel Grove, the lordships and manors of Denbigh and Chirk, with other lands, and a licence for the exportation of cloth - a monopoly, in fact: she now resolved to give him new estates and dignity.

Mary, that she might do away with the ill effect of her sarcasms, sent Sir James Melville to London to consult with Elizabeth, in personal interview, fully and candidly as to the person that she would really recommend as her consort. Sir James was an able diplomatist, who had travelled, and seen much of men and courts. He had, as we have seen, been commissioned to forward the suit of Hans Casimir, son of the Elector Palatine, to Elizabeth, and had taken a very clear view of her character. Perhaps no man, who was only an occasional visitor of her court, so thoroughly understood her weak points. These are made most conspicuous in the narrative which he has left of those interviews which he had with her.

Elizabeth received him at her palace at Westminster, at eight o'clock, in her garden. She asked Melville if his queen had made up her mind regarding the man who should be her husband. He replied that she was just now thinking more of some disputes upon the borders, and that she was desirous that her Majesty should send my Lord of Bedford and my Lord Dudley to meet her and her commissioners there. Elizabeth affected to be hurt at Melville naming the Earl of Bedford first. She said that "it appeared to her as if I made but small account of Lord Robert, seeing that I named Bedford before him; but ere it were long she would make him a greater earl, and I should see it done before me, for she esteemed him as one whom she should have married herself, if she had ever been minded to take a husband. But being determined to end her life in virginity, she wished that the queen her sister should marry him, for with him she might find it in her heart to declare Queen Mary second person, rather than any other; for, being matched with him, it would best remove out of her mind all fear and suspicion of usurpation before her death."

Elizabeth immediately carried into effect her, word that she would make Dudley an earl, by creating him, whilst Melville was present, Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh. "This was done," he says, "with great state at Westminster, herself helping to put on his robes, he sitting on his knees before her, and keeping a great gravity and discreet behaviour; but as for the queen, she could not refrain from putting her hand in his neck to tickle him, smilingly, the French ambassador and I standing beside her. Then she asked me 'how I liked him.' I said, 'as lie was a worthy subject, so he was happy in a great prince, who could discern and reward good service.' 'Yet,' she replied, 'ye like better of yon long lad,' pointing towards my Lord Darnley, who, as nearest prince of the blood, that day bare the sword before her. My answer was, 'that no woman of spirit would make choice of sic a man, that was liker a woman than a man, for he was lusty, beardless, and lady-faced.' I had no will that she should think I liked him, though I had a secret charge to deal with his mother, Lady Lennox, to purchase leave for him to pass to Scotland."

At this crisis it may be as well to see who these two noblemen were. We have seen that Dudley, now Earl of Leicester, was the son of the late attainted Duke of Northumberland and brother of the attainted Lord Guildford Dudley. Leicester had won the fancy of Elizabeth by his showy person, for that was his only attractive quality. He was neither brave, nor of superior ability, nor honourable. He had the worst possible character with the public at large for almost every vice, and was confidently believed to be the murderer of his wife, the beautiful Amy Robsart, whose story Sir Walter Scott has told in his "Kenilworth." As Leicester saw a prospect of marrying the queen, he is said, according to a contemporary account, to have sent his wife "to the house of his servant, Foster, of Cumnor, by Oxford, where shortly after she had the chance to fall from a pair of stairs, and so to break her neck, but yet without hurting of her hood that stood upon her head. But Sir Richard Varney, who, by commandment, remained with her that day alone with one man, and had sent away perforce all her servants from her to a market two miles off - he, I say, with his man, can tell you how she died."

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 <11> 12 13

Pictures for Elizabeth page 11

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About