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Earl of Essex Robert Devereux

(1566—1601) soldier and politician


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(1566–1601)

English courtier, favourite of Elizabeth I. He distinguished himself as a soldier during the Dutch Revolt (1586), but earned the queen's displeasure by participating in the disastrous Lisbon expedition (1589) and by marrying Sir Philip Sidney's widow (1590). The love-hate relationship between queen and courtier continued throughout the 1590s. He commanded an English contingent during the French Wars of Religion (1591–92) and shared in the capture of Cadiz (1596). Gradually, his rivalry with the Cecil faction grew. In 1599 Elizabeth sent him as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to put down Tyrone's rebellion. He failed ignominiously and was stripped of his offices. His subsequent attempt to raise the London people in an anti-Cecil coup (1601) led to his trial and execution for treason.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism — History.


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