Robert Dudley is one of the most popular figures of Elizabeth England, most because he was Elizabeth's great love (and possibly lover?). He pursued Elizabeth for years, trying to get her to marry him. Of course, the "Virgin" Queen resisted. Rather, she offered him friendship. He accepted, but this didn't stop him from finding..."friendship" elsewhere as well.
|Robert's illegitimate son Robert|
She gave birth to a son and named him Robert Dudley (as if to say "Yeah...it's totally your kid, jerk). Robert accepted paternity and aided financially in the raising of his son. Douglas eventually remarried and moved to Paris with her new husband. There she became fast friends with Catherine de Medici.
While pursuing Douglas, Robert also pursued her sister, Frances Howard. According to one courtier "There are two sisters now in the court that are very far in love with him, as they have long been; my Lady Sheffield and Frances Howard. They (of like striving who shall love him better) are at great wars together and the queen thinketh not well of them, and not the better of him."
After the proper mourning period (and the fact that she was probably with child), Lettice and Robert secretly married. I suppose Robert was tired of waiting on Elizabeth, and decided that since Lettice was pregnant anyway (not to mention a great beauty), he might as well get an heir out of the whole mess.
|Young Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex|
I suppose if one were to ask Robert Dudley why so many women, he would probably say that there was only one woman for him; Elizabeth. But since he couldn't have her, he had to settle for other, less desirable women.
So, what do you think? Was Dudley a poor puppy to one of the greatest teases in history, or a true Roguish Rake?