Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester

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Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (l. c. 1532-1588 CE), was a high-ranking courtier who rose to become a favourite of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE). Rumours abounded that Dudley sought to marry the queen, and their relationship may well have gone beyond that of monarch and minister. Holding all manner of titles and estates, Dudley pushed for a more aggressive approach to foreign policy but came unstuck in two failed expeditions to help rebel Protestants in the Netherlands between 1585 and 1587 CE. Dashing and entertaining, the Earl of Leicester accompanied the queen on many of her annual tours around England and maintained a special place in her affections until his death in September 1588 CE.

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