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baron of Denbigh, and earl of Leicester, son to John duke of Northumberland,

, baron of Denbigh, and earl of Leicester, son to John duke of Northumberland, and brother to Ambrose earl of Warwick, before mentioned, was born about 1532, and coming early into the service and favour of king Edward, was knighted in his youth. June 1550 he espoused Amy, daughter of sir John Robsart, at Sheen in Surrey, the king honouring their nuptials with his presence; and was immediately advanced to considerable offices at court. In the first year of Mary he fell into the same misfortunes with the rest of his family; was imprisoned, tried, and condemned; but pardoned for life, and set at liberty in October 1554. He was afterwards restored in blood, as we have observed in the former article. On the accession of Elizabeth, he was immediately entertained at court as a principal favourite: he was made master of the horse, installed knight of the garter, and sworn of the privy-council in a very short time. He obtained moreover prodigious grants, one after another, from the crown: and all things gave way to his ambition, influence, and policy. In his attendance upon the queen to Cambridge, the highest reverence was paid him: he was lodged in Trinity college, consulted in all things, requests made to the queen through him; and, on August 10, 1564, he on his knees entreated the queen to speak to the iruversity in Latin, which she accordingly did, and was probably prepared to grant the request. At court, however, Thomas earl of Sussex shewed himself averse to his counsels, and strongly promoted the overture of a marriage between the queen and the archduke Charles of Austria; as much more worthy of such a princess than any subject of her own, let his qualities be what they would. This was resented by Dudley, who insinuated that foreign alliances were always fatal; that her sister Mary never knew an easy minute after her marriage with Philip; that her majesty ought to consider, she was herself descended of such a marriage as by those lofty notions was decried: so that she could not contemn an alliance with the nobility of England, but must at the same time reflect on her father’s choice, and her mother’s family. This dispute occasioned a violent rupture between the two lords, which the queen took into her hands, and composed; but without the least diminution of Dudley’s ascendancy, who still continued to solicit and obtain new grants and offices for himself and his dependants, who were so numerous, and made so great a figure, that he was styled by the common people “The Heart of the Court.

ace, filled the world with the rumour of a lamentable tragedy . In Sept. 1564, the queen created him baron of Denbigh,­and, the day after, earl of Leicester, with great

To give some colour to these marks of royal indulgence, the queen proposed him as a suitor to Mary queen of Scots; promising to that princess all the advantages she could expect or desire, either for herself or her subjects, in case she consented to the match. The sincerity of this was suspected at the time, when the deepest politicians believed that, if the queen of Scotland had complied, it would have served only to countenance the preferring him to his sovereign’s bed. The queen of Scots rejected the proposal in a manner that, some have thought, proved as fatal to her as it had done to his own lady, who was supposed to be sacrificed to his ambition of marrying a queen. The death of this unfortunate person happened September 8, 1560, at a very unlucky juncture for his reputation; because the world at that time conceived it might be much for his conveniency to be without a wife, this island having then two queens, young, and without husbands. The manner too of this poor lady’s death, which, Camden says, was by a fall from a high place, filled the world with the rumour of a lamentable tragedy . In Sept. 1564, the queen created him baron of Denbigh,­and, the day after, earl of Leicester, with great pomp and ceremony; and, before the close of the year, he was made chancellor of Oxford, as he had been some time before high-steward of Cambridge. His great influence in the court of England was not only known at home, but abroad, which induced the French king, Charles IX. to send him the order of St. Michael, then the most honourable in France; and he was installed with great solemnity in 1565. About 1572 it is supposed that the earl married Douglas, baroness dowager of Sheffield: which, however, was managed with such privacy, that it did not come to the queen’s ears, though a great deal of secret history was published, even in those days, concerning the adventures of this unfortunate lady, whom, though the earl had actually married her, and there were legal proofs of it, yet he never would own as his wife. The earl, in order to stifle this affair, proposed every thing he could think of to lady Douglas Sheffield, to make her desist from her pretensions but, finding her obstinate, and resolved not to comply with his proposals, he attempted to take her off by poison “For it is certain,” says Dugdale, “that she had some ill potions given her, so that, with the loss of her hair and nails, she hardly escaped death.” It is, however, beyond all doubt, that the earl had by her a son (sir Robert Dudley, of whom we shall speak hereafter, and to whom, by the name of his Base Son, he left the bulk of his fortune), and also a daughter.