Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sundays Art: The Amy Robsart Case

Michelle Moran posting an interesting link in the news a new incident report was found and holy smokes it is a big one. All of you know I can not pass up anything that has to do with Robert Dudley.

~Did Elizabeth I's 'lover' have wife killed so he could wed the Virgin Queen?~

"It has been the subject of fierce debate for more than 400 years.

Now new evidence has emerged that supports the theory that Amy, the wife of Elizabeth I's close friend and suspected lover Robert Dudley, was murdered so her husband could marry the Queen.
Amy died aged 28 in 1560 after breaking her neck while falling down the stairs at Cumnor Place in Berkshire."

William Frederick Yeames (1835 – 1918) Amy Robsart, 1884 Oil on Board, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

"Amy Robsart was the first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, the 1st Earl of Leicester and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. Legend has it that Robert arranged to have Amy murdered, so he would be free to marry Elizabeth. An official inquest cleared him of wrongdoing, but the story persisted and the scandal is thought to have played some part to discourage the Queen from marrying Dudley. Robsart's story became very popular in the 19th century thanks to Sir Walter Scott, who made her the tragic heroine of his novel Kenilworth; I think it likely that the popularity of that work inspired both this painting and another by the same artist."
I would love to hear what others think about this because for the longest time I just have always had this feeling. Either way poor Robert did not get Elizabeth and he lost Amy too, maybe some things are better off just being left alone?
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  1. You & Allie both posted about this. ;) .. So I'll cross post my comment:
    I have always been of the mind that Amy died of an accidental fall due to her illness. But reading Chris SkIdmore's new book on the subject might shed some new light on it, wish I could get my hands on it! Lettice Knollys, Robert's 2nd wife, is one of my fave characters by the way. Because of My Enemy The Queen by Holt.
    Love your artwork display!

  2. Much of the draw of this new book seems to be the discovery of the coroners report from the time. It reveals fractures to the skull. From this, oddly, the author seems to have arrived at the conclusion that it could be foul play. However, fractures to the skull are consistent with a fall from a high place, so nothing really changes in terms of whether it was an accident or not.

    Moreover, it must remain very unlikely that Dudley would have been culpable in the affair. He was neglectful of his wife, yes, perhaps unkindly so. But it was not uncommon for a husband thus highly placed at court to be away from home for extended periods. It was part of the job description. Moreover, he knew, as did Cecil and the Queen, that it was sadly (in those days) only a matter of time before Amy succumbed to the illness she was suffering from (probably breast cancer), and there would have been nothing to gain for Robert or Elizabeth or even for William Cecil - by having her death hastened unnaturally through violent means – in fact quite the reverse.

    If, indeed, it was foul play that did for poor Amy, it would have been at the hand of an enemy, someone intent on preventing a marriage between her husband and the Queen. Dudley would have been the last person to have wanted it.

  3. I also lean towards the way of Marie and Robert. Amy was already on her way out and with his and Elizabeth's relationship under such close scrutiny it would've been very unwise to have his wife killed at time with the vultures just waiting for him to disgrace himself and he wasn't a stupid man.

    Also, he cared a lot for the Queen and I think would have taken to heart the fact that she would also be hurt by the slander.

    I'd be interested in reading this book though - the subject has always fascinated me!

    Thanks for the post and I love the painting of Amy...she was very pretty.

  4. I picked up a copy of KENILWORTH on one my forays for old books. I really had no idea what it was about, just that I had heard of it and of course knew the author. It will now have to move to my read sooner than later pile.

  5. sounds like an interesting book - although i am not sure of the case... thank you for sharing and for finding the excellent picture, Hannah

  6. Marie, I LOVED Lettice in My Enemy The Queen by Holt. I picked that one up by chance at a used bookstore and still would recommend it.

    Robert, I would have to agree the finding only confirm what we know and that is Amy had a fall and cracked her head. My thoughts on Amy's case would look first more closely at her illness. Maybe instead of just breast cancer maybe she had bone disease. Which both are unimaginably painful.

    Robert being the playboy is above this I think. I do not think he did it. Why? So he could NEVER marry Elizabeth, Amy's death was the seal of the deal. Ever considered William Cecil?

    Amy I know my fellow Robert lover! I just can not picture him being stupid like that either. His family plotted so much and they did not mess around.

    Lucky librarypat, good find.

    Hannah glad you enjoyed it, the art work actually popped up for me somewhere where I can not remember for the life of me but it was just proven to be Amy.


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