Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall
Elizabeth I's Secret Lover
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Available in Hardback or Amazon Kindle
Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall
Elizabeth I's Secret Lover
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Available in Hardback or Amazon Kindle

‘For a great biography on Robert Dudley, then you need to grab this book! Perfect and full! Robert Stedall has written the ultimate book, which will go down as one of the best books on Dudley in the future.’

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Elizabeth I’s Secret Lover – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

In many respects Dudley was the most significant figure of his age. As a great impresario, he showed Elizabeth off to her people to glittering effect and became the forerunner of Shakespearian theatre, combining classicism with ribaldry. He attracted the financing of Drake’s circumnavigation. He was the supporter of academic endeavour, of poetry, and of Puritan scholarship. By employing a network of his own agents, he provided information of crucial importance to Government. He built some of the finest houses and gardens of the age. As Master of the Horse, he developed English bloodstock to provide horses for Royal and military requirements. He saw to it that England’s navy and army was properly prepared to meet Continental aggression when needed.

Lord Robert Dudley has faced criticism from historians by competing with William Cecil to gain the ear of Elizabeth I and thwarting his efforts to arrange a political marriage for her to protect against Continental Catholic aggression. There can be no doubt that Elizabeth wanted to marry him. He was devastatingly attractive, athletic and loyal. The text provides compelling evidence that the ‘virgin queen’ spent time in bed with him.

An influential and important character of the Elizabethan age, this biography places Robert Dudley within the context of the time and how he navigated court as the favourite of the infamous Elizabeth I.

Marketing and sales highlights

  •  Fresh account of Robert Dudley, favourite and would-be husband of Elizabeth I.
  • Provides a clear explanation of his relationship with Elizabeth, the not so Virgin Queen and his other loves.
  • Provides details of the extraordinary range of his support for academics, poets, the theatre, breeding of horses, mercantile exploration, house building, military and naval development, and international diplomacy.
  • Redresses criticisms of his character arising from being Cecil’s rival, when both needed each other.
  • Shows him in the context of other members of the Dudley dynasty, particularly his father the Duke of Northumberland, his brothers (including Lord Guildford Dudley who married Lady Jane Grey), his sisters, and his nephew, Sir Philip Sidney.

UK edition

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Publish date: 18 March 2020
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1526761484
ISBN-13: 978-1526761484

US & Canada Edition

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books, Ltd.
Publish date: July 2020
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1643134727
ISBN-13: 978-1643134727

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What people are saying

‘This book offers a complex and detailed story of how Robert Dudley came to prominence at Elizabeth's court. His background, family and whereabouts are traced with great care, and his relationship with Elizabeth is discussed as well. The book starts with Robert's father, John Dudley, who was executed for his involvement in placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne in 1553. Robert's private and political lives are outlined in this book, and I've learned a great deal about the man. There's also a comprehensive list of references and a bibliography. If you're interested in Dudley, this is the book for you!’

Goodreads – Constant Reader

‘Although I have read many books about the Tudor period I knew little of Robert Dudley's life. In those books focusing on the reign of Elizabeth I, Dudley is often made out as a playboy, swanning around court, safe in the knowledge he was the Queen's favourite. This book gives a detailed overview of his life including his success as Master of the Horse, his patronage of the arts as well as his life in the military. We will never know if he and Elizabeth I were lovers but Robert Dudley certainly played an important part in her life.’

NetGalley, Jen Lynch

'Stedall has an engaging no-nonsense writing style, leavened with a wry humor. His commitment is to the facts, and it can be challenging to follow the alliances and misalliances, as Spain, France and England vie with each other for control of Europe. But all in all, this story practically tells itself. It offers confirmation, if we needed it, that the story of England’s Tudors will never, ever grow old.'

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 2020

'I love the Tudor era and will read everything and anything given the opportunity so was thrilled to be able to read this I absolutely LOVED this - well researched and written in an absorbing and accessible way - I learned so much A privilege to have been able to read this - cant rate highly enough'

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

‘Although I was aware Robert Dudley was a favourite of Elizabeth I and had read about the mystery surrounding his wife Amy Robsart's death I was unaware of much else regarding Dudley. Stedall gives a detailed overview of his life including his youth which was very intriguing. Through reading this I've learnt about Dudley' s accomplishments as a military man and his patronage of the arts. I'd previously thought Dudley a somewhat social butterfly of Elizabeth's court I've now learnt how much of an important role he played in advising Elizabeth and providing balance to her other advisors like Cecil. It also highlights how Elizabeth often used their relationship to demoralise Dudley and use him to her advantage. The book is clearly the result of a lot of research produced in a well written manner.’

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

‘Whether or not Dudley was liked by contemporaries other than Elizabeth, or whether anyone else has written his life since 1974, the fact is that Stedall has now taken up the challenge with a terrific book which I have very much enjoyed. I can well believe that it did require fortitude and much research and in the process it contributes to the de-mystification which Paul Johnson saw the need for. What is pleasing about it is that it does justice not just to an amazing person in Robert, but also to a touching relationship between two of the most extraordinary people in our history at the height of their powers, and on the right side of history also.’

Alan Ground, Customer Review

‘Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, loved by Elizabeth I but seemingly hated by many others. Even the Cate Blanchett film 'Elizabeth' paints him as ultimately traitorous to the Queen, but what was Leicester really like? Did he kill his first wife so he could marry Elizabeth? Was he Machiavellian or misunderstood? This book goes a long to help rehabilitate Leicester's reputation and it seems he was no worse than many others of the era including his longtime enemy Cecil/Burleigh. In fact he was a patron of the arts, a competent military man, and was in many ways indispensable to the Queen. He made many mistakes and was not perfect, but then again neither was Elizabeth who could be mercurial to say the least. It is likely that (as in the title), Leicester was Elizabeth's lover at one point, but as we know, she could never quite bring herself to marry him. The author also gives the reader plenty of background history which helps to explain why things happened as they did. It's an interesting read which doesn't become too bogged down with historical dates and extraneous detail, and I recommend this if you are a fan of Tudor history.’

NetGalley, Gayle Noble

‘This book provides an interesting and well informed account of Robert Dudley, a character I previously knew very little about. I liked how well supported the 'facts' of this book were, as so much of the history of this time can be supposition. However, I really felt the author knew what he was talking about here and clearly he has a great passion for his topic - thank you Robert, I learned a lot.’

NetGalley, Amelia Louise