Spotlight: Amy Robsart

Name: Amy Robsart.

Title/s: Lady.

Birth / Death: 7 June 1532 – 8 September 1560.

Spouse: Robert Dudley, later Earl of Leicester 1532 – 1588.

Children: None.

Parents: John Robsart and Elizabeth Scott (dates unknown).

Siblings: None

Noble Connections: Wife of the future Earl of Leicester; daughter-in-law of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland; sister-in-law of two Earls of Warwick (John and Ambrose)

Events of their Lifetime: Deaths of Henry VIII (1547), Edward VI (1553) and Mary I (1558), accession of Elizabeth I (1558), nine day reign of Lady Jane Grey (1553).

Controversy: On 8 September 1560 Amy Robsart was found dead at the bottom of a short flight of stairs. There has been debate for centuries about whether she merely slipped and fell, or whether she was pushed. Possible culprits have been suggested as Robert Dudley, her husband, William Cecil, and even Queen Elizabeth I.

Works of Fiction:
Emily Purdy ‘A Court Affair’ (2012)
Philippa Gregory ‘The Virgin’s Lover’ (2004)
Sir Walter Scott ‘Kenilworth’ (1821)

Portrayals on Screen: None

Further Reading:
Lan Aird ‘The Death of Amy Robsart: Accident, Suicide or Murder – Or Disease?’ English Historical Review, 71, 1956, pp. 69-79
Frederick Chamberlain ‘Elizabeth and Leycester’ (1939)
James Gairdner, ‘Bishop de Quadra’s Letter and the Death of Amy Robsart’, English Historical Review, 13, 1898, pp. 83-90
Sarah Gristwood ‘Elizabeth and Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics’ (2007)
Alan Haynes ‘The Elizabethan Earl of Leicester’ (1987)
Elizabeth Jenkins ‘Elizabeth and Leicester’ (2002)
Chris Skidmore ‘Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart’ (2010)


Portrait miniature of an unknown lady, possibly Amy Robsart on the occasion of her wedding, 1550.
Portrait miniature of an unknown lady, possibly Amy Robsart on the occasion of her wedding, 1550.


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