Venice: February 1566

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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'Venice: February 1566', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 374-375. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

February 1566

1566. Feb. 19. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 359. Giacomo Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
I heard lately that Lord Robert [Dudley] was in disgrace with the Queen of England, and on asking her Ambassador resident here [Sir Thomas Smith] he confirmed the fact, and narrated the cause to me as follows.
It being the custom in England on the day of the Epiphany to name a King; a gentleman was chosen who had lately found favour with Queen Elizabeth, and a game of questions and answers being proposed, as usual amongst merry-makers, he commanded Lord Robert to ask the Queen, who was present, which was the most difficult to erase from the mind, an evil opinion created by a wicked informer, or jealousy ? and Lord Robert, being unable to refuse, obeyed. The Queen replied courteously that both things were difficult to get rid of, but that, in her opinion, it was much more difficult to remove jealousy.
The game being ended, Lord Robert, angry with that gentleman for having put this question to the Queen, and assigning perhaps a sense to this proceeding other than jest, sent to threaten him, through the medium of a friend, that he would castigate him with a stick. The gentleman replied that this was not punishment for equals, and that if Lord Robert came to insult him, he would find whether his sword cut and thrust, and that if Lord Robert had no quarrel with him Lord Robert was to let him know where he was to be found, because he would then go to Lord Robert quite alone; but the only answer Lord Robert gave was that this gentleman was not his equal, and that he would postpone chastising him till he thought it time to do so.
Shortly afterwards the gentleman went to the Queen, and let her know the whole circumstance. Her Majesty was very angry with Lord Robert, and said that if by her favour he had become insolent he should soon reform, and that she would lower him just as she had at first raised him; and she banished from the Court the gentleman who had taken his message. Lord Robert was quite confused by the Queen's anger, and, placing himself in one of the rooms of the palace in deep melancholy, remained there four consecutive days, and showing by his despair that he could no longer live; so the Queen, moved to pity, restored him again to her favour; yet, as the Ambassador told me, his good fortune, if perhaps not impeded, will at least have been delayed a little, for it had been said that she would shortly proclaim him Duke and marry him. Bourbon, 19th February 1566.