Elizabeth and Leicester

Ref: C2338764

Find out about Elizabeth I's love affair with Robert Dudley; their imprisonment in the Tower during the reign of Mary I; the death of Amy Robsart and Elizabeth's relationship with her cousin Lettice Knollys who was banished upon her marriage to the earl of Leicester. Consider the question that the King of France asked - "Is Queen Elizabeth a maid or no?" Delve into the way Dudley carved a political and military career for himself as well as breaking free of Elizabeth to make his own marriage. Explore the complexities of their relationship. When he died in 1588, Elizabeth shut herself away with grief. An opportunity to consider the private life of royalty and the impact of a traitor's son and grandson upon the politics of the period as well as to look at the way in which the scandal of "Sweet Robin" resonates down the centuries.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley story and an overview of the politics and key figures of the period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Tell the story of Amy Robsart and outline the key consequence of her death upon the relationship of Elizabeth and Dudley.
  • Describe some of the ways that Elizabeth's private life meshed with her public persona as demonstrated through her relationship with Dudley.
  • Discuss the different historical views of Elizabeth and Leicester.
  • Outline three ways in which Leicester can be identified as an independent social and political power base within the Elizabethan court.
  • Discuss with three examples the way in which evidence can be interpreted.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Handouts will be provided. A notepad and pen will be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but students may wish to read Gristwood, Sarah (2007) Elizabeth and Leicester. London: Transworld.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Elizabeth and Leicester


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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