Sir Robert Dudley Duke of Northumberland

This swashbuckling chancer lived two lives, the first English, the second Italian. Raymond E. Role chronicles the chameleon career which ranges from Elizabethan privateer, explorer and courtier to Stuart expatriate, religious renegade, shipbuilder, architect, inventor, engineer, cartographer and paterfamilias.

'I love many good parts that are in Sir Robert Dudley, but dislike many of the evil ones,’ wrote Lord Roos in a letter to Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales, in 1612. These laconic sentiments perfectly describe the split personaility of this remarkable renegade. Born on August 7th, 1574, he was the only child of his namesake, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Lady Douglas Howard, widow of Lord John Sheffield. They had had to keep their recent marriage a secret, concealed from Queen Elizabeth, Leicester’s not-so-secret and wildly jealous lover. 

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