11 December – A lavish reception for Anne of Cleves and the burial of Douglas Sheffield, lover of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Posted By on December 11, 2021

On this day in Tudor history, 11th December 1539, Anne of Cleves and her retinue were received at Gravelines, just a few miles outside of Calais, by Lord Lisle, Deputy of Calais.

Anne of Cleves was on her way to England to marry King Henry VIII, but her journey had been rather slow and she was about to be delayed even more.

The reception was rather lavish, with everyone dressed up to the nines.

Enjoy a contemporary description in this talk…

Also on this day in history, 11th December 1608, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s former ladies and a lover of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster.

Her name was Douglas Sheffield and she was the mother of Leicester’s illegitimate son, Sir Robert Dudley.

Find out more about Douglas Sheffield, who claimed to be Leicester’s legal wife, in this video…

1 thought on “11 December – A lavish reception for Anne of Cleves and the burial of Douglas Sheffield, lover of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester”

  1. Christine says:

    Douglas Sheffield and yes what an unattractive name for a young lady was the daughter of William Howard Lord of Effingham and the mother of several children, by her first husband John Sheffield she had a son and a daughter, and than she had a love affair with Queen Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Dudley 1st Earl Of Leicester, she also had a son by him and claimed after Dudley’s death to have been his legal wife, it was probably just a secret ceremony the couple went through because Douglas was pregnant, and Dudley wanted to pacify her, some years after he wrote her a letter telling her he could never have married her because he would have fallen out of favour with the queen and therefore this letter is proof surely, that there was no real marriage at all? He also offered her money to say they had never been married but Douglas refused, however she later accepted the money and Dudley acknowledged her son as his, by now he had fallen out of love with Douglas and had set his sights on the countess of Essex, Douglas was the eldest of two sisters, her sibling Frances had also fallen in love with the handsome and charismatic Dudley and they would bicker amongst themselves and vie for his attention, this was not unnoticed by the queen who chided her favourite for possibly basking in the attentions of the two warring females, it must have been difficult being queens favourite, no other woman was allowed near him, but Robert Dudley did go on to marry her kinswoman Lettice Knollys which infuriated Elizabeth so much she banished Lettice from court, and kept her husband from her as much as possible, we have no portraits of Douglas but she was possibly attractive and her son thrived and grew up to be as colourful a character as his father, he led an expedition to the West Indies and wrote a book about his travels, became a famous cartographer and later left for Italy with his lover and cousin Elizabeth Southwell where he spent the rest of his days, he fathered many children including those with his first wife, and with Elizabeth and died at the age of seventy five, pretty impressive for an Elizabethan, he was left his fathers estate of Kenilworth and unsuccessfully tried to claim his parents had been married, the union of Robert Dudley and Douglas Sheffield remains disputed to this day, but it will probably never be resolved, Douglas was the mother of his only child, Lettice had a son by him also called Robert but he died young and is mentioned on his parents beautiful tomb, meanwhile his illegitimate son has many descendants to this day .

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