Despite widespread interest in Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, little has been written about him in decades past. In Elizabeth I's Last Favourite, Sarah-Beth Watkins brings the story of his life, and death, back into the public eye.
In the later years of Elizabeth I's reign, Robert Devereux became the ageing queen's last favourite. The young upstart courtier was the stepson of her most famous love, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Although he tried, throughout his life, to live up to his stepfather's memory, Essex would never be the man he was. His love for the queen ran in tandem with undercurrents of selfishness and greed. Yet, Elizabeth showered him with affection, gifts and the tolerance only a mother could have for an errant son. In return, for a time, Essex flattered her and pandered to her every whim.
But, one disastrous commission after another befell the earl, from his military campaigns, to voyages seeking treasure, to his stint as spymaster. Ultimately, his relationship with the queen would suffer and his final act of rebellion would force Elizabeth I to ensure her last favourite troubled her no more.