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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Royal Wards
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0135  Wednesday, 8 March 2006

From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 19:29:40 -0000
Subject: 17.0128 Royal Wards
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0128 Royal Wards

James Bromley writes ...

 >Wardship, from what I understand, was subject to incredible
 >abuses when it came to marrying off wards ...

As indeed was the case with Shakespeare's patron, and ex-royal ward, 
Henry Wriothesley.  In 1581 Henry's father, the 2nd Earl of Southampton, 
died in mysterious circumstances after aiding the Jesuit Edmund Campion, 
and eight year old Henry became the 3rd Earl.  Chief minister William 
Cecil, Lord Burghley, then stepped in to remove the boy from the 
influence of his mother and Catholic tutors at Southampton House and 
made Henry a royal ward.  This was a form of kidnapping, its only 
purpose to ensure that the young Earl got a Protestant education.  In 
1590, when Henry was 17, Burghley tried to marry his 15 year old 
grand-daughter Elizabeth Vere to the young earl. After secretly taking 
advice from Shakespeare's cousin, the Jesuit Robert Southwell, Henry 
refused the marriage offer and moved back in with his mother at 
Southampton House.

Peter Bridgman

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