The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0135 Wednesday, 8 March 2006
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
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