Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman and the most skilful astronomer of the sixteenth century. He was paid by King Frederick II of Denmark to observe the heavens from his underground observatory with the naked eye. It would be thirty years until the telescope would be invented.
Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley was the mastermind behind the world’s first secret service under the direction of Francis Walsingham. Their spy network included code-breakers, Priest hunters and Catholic double agents. Cecil was Elizabeth I’s chief adviser, was Secretary of State, Lord High Treasurer and the Lord privy seal.
Princess Elizabeth began the year of 1536 as a ‘High and mighty Royal Princess’ and ended it as just another royal bastard. Her mother Queen Anne Boleyn was executed for treason and adultery on 19th May 1536 and from that moment her daughter’s world was turned upside down.
When Edward IV died unexpectedly of a short illness aged forty in April 1471 he left two sons. Richard Duke of York, aged 9 and Edward, Prince of Wales aged 12.
When Bess of Hardwick died, aged 81, she was the most powerful woman in Elizabethan England after the Queen. In her lifetime she had kept company with Mary Queen of Scots, married her grandchild into Royalty, was friends with Robert Dudley and William Cecil. She was close to the tragic Grey family and she was often at court. It is said that every aristocratic family in Britain has her blood running through their veins including the present Royal family. When Bess died she was the very wealthy Countess of Shrewsbury but her life had begun very differently.
Henry VIII had been married for nine years when he began his affair with 18 year old Elizabeth Blount. She was a maid of honour in Queen Katherine of Aragon’s household. Bessie had the reputation of being very beautiful. After giving birth to the King’s son she married Gilbert Tailboy’s, 1st Baron of Kyme and the king provided the newlyweds with a manor in Warwickshire.