Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

The Earl of Essex was one of Elizabeth's favourites. As such, he was appointed to the role of Military Commander to subdue the various rebellions despite the warnings and protestations of wiser counsels. Essex proposed a military solution to the complex political situation that was rapdily spiralling out of control. Furthermore, Spain was being dragged in to the conflict. The stakes could not be higher for Elizabeth.

In 1599, he travelled to Ireland with over 17,000 English troops. Many of the English troops died of various diseases and the Earl of Essex agreed an unauthorised truce with O'Neill, the leader of the Irish rebels. Essex came back without permission from Elizabeth. Convinced of his favourite status, he burst into her dressing chamber. An unseemly clash of words embittered both to each other. He had failed in his Irish mission and had presumed himself equal to the Queen. He was equally concerned that he was to lose his power and influence and launched an abortive coup on February 8th 1601. He was arrested and convicted of treason. He was executed at the Tower of London on February 25, 1601.

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by Stephen Luscombe