Elizabeth I and the men she loved: How the Queen gave an Essex toyboy her heart, then lopped off his head

Elizabeth I and the men she loved: How the Queen gave an Essex toyboy her heart, then lopped off his head

Elizabeth I and the men she loved: How the Queen gave an Essex toyboy her heart, then lopped off his head

10:18 AM on 31st August 2011

In his major new examination of the Elizabethans, historian A.N. Wilson details the passionate love Queen Elizabeth I felt for several men throughout her reign. Here, in the final part of the Mail’s exclusive serialisation, Wilson reflects on the Queen’s later years — and her disastrous infatuation with a courtier young enough to be her grandson . . .

Off with his head: Hugh Dancy, as the Earl of Eseex, and Helen Mirren as Quen Elizabeth I in a TV drama portraying their love and subsequent soured relationship

Off with his head: Hugh Dancy, as the Earl of Eseex, and Helen Mirren as Quen Elizabeth I in a TV drama portraying their love and subsequent soured relationship

Ruthless: Queen Elizabeth I, although privately mocked for doting on her favourites, showed no mercy when they offended her

Ruthless: Queen Elizabeth I, although privately mocked for doting on her favourites, showed no mercy when they offended her

Beheaded: Robert Devereux

Beheaded: Robert Devereux

Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth and Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley, the stepfather of her new love interest, in the film Elizabeth

Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth and Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley, the stepfather of her new love interest, in the film Elizabeth

Final straw: Queen Elizabeth I was mortified when her toyboy broke all protocol and burst in her without her wig

Final straw: Queen Elizabeth I was mortified when her toyboy broke all protocol and burst in her without her wig