Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

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Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG (10 November 1565[1] – 25 February 1601) was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601 he led an abortive coup d'état against the government and was executed for treason.

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Early life

Essex was born on 10 November 1565 at Netherwood near Bromyard, in Herefordshire, the son of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex and Lettice Knollys. His maternal great-grandmother Mary Boleyn was a sister of Anne Boleyn, mother of Queen Elizabeth I, making him a cousin of the Queen, and there were rumours that his grandmother, Catherine Carey, a close friend of Queen Elizabeth's, was Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter.[2]

He was brought up on his father's estates at Chartley Castle, Staffordshire and at Lamphey, Pembrokeshire in Wales and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.[3] His father died in 1576, The new Earl of Essex became a ward of Lord Burghley. On 21 September 1578 his mother married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Elizabeth I's long-standing favourite and Robert Devereux's godfather.[4]

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