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National triumph and personal tragedy

Elizabeth I on a coin
A coin minted in celebration of the
defeat of the Spanish
In a bittersweet year for Elizabeth I, 1588 saw her enjoy the destruction of the Spanish Armada by a combination of English cunning, atrocious weather and the flawed leadership of the Spanish commander, the Duke of Medina Sidonia. But 1588 was also the year that her much indulged favorite the Earl of Leicester died.

The year would also prove challenging for the Queen's Men who lost a patron in the Earl of Leicester, and also one of their best box office draws, the comic performer Tarlton. This, coupled with the new wave of writers coming to the stage in London, ensured the company had to adapt to survive.


portrait not availableRobert Dudley, The Earl of Leicester

Elizabeth IElizabeth I


The River Thames, LondonShakespeare's London

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