Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex and Countess of Leicester, was an English noblewoman who was married twice. However, when for her second marriage, she decided to marry her close childhood friend, Elizabeth Tudor's, favorite Robert Dudley, she incurred Elizabeth's hatred. A small price to pay for love, right?
Well, sadly it did not end in happily ever after but let's concentrate on just their union shall we...
*One Interesting Sidenote: Lettice Knollys was a grandniece of Anne Boleyn.
The Secret Marriage
Lettice Knollys married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester on 21 September 1578 at around seven o'clock in the morning. Only six other people were present at the Earl's country house at Wanstead, Essex; among these were the bride's father and brother, Francis and Richard Knollys, the bridegroom's brother, Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, and his two friends, the Earl of Pembroke and Lord North. The officiating chaplain Humphrey Tyndall later remarked that the bride wore a "loose gown" (an informal morning dress), which has triggered modern speculation that she was pregnant and that the ceremony happened under pressure from her father. The marriage was, however, in planning between Leicester and his wedding guests for almost a year. While Lettice Knollys may well have been pregnant, there is no further indication as to this. The marriage date coincided with the end of the customary two-years-mourning for a widow.
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