The National Archives
Search The National Archives
Advanced search
Inquest report on the death of Amy Robsart (catalogue reference: KB 9/1073)

26 February

When Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, she was the most prized catch in Christendom. For the first ten years of her reign one matter dominated above all others: the question of who the queen was to marry and when she would produce an heir.

In his new book, Death and the Virgin, Chris Skidmore takes a fresh look at the familiar story of the Virgin Queen who steadfastly refused to marry for the sake of her realm. By using newly discovered evidence, he reveals a very different picture: that of a vulnerable young woman in love with close friend and suitor, Robert Dudley, First Earl of Leicester. The suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart, cast a long shadow over the lives of Dudley and Elizabeth, preventing any hope of a union between the two and ultimately shaping the course of Tudor history.

New evidence used in the book includes the coroner's inquest report into Amy Robsart's death, discovered in The National Archives (catalogue reference KB 9/1073, m. 80). The report concluded that Amy died as a result of 'misfortune', after she was found at the foot of the stairs of her marital home. Attempting to end centuries of speculation as to the true causes of her death, Death and The Virgin is a story of love, death and tragedy, which explores the dramatic early life of England's Virgin Queen.

Buy the book on special offer from The National Archives' bookshop now.