This period drama frames the tumultuous affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the man who would be King of England, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Ever the victor on the battlefield, Devereux returns to London after defeating Spanish forces at Cadiz. Middle-aged Elizabeth, so attracted to the younger Devereux but fearful of his influence and popularity, sends him on a new mission: a doomed campaign to Ireland. When he and his troops return in defeat, Devereux demands to share the throne with the heir-less queen, and Elizabeth, at first, intends to marry. Ultimately sensing the marriage would prove disastrous for England, Elizabeth sets in motion a merciless plan to protect her people and preserve her throne. Written by
Elizabeth I's love for the Earl of Essex threatens to destroy her kingdom.
Did You Know?
According to syndicated newspaper reporter Sheilah Graham
, the gowns worn by Bette Davis
weighed as much as 60 pounds, and under the studio lights, Davis was loosing two or three pounds per day while working on this film. See more
The real Robert Cecil was small and had a curved spine, and was one of Queen Elizabeth's chief counselors, not the supercilious character portrayed in this film, or in Maxwell Anderson
's original play. The queen would affectionately refer to him as "my dwarf". He is more accurately portrayed in the TV miniseries Elizabeth I
. See more
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex
[after being slapped hard by Queen Elizabeth I
I would not have taken that from your father the King; much less will I take it from a king in petticoats!
Lyrics by Walter Raleigh
Sung by Olivia de Havilland
(dubbed by Faith Kruger
Lute playing dubbed by an anonymous lutist See more