Now well into middle age, there is no longer any concern about Queen Elizabeth producing an heir and the focus now shifts to deciding who will ascend to the throne when she dies. The Queen has taken a keen interest in the young and handsome Earl of Essex and is a bit jealous when it becomes apparent that one of her ladies-in-waiting also has an interest in him. Essex gains a great deal of influence with the Queen, eventually obtaining a seat on he Council. She forgives him when he oversteps the mark and has her personal physician arrested as a traitor. She is livid however when she learns that he has impregnated one of her ladies-in-waiting. When he leads a rebellion, not against the Queen but against her advisers, he goes too far and his head is put on the chopping block. Her advisers meanwhile make plans to have King James VI of Scotland succeed her.
Did You Know?
When the young Earl of Leicester has risen against Elizabeth, she states "love does alter when it alteration finds". This is a reference to a line from Shakespeare's sonnet no. 116: "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds". Shakespeare lived during the reign of Elizabeth I, and owed his success in part to her support of the arts in general. See more
Dudley was actually a few months older than Elizabeth and both would have been in their late 20's at the time of their romance, yet Helen Mirren at the age of about 60 is clearly extremely senior to Dudley. See more
Queen Elizabeth I
What I must not say is that I love you. The more I let you go the more I seem to have need of you. And it will not go away no matter how much I command it. Do you think the Queen is mistress of her feelings? Oh no, she's a fool for love. A hopeless fool.