In my previous post, “The Irwins of Orange,” I mention Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex (1565-1601). I decided to look deeper into his history, and there is an infinite amount of information about him.
Robert Earl of Essex’s great-grandmother Mary Boleyn was Anne Boleyn’s sister. Since Anne Boleyn was Queen Elizabeth I’s mother, that makes him the first-cousin-twice-removed of Queen Elizabeth I. I’m not sure what relation I am to him yet, because I have not completely traced that lineage.
Robert Earl of Essex was the favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, and sources on the Internet seem to agree that they carried on an affair, even though she was 34 years older than he. According to Wikipedia, he was very special to her, and the ring she gave him (if not a myth, as some historians believe) was to be sent back to Queen Elizabeth if he ever got into trouble. A Wikipedia account indicates that he did try to send it to her, but the countess he charged with sending the ring to her kept it instead, as her husband was enemies with the Earl of Essex.
Essex and Queen Elizabeth I became at odds with each other. He became angry and rebelled. He was tried before his peers for trying to depose and slay the Queen and subvert the government. He was convicted of treason and beheaded on Tower Green on February 25, 1601. According to Wikipedia, he was the last person to be beheaded in the Tower of London. Assuming all of this information is accurate, two of my royal ancestors were beheaded – Anne Boleyn and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.