In 1560, Amy Robsart, Robert Dudley’s wife, was conveniently found dead at the foot of the stairs at Cunmor Palace, near Oxford. Her husband, now free to marry Queen Elizabeth I, has always been considered the prime suspect by those who don’t believe the suicide or accident theories. After all, the culprit is always the one with the most to gain, right? And what’s more coveted than a crown?
The problem with this theory is that Amy’s death put an end to all talk of marriage between Dudley and the Queen. Elizabeth I certainly couldn’t risk marring a man suspected of killing his first wife. Robert must have known this, so it would have been a very risky gamble on his part, especially if his wife really was as ill as some sources claim. Waiting for her to die would have been a safer bet. It’s not like Elizabeth was in any rush to marry anyone else.
This is probably why this theory is now beginning to lose popularity. But a new one, which is by no means less popular, is emerging: the culprit is William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State. Alison Weir, in her biography of Queen Elizabeth I, wrote:
One man did profit from the death of Amy Dudley, and that was William Cecil. … He was a perceptive man, and he could foresee that if she died in suspicious circumstances, as many people expected her to do, then the finger of suspicion would point inexorably to her husband – as indeed it did. Cecil also knew that Elizabeth…