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Tudor Minute August 4: RIP Cecil

Today in 1598 William Cecil, the first Baron Burghley, died. He was the chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth for the majority of her reign, he was the Lord High Treasurer and Secretary of State, among other titles.

Born in Lincolnshire in 1520, his family served Henry VII, and William went to Cambridge which was a hotbed of Protestant thinking while he was there. He was active in government during the reign of the Protestant Edward, and when Catholic Mary came to the throne he had some serious explaining to do, but he managed to survive by attending Mass, and pretending to be a good Catholic. As he had nothing to do with the divorce of Mary’s mother Catherine of Aragon from Henry VIII, she accepted his conversion to Catholicism, and didn’t punish him for being a Protestant.

After Elizabeth became Queen, though, he was able to take off the mask, and reveal his true plans, which was mainly to create a united and Protestant British Isles, and he spent his life working for that until his death today, August 4.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com