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Tudor Minute October 17: Death of Sir Philip Sidney

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for October 17.

Sir Philip Sidney died in 1586.Sir Philip was born in 1554 in Kent, and he is remembered for his poetry, but also as a national hero for defending the Protestants in the Low Countries, and dying in battle.  His death is remembered as being supremely poetic as, dying of a gunshot wound, he gave up his water to another wounded soldier telling the soldier “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine,”

His father, Sir Henry Sidney, had been a close personal adviser to Edward VI, but when the young king died, he somehow stayed in favor with Queen Mary, naming his son after her husband, Philip II of Spain, who also agreed to be the child’s godfather. Philip’s mother was Lady Mary Dudley, sister to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was famous as being Queen Elizabeth’s secret crush.  Philip would also marry Francis Walsingham’s daughter, Frances, so he was part of this large network of Protestant nobility. When he was 13 he started at Oxford, and then in 1572, he began his diplomatic service as an envoy to the king of france. He experienced, and survived, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre where Protestant Huguenots were massacred by Catholics throughout France.

His lavish state funeral, which almost bankrupted his father-in-law, Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s spymaster, was delayed until February of the following year—just eight days after the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, drawing attention away from that political powder keg. He is buried at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

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.

Episode Link:
Mary Sidney, Philip’s Sister