Alexandra Walsham writes:
From the moment he died in April 1590, Francis Walsingham, principal secretary to Elizabeth I, has been the subject of competing myths. John Cooper’s book is a fresh attempt to assess the accuracy of these opposing images. It charts Walsingham’s life from his birth in 1531 or 1532, on the cusp of the Henrician Reformation and the break with Rome, through his education at King’s College, Cambridge, the Inns of Court and abroad, to his posting as English ambassador in Paris at the time of the Wars of Religion. The out-of-pocket expenses of this diplomatic office, he complained, were ‘like to bring me to beggary’: the compensation was valuable experience and close relationships with senior figures in the Elizabethan regime, such as William Cecil and Robert Dudley.