The Queen’s Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I

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. Catholics greeted the demise of a relentless opponent with relief and applause, and circulated lurid providential stories about the appalling stench that came from his corpse, which allegedly poisoned one of his pall-bearers. By contrast, Protestant writers – William Camden was one – praised his unswerving allegiance to the queen, his tireless dedication to the reformed religion, and his genius as ‘a most subtil searcher of hidden secrets’.

(LRB 5 July 2012)

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