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The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black Legend of the Dudleys

Derek Wilson

1 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, British & Irish history

In the political ferment of the Tudor century one family above all others was always at the troubled centre of court and council. During those years the Dudleys were never far from controversy. Three of them were executed for treason. They were universally condemned as scheming, ruthless, over-ambitious charmers, and one was defamed as a wife murderer. Yet Edmund Dudley was instrumental in establishing the financial basis of the Tudor dynasty, and John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, led victorious armies, laid the foundations of the Royal Navy, ruled as uncrowned king and almost succeeded in placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne.

The most famous of them all, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, came the closest to marrying Elizabeth I, was her foremost favourite for 30 years and governed the Netherlands in her name, while his successor, Sir Robert Dudley, was one of the Queen's most audacious seadogs in the closing years of her reign, but fell foul of James I. Thus the fortunes of this astonishing family rose and fell with those of the royal line they served faithfully through a tumultuous century.


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Praise for The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black Legend of the Dudleys

  • " This is the first full account of this reckless, glamorous, ambitious and politically significant family, told by leading Tudor historian Derek Wilson, whose recent study of Henry VIII's rule, In the Lion's Court, was widely acclaimed as 'one of the most useful and stimulating books about our most important dynasty.' Sunday Times " 'Derek Wilson tells the story . . . with an effectiveness that few other biographies have matched.' Daily Telegraph " ' This should become the standard work on the subject . . . the most accurate and vivid portrayal to date.' Literary Review

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Derek Wilson

DEREK WILSON is a renowned Tudor historian. A graduate of Peterhouse, Cambridge, he has written over 50 critically acclaimed books including A Brief History of the Circumnavigators, and The Uncrowned Kings of England, as well as recent biographies of Charlemagne and Holbein.

He is a writer and presenter for radio and television and is also the founder of the Cambridge History festival. He lives in North Devon. Visit his website:

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