Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

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Keniworth Castle, England

25 June 2011

Queen Elizabeth I may have been the Virgin Queen but she was not short on men who wished to capture her heart. Robert Dudley had been a favourite of Elizabeth. Robert’s father had been granted Kenilworth in 1553 by King Henry VIII. But, John Dudley tried to place his daughter-in-law, the Lady Jane Grey, on the throne over Mary. For this he lost Kenilworth…and his head. Robert fought for Prince Phillip (husband of Queen Mary I) during the reign of Bloody Mary and was able to regain some status for his family. Elizabeth granted Robert Dudley Kenilworth in 1563. Queen Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth twice and Robert Dudley did his best to create a beautiful home for his love. His work at Kenilworth may have been the ultimate in an elaborate mating dance. Some men give chocolates. Some men give flowers. Robert Dudley was not some men. He created an entire garden to win the hand of his love and built a castle fit for a queen. The gardens he created for her visit in 1575 were lost to time until English Heritage recreated the splendour that greeted the young Queen Elizabeth I. Most of Kenilworth is now in ruins except for the stables ( a wonderful cafe) and the gatehouse. Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester had a huge obstacle between him and marrying his Queen. He was already married. His wife met an untimely end and rumours have remained. Robert Dudley never married his queen. But, the story of their un-requited love affair lives on. Kenilworth is supposed to be haunted. I did my best to be open to any contact with the spirits….but I got nothing. Kenilworth Castle has been a tourist attraction since the 18th century. Sir Walter Scott wrote Kenilworth and made the castle popular with the Victorians. Walking around the Elizabethian Garden at Kenilworth, the air heavy the sweet scent of all the blooms, it is hard to imagine any woman saying no to such a gesture. Robert Dudley poured hid heart and soul into creating a wonderfully romantic castle and that can still be seen and felt today. Kenilworth Castle is a place of love, ghosts, struggle,

Buildings will crumble, gardens will die. But, love. Love remains…even unrequited love.

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