Queen Elizabeth's Garden
On: 13/09/2008 In: News

Queen Elizabeth's Garden,   at Kenilworth Castle,   opened in 2009 after much research.

Lord Robert Dudley had been a close friend of Queen Elizabeth I  since they met as teenagers,  both imprisoned in the Tower & both anticipating a death sentence.  For the rest of his life, Robert hoped that the Queen might throw caution to the winds & marry him.  When he was in favour, - which he was not always -  she even created him Earl of Leicester & gave him the Castle of Kenilworth.  In 1575, she favoured him further with  a visit.

To  please & honour his loved one, Leicester created a special private garden, knowing that she was especially fond of them.   A recent discovery of a contemporary description set off an archeological exploration of the site. Together, these researches have enabled English Heritage to reconstruct the garden as it was,  with an erotically decorated marble fountain, a "jewelled" birdcage & an authentic layout with plantings of period flowers. It was all designed on a theme of "Love" to get her into a mood to consent to his proposal.  It is said that Leicester spent £1000 a day (at least £2m per day in today's money) entertaining the Queen during her visit & she stayed for 19 days!  She never married him, despite his best efforts, although he was to the end of his life, her "Dear Robin".

The garden opened to the public in May 2009.  A couple of years on,  the various features have matured,  giving visitors a better idea of the original,  which the Queen, a great lover of such things, was able to enjoy during her stay in Kenilworth.

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