Elizabethan signed manuscript auctions 212% above estimate

A remarkable Elizabethan manuscript, which was signed by top figures in the court of Elizabeth I, has sold at Bonhams' Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Photographs auction.

The London sale, which took place yesterday (November 13), saw the manuscript beat its £3,000 high estimate by 212% to sell for £9,375 ($14,872).

Elizabethan signed manuscript letter
Elizabeth I was right to distrust the Duke of Norfolk

A 1569 Privy Council letter, the manuscript was signed by Elizabeth's favourite suitor, the Earl of Leicester, and chief minister Sir William Cecil, among other councillors. It was addressed to the sheriff and justices of the peace of Kent, informing them of the Duke of Norfolk's plot to marry Mary Queen of Scots.

The duke, who was England's leading nobleman at the time and Elizabeth I's cousin, had planned to marry Mary and restore her to the throne in Scotland, provided that she retained strong ties to England and Protestant beliefs.

The Catholic Mary arrived unannounced in England in May 1568 which, given her claim to the English throne, had proved very unpopular with Elizabeth I, who soon had her imprisoned.

Although the plot was supposed to be in Elizabeth's favour and was met with wide approval by many, including the Earl of Leicester himself, the queen was not pleased at the action and demanded to see the Duke of Norfolk in court.

The duke had fled to Kent to avoid the queen's wrath, though he soon returned to London at her behest. However, it appears Elizabeth was right to have her reservations about the duke, as he was later executed in 1572 for his involvement in the Ridolfi Plot to assassinate her.

The one page manuscript, which was dated September 26, 1569 in Windsor, was sold in good condition, bearing only the small paper losses, wear and dust staining that are expected in documents of this age.

We are currently offering a remarkable Elizabeth I signed manuscript, which features a superb example of her flourishing signature and is accompanied by a rare Great Seal of the Realm. See our outstanding selection of historic manuscripts here.


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