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Essex Launches a Coup, 1599

In 1598, Essex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Devereux,_2nd_Earl_of_Essex) was in deep political trouble, made worse because he was on the outs with Queen Elizabeth, when he was put in command of military operations in Ireland. This was win-win from Elizabeth’s point of view - either Essex succeeded, in which case Ireland would be secure once again, or he would be disgraced while her hands remained clean. Unfortunately for Essex, the assignment gave his enemies a clear shot at him and they worked hard, deliberately or otherwise, to set him up to fail. Essex produced mixed results and, fearing his enemies were dropping poison in Elizabeth’s ear, raced back to London to confront her. This triggered off his fall from grace and eventual execution in 1601.

Essex supposedly planned a coup - as he saw it, a purge of his enemies from the court (his loyalty to the queen was still strong) - in 1599. His campaigning hadn’t been a complete disaster, but it looked bad. He discarded that plan in favour of going to London alone later in the year, but what if he’d mounted a coup instead? There was little standing in his way if he led a few thousand men to London. The queen’s guards would not have been able to stop them.

Now what?

Chris
 
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