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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the rise to power of Robert Cecil first earl of Salisbury (1563–1612) from his early years under the supervision of his powerful father, William Cecil Lord Burghley, to his central role in the politics of the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean years. It discusses the rivalry between Cecil and the earl of Essex, Elizabeth’s last favourite, and Cecil’s key role in master-minding the smooth accession of James VI of Scotland as King of England in 1603. Created earl of Salisbury, he was the most powerful of James’ ministers, but he struggled to curb the king’s hopeless extravagance and his undue reliance on male favourites. Nevertheless, Salisbury’s premature death in 1612 ended the most constructive period of James’s rule.

Keywords: English politics, foreign policy, accession, Crown finances, Robert Cecil earl of Salisbury

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