Francis Walsingham (1532-1590) was Queen Elizabeth I’s principal secretary and spymaster. He attended King’s College in Cambridge and continued his studies in France and Italy before returning to study at Gray’s Inn1 in London. As a Member of Parliament for Lyme Regis, Walsingham worked with William Cecil, Lord Burghley and spied on suspicious foreigners in London. Many suspect Christopher Marlowe also worked with Walsingham as an intelligencer. Between 1570 and 1573, as English ambassador to France, Walsingham attempted and failed to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth I and the Duke of Anjou. After the St. Bartholemew Massacre, he returned to England where he became Secretary in 1573 and was knighted in 1577. He discovered two of Mary, Queen of Scots’ plots against Elizabeth—the Throckmorton Plot and the Babington Plot. The resulting trial found Mary guilty and ordered her execution. As a loyal servant, spymaster, and secretary of Queen Elizabeth I, Walsingham died 6 April 1590 in Barn Elms, United Kingdom.
Author: Emily Briere
Editor: Jacqueline Davis