Did Sir Walter Ralegh really lay down his cloak for Elizabeth I?
Dashing explorer and poet Walter Ralegh enjoyed the favour of Queen Elizabeth I soon after settling at court in 1581. But did he really lay down his cloak for Elizabeth I in an act of gallantry?
A testament to his Sir Walter Ralegh's gallantry and style can be seen in the well-known incident when Ralegh rescued the royal feet of Elizabeth I from getting wet and muddy in ‘a plashy place’ by sacrificing his plush velvet cloak to cover the puddle.
Disappointingly, his cloak-laying is first recorded in Thomas Fuller’s History of the Worthies of England, published some 80 years after the supposed event.
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True or not, Ralegh enchanted the queen and was one of her firm favourites – that is, until he fell from grace by secretly marrying one of her maids of honour. There weren’t enough puddles and cloaks to appease Elizabeth – he was sent to the Tower of London.
Answered by one of our Q&A experts, historian and author Emily Brand
This article was taken from the May 2015 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine
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