3 December 2003
ELIZABETH I, Queen of England (1558-1603). Letter signed with autograph subscription ('Your Lovinge Soveraine Elizabeth R') to the Lady Southwell ('our deere and Wellbelovid [t]he Lady Elizabeth [S]uthwell', Richmond, 15 October 1598, subscribed and signed at the head, the letter written in an elegant italic hand and dated at the end in another, one page, folio, integral address leaf (original despatch slits touching 2 letters of the address, slight staining in inner margin and touching text, small paper repairs to both leaves on verso).
A rare personal letter by Elizabeth I, writing in sympathy to one of her ladies-in-waiting on the death of her husband.
'Good Bess. As we could not but be very sory at the dolefull woord brought us of the decease of your late husband, in respect of the loss we receave of so good a Servant to us. So our knowledge and remembrance of your tender and deere Love ever to him, hath wrought a more feeling in us by participating w[ith] you in greefe: w[hi]ch we being desirous & carefull to mitigate in you, wold not but shew the same, by putting you in minde cusin by these affectionate and loving lynes from our self. that Natures comon woork being now don in him by the divine providence of the Allmighty, you are first and above all by quiett yielding to his unresistable ordenance, to call for comfort of him ... You shall be sure of us your gracious Souverain to have a contynuall and loving care of you for your best good. And so good Bess remayne comforted in God and us'.
Elizabeth Southwell was the sister-in-law of Robert Southwell, the poet and martyr. She later attended the Queen on her death bed and her description of Elizabeth's last days is preserved at Stonyhurst College.
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