Back in 1575, Queen Elizabeth I undertook a progress (tour through her kingdom) that included Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Although there had been a castle there since the 1300s, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leisceister, was so determined to propose marriage, he built another castle next to the old one. He included a bedchamber and other rooms suitable for a queen and entertained her and her contingent there for over two weeks.
Despite being in love with Dudley since they were in their childhood, Elizabeth turned him down. Dudley sold the castle, and the new owner sold off parts of it—stone and timber—leaving it mostly a ruin. The English Heritage has it now and has turned it into one of the safest castles to tour, with modern steps and railings, beautifully maintained grounds (the gardeners were there today), and a garden. They’ve also added informational signage, a tea room and a shop.
Dudley’s gatehouse was sold off as a private residence, its last occupant Siddeley of the motor company. The building now includes the story of Elizabeth and Dudley’s affaire, along with the itinerary of what happened while Elizabeth was at Kenilworth.
With several more stops to make, we headed west. Next stop: Hanbury Hall.