William Cecil

7 Mar, 2019 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact on the British Isles of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the most poweful man in the court of Elizabeth I. He was both praised and attacked for his flexibility, adapting to the reigns of Protestant and Catholic monarchs and, under Elizabeth, his goal was to make England strong, stable and secure from attack from its neighbours. He sought control over Ireland and persuaded Elizabeth that Mary Queen of Scots must die, yet often counselled peace rather than war in the interests of prosperity.

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  • Diarmaid MacCulloch 11 episodes
    University of Oxford
  • Susan Doran No other episodes
    University of Oxford
  • John Guy 6 episodes
    University of Cambridge

Reading list

  • Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I
    Stephen Alford (Yale University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Burghley: Tudor Statesman
    B.W. Beckingsale (Macmillan, 1967) Google Books →
  • The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I
    John Cooper (Faber & Faber, 2012) Google Books →
  • Elizabeth I and Her Circle
    Susan Doran (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Burghley: William Cecil, Lord Burghley
    Michael A.R. Graves (Longman, 1998) Google Books →
  • Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
    John Guy (Penguin, 2017) Google Books →
  • My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots
    John Guy (Fourth Estate, 2004) Google Books →
  • Governing by Virtue: Lord Burghley and the Management of Elizabethan England
    Norman Jones (OUP, 2015) Google Books →
  • The Cecils: Privilege and Power behind the Throne
    David Loades (Bloomsbury, 2009) Google Books →
  • Elizabeth I: War and Politics 1588-1603
    Wallace T. MacCaffrey (Hodder Arnold, 1993) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0002zq6

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002zq6

Auto-category: 942.055 (History of England - Elizabeth I, 1558-1603)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. William Cecil, 1520 to 1598, was at the centre of power in the Tudor world for over 50 years, from the death of Henry VIII to the advent of James I. He advanced under the boy king Edward VI, survived under Mary and thrived under Elizabeth, and the Protestant cause flourished with him.