Author Topic: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudley?  (Read 43865 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2005, 11:49:08 AM »
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To be honest, none of these scenarios make much sense, but IMO suicide is the most likely scenario, as they had originally thought, although it is still a little odd. But Amy after all did insist very adamantly to be left completely alone that day, why? Maybe she had brittle bones from her illness, as you said, and perhaps she was warned of this by her doctors, and perhaps she was very depressed and threw herself down the stairs deliberately, knowing that it would kill her...


I don't think sixteenth-century doctors knew that cancer could cause brittle bones - I think this is a much more recent medical discovery - but I completely agree with you that a combination of the suicide and "brittle bones" theories makes for the most likely scenario... A maid told the investigators after Amy's death that she had been very upset in the weeks prior to her "accident" and that she had even been overheard praying to God to deliver her from her desperation. If she really did dismiss all the servants on the day of her death it does give the appearance that she was planning something. People who are suicidal don't always think rationally; she might simply have assumed, in her despair, that a fall down a staircase, any staircase, would kill her. Of course, it's also possible that she simply tripped, and in the fall, broke her spine, which had already been weakened by cancerous deposits.

It seems to me that Amy was probably suffering from breast cancer. The "malady in one of her breasts" account occurred in April 1559; I can't find a reference to who originated it, but the date is so very specific that it makes me think this might very well have been a news item reported by one of the foreign ambassadors who was commenting on the progress of Elizabeth's relationship with Dudley.      
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2005, 12:15:08 PM »
The originator of the "malady in one of her breasts" rumour appears to have been the Spanish Ambassador
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2005, 12:32:01 PM »
AHA! And I say it again, Aha!! A lucky guess on my part. But I think it's significant because ambassadors' reports are one of our main, indeed, some would say our most important, sources about the Tudors and their court. True, these men reported back to their superiors a lot of rumor and gossip... but also, in many instances, hard facts. I think it's significant that Amy's illness was known to the Spanish ambassador as early as April 1559.
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Offline ilyala

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2005, 12:35:21 PM »
but maybe it was also a gossip. everyone knows how fast gossip travels. let's say someone said that robert wants to kill his wife. that degenerates to poisoning her. that degenerates to disease.... etc... how do we know it's a fact and not a rumour?
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2005, 03:41:00 PM »
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but maybe it was also a gossip. everyone knows how fast gossip travels. let's say someone said that robert wants to kill his wife. that degenerates to poisoning her. that degenerates to disease.... etc... how do we know it's a fact and not a rumour?


This is what I meant initially too, there is no way we can know if Amy indeed was ill, or if it was just a rumor, as it could easily have been... If she wasn't ill, she may still have been depressed enough over her husband to want to commit suicide. It is possible that this is what she meant when she said that she wishes God would put her out of her misery (or something to that effect). But if she jumped down the stairs, evidently they were not long enough for anyone healthy to break their neck. Maybe it was a weird accident, but then why did she send everyone away on that particular day? This is why I said that any way look at it, it doesn't make complete sense...

Offline stacey

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2005, 02:24:11 AM »
This mystery has always fascinated me--was Amy's death an accident, a homicide, or a suicide? There seem to be plenty of facts pointing to ALL of the above!! If she was really extremely ill and fragile, perhaps a fall that would only have bruised most people might (?) have killed her. (I admit I still have problems with that one tho--it was not much of a staircase!!) As for suicide--it does look suspicious that she seemed so anxious to send most of her staff and companions off for the day, esp. if she was unwell, plus the maid did make the comment about the "despair" Amy had been feeling, so--maybe suicide. Murder? HA!! TONS of motives--from Robert, from Robert's many enemies, from Cecil--almost too many suspects to name!! Yeah, I guess I lean towards murder--a murder-made-to-look-like-an-accident-or-a-suicide. Now--to narrow down the list of suspects!!
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Offline ilyala

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2005, 02:44:44 AM »
the thing is we have to check the sources.

let's presume someone wanted to kill amy. whether it was robert or robert's enemies for the reasons that someone else stated above. how would you do that? since she lives with her servants, you have to corrupt the servants. you do that and you kill her. what will the servants say? 'we weren't there, she sent us away!'.... then someone asks why she would do a thing like that and the servants cleverly suggest suicide. let's presume the would be killers had started a rumour months earlier that she was ill. it was easy in those days. i believe no autopsy was done to check on the breast cancer theory. i'm not sure anyone knew what breast cancer was.

the perfect murder :)
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Offline stacey

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2005, 03:09:41 AM »
Interesting thought, Ilya. I hadn't thought of the servants as being "in" on it, except perhaps one or two who could have actually committed the murder (if a murder it was!) But then there was the one maid Elisabeth mentioned--she did tell authorities that she had seen (and heard) Amy in apparent despair. BUT the maid apparently realized as soon as she had made the statement how it would sound--as confirming that yes, Amy Dudley was desperate enough to have committed suicide. We have to remember how suicide was regarded in the 16th century. Yes, it DID happen sometimes, but it had very very strong prohibitions against it then. Mostly of course from the church--both Protestant and Catholic. Suicide was generally seen as a crime against God--a deadly sin. Suicides were usually not allowed to be bured in "hallowed ground" or even given a church funeral. A suicide in the family was seen as deeply shameful and something to be hidden as far as possible. Which is probably why the maid, after agreeing that Amy had been in despair before her death, quickly added that her mistress was a Godly woman and would never have taken her own life. Now I know that doesn't prove the maid was right. Looks like the maid felt loyalty and affection for Amy and did not want her to be stigmatized as a suicide. (Who knows what the maid really thought about it?? Wish I knew!) I don't know much about Amy's character and next to nothing about her feelings (except what we can glean from people like the maid). She seems to have been a fairly ordinary woman and probably pretty conventional in many ways. To me that's at least a FEEBLE argument against suicide--if Amy did hold conventional religious beliefs she would not have been very quick to seize upon suicide as an easy way out of her troubles. (Then again, it doesn't rule out suicide altogether, I'll admit! Who knows just how desperate she might have felt? How much pain she might have been in if she did have cancer? How impulsive she might have been?) Still--I hesitate to just say, "Yes, Amy's own maid admitted she was in despair, she probably killed herself." I think that's too easy!! As someone said, what an unlikely way to commit suicide--throwing yourself down a handful of shallow steps! I know I'm not Amy  ;D BUT if I were in her situation and I decided to kill myself, I would certainly try to find an easier way to do it!! (Not to mention a much more certain way!) As someone said, why not jump off a roof? Take poison? (Poisons were certainly available then, and apparently easy to obtain!) Use a knife?? (Okay, I promise not to get too explicit and gory here--but we can all think of much more effective methods of suicide Amy would have had available to her!) So if it was a suicide, Amy lucked out?! Because it's amazing that it would have worked!!! No, I'm pretty much convincing MYSELF now that it wasn't a suicide. Which leaves accident or murder. Yep--I'm still thinking murder!
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Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2005, 05:19:03 AM »
According to the Peggy Inman article I linked to, two servants were left behind that day - Mrs Odingsells and Mrs Owen! The plot thickens.

I don't find the suicide/cancer story very convincing for the reasons Stacey gives - also it doesn't appear that Amy was incapacitated in any way before her death.

As Stacey says there were many people who might have wanted to do her in - unfortunately (as in a good Agatha Christie) they all seem to have been well provided with alibis!
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2005, 05:26:16 AM »
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As Stacey says there were many people who might have wanted to do her in - unfortunately (as in a good Agatha Christie) they all seem to have been well provided with alibis!


Oooh, this is better than Agatha Christie! Call in Poirot and Marple!!  ;D ;D
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2005, 06:27:42 AM »
And don't forget Clouseau :-* ;D
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Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2005, 06:30:11 AM »
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And don't forget Clouseau :-* ;D


I can just see him arriving at Cumnor place, pulling the knocker off the door and tripping over the staircase!
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Offline stacey

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2005, 06:50:38 AM »
Oh yes!! :D While I have trouble imagining Amy killing herself (deliberately or otherwise) by falling down that staircase, I can EASILY envision Clouseau breaking his/someone else's neck on said stairs! (I mean Clouseau is a menace just walking down the sidewalk!!) Clouseau's poor boss would probably be the first to get bumped off (accidentally) by Clouseau--probably nudged off the railing or something. That is, if he isn't still being treated at the Clinique Psychiatrique!!!!! ;D
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2005, 11:02:32 AM »
Well, I have to agree with Stacey that throwing one's self down a shallow staircase seems like a bad way to commit suicide. But if Inspector Jane Tennison were here, she'd also add that throwing someone else down that staircase is an equally bad way of trying to kill them.  ;) Neither suicide nor murder makes any sense to me. I still lean toward it being an accidental death.
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Offline ilyala

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Re: What do you think happened to Amy Robsart Dudl
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2005, 03:57:09 PM »
maybe someone killed her in some other way and then threw her down the stairs
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