Queen Elizabeth’s Nicknames January 16th

Today is the day after the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth 1’s coronation 1559. She soon developed enduring relationships with the senior members of her Government. For example, William Cecil, Lord Burghley served the Queen for the rest of his life – from 1558 to 1598 when he died.

Elizabeth gave leading members of her Court, nicknames. My interest in the nicknames was revived, a few days ago, by a post on the subject in an interesting blog called The Chronicles of History, whose author became a follower of this blog. She listed a few of the nicknames. I had a record of all the nicknames I had come across but can never find it when I want it. The Chronicles mentioned three of them so I went in search for the rest and here is what the internet says:

Her chief minister, William Cecil Lord Burghley, was called her ‘spirit’, and her alleged lover, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was her ‘eyes’. Rather more cheekily, she called François, Duke of Anjou, her ‘frog’.


Elizabeth called Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester her “Eyes”
William Cecil was her “Spirit”
Robert Cecil was her “pigmy” or “elf”
Sir Christopher Hatton was her “mutton” or “lids”
Francis Walsingham was her “Moor”
Francis, Duke of Alencon, (her French suitor) her “frog”


A comment on the same page says the moor was, in fact, Edward De Vere Earl of Oxford and that the attribution to Walsingham is a mistake. De Vere had a house in Clapton, Hackney, very near to where I lived, and is one of the many people conspiracy theorists think wrote Shakespeare (as is Queen Elizabeth 1).

Robert Cecil was Lord Burghley’s son and largely took over his father’s role.
Christopher Hatton was a handsome aristocrat who had a lovely house and garden in Holborn which is now called Hatton Garden.
Francis Walshingham was the ruthless spy master.
Duke of Alencon was one suitor she seemed to take seriously, although she gently mocked him.
Dudley was her favourite and almost her official escort/companion.

Illustrations from a Victorian History of England.

First Published in January 2023, republished in January 2024

2 Replies to “Queen Elizabeth’s Nicknames January 16th”

  1. Does the appelation of ‘frogs’ given to the French originate from Elizabeth 1st? 😉

    Do I understand it well that there’s also a complotist theory that she wrote Shakespeare’s works? 🤔

    1. I don’t think so. I think she was calling him frog as a term of endearment, in the joking sense that he was as ugly as a frog.

      Various explanations for the term frog for French are suggested, but may date back to Charlemagne using toads as his royal emblem, which the English disparaged as ‘frogs.’ But read the last entries on this web page: https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-19306,00.html

      QEI was very well-educated, and she is one of the very many people conspiracy theorists think wrote Shakespeare. But Shakespeare’s friends thought he wrote Shakespeare, and they put up his tomb, which compares him to Virgil. They collected his works in the first folio with a preface which makes it clear he wrote the works.

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