Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history
Philip II, King of Spain, had once been a suitor of Elizabeth I, Queen of England. But his suit failed, and he was determined to remove her from the throne and replace her with a Catholic monarch. While England remained isolated in Europe, Spain under Philip grew and prospered. By 1585 the two countries were at war - and Spain’s navy was as big as England’s and the Netherlands’ combined.
Walsingham was the queen’s spymaster. He needed to find out if and when Spain was going to invade. One of his spies in Europe was Standen, a restless and adventurous Catholic who had left England for Scotland in 1556 with Lord Darnley. In 1565 Standen went to France and in the early 1580s he seems to have settled in Tuscany. In Florence Standen used the pseudonym ‘Pompeo Pellegrini’ (shown above). He made friends with Giovanni Figliazzi, Tuscan ambassador to Madrid and an excellent source of information about developments in Spain. Although Walsingham was probably in contact with Standen from about 1582, it was not until the spring of 1587 that a regular correspondence began and Standen started to receive £100 a year from the Queen for his service as a spy.

Philip II, King of Spain, had once been a suitor of Elizabeth I, Queen of England. But his suit failed, and he was determined to remove her from the throne and replace her with a Catholic monarch. While England remained isolated in Europe, Spain under Philip grew and prospered. By 1585 the two countries were at war - and Spain’s navy was as big as England’s and the Netherlands’ combined.

Walsingham was the queen’s spymaster. He needed to find out if and when Spain was going to invade. One of his spies in Europe was Standen, a restless and adventurous Catholic who had left England for Scotland in 1556 with Lord Darnley. In 1565 Standen went to France and in the early 1580s he seems to have settled in Tuscany. In Florence Standen used the pseudonym ‘Pompeo Pellegrini’ (shown above). He made friends with Giovanni Figliazzi, Tuscan ambassador to Madrid and an excellent source of information about developments in Spain. Although Walsingham was probably in contact with Standen from about 1582, it was not until the spring of 1587 that a regular correspondence began and Standen started to receive £100 a year from the Queen for his service as a spy.

(Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk)

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