Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

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Devereux by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG (10 November 1565 – 25 February 1601) was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. He was politically ambitious, and a committed general. He was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601 he led an abortive coup d'état against the government and was executed for treason. His story has been told in art and literature. Two well known examples are the opera Roberto Devereux by Gaetano Donizetti and the movie The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn.