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Much Virtue in “If”

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Now available in paperback from Grove Press, with a new forward by James Norwood, Professor of Humanities, University of Minnesota:

Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: the True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth

by Charles Beauclerk

Grove Press, 2011

Now is this golden crown like a deep well

That owes two buckets, filling one another

The emptier ever dancing in the air

the other down, unseen, and full of water.

What makes a history of Shakespeare “true”?  Charles Beauclerk’s story begins propitiously – he has the right man, Edward de Vere, and he knows that Edward de Vere drew from a deep, unfathomable well:

…the process of making images is largely unconscious, fashioned from the invisible components of the individual imagination, rather like an alphabet arising out of the unconscious of a new race.  … In this hinterland of the soul, where images hatch, we are very close to the heartbeat of motivation, of sensing why an author writes as he does.  (SLK, p. 156)

Remarkably, the author also knows his own part – and the part that every lover of Shakespeare’s poetry performs –  when we set out to transcribe and interpret these heartbeats:

We respond to him on a preconscious level – between the lines – almost as if we were co-creators, for the dynamic field in which his unconscious mind intersects with ours is intensely alive, making his work strongly akin to music.   (SLK p. 164)

This unconscious intersection with our will, powered by Shakespeare’s irresistibly mellifluous lines, is a form of magic.  We can’t help wanting to take his words in, to have them “by heart”, to release them on our own breath.  We are enchanted, and in this state, Shakespeare’s story – the one we read between the lines of his kings and queens and all their devastating follies – touches a part of us that makes us love him and want to protect him.

The facts of Edward de Vere’s troubled biography, placed alongside this poetry, vibrate through every synapse of the work, charging the lines, images and words with sparks of meaning.  By the light of these shooting stars, like the bewitching glow of Ariel’s “flamed amazement” on the topmast of our brave vessel, we read and listen for his heartbeat, instead of our own.

But are these new signals yielding a “true” history of Shakespeare?  Such a prodigious intelligence will not give up its mysteries to weekend stargazers.  Like Dante, Shakespeare dared to write his autobiography in colossal cipher.  Does Charles Beauclerk have the key to Shakespeare’s dramatic alphabet?  I think he has one vital part of it.  Towards the end of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, he tells us that “an essential quality of the plays themselves” is that “they are the life, not only of the dramatist, but of the times in which he lived.  Their fabulousness is their reality.” (SLK p. 325)  In other words – and I hope I do justice to what Charles intended here – Shakespeare’s plays and poems are fables.  They may be populated with what seem to be real people from de Vere’s life, but their “reality” has been transformed into something necessary to the poet.

The truth of fables is not a literal truth, that we can prove or disprove with historical documents, but a psychic one, transferred from the poet to the heart and mind of the true listener.  The fabulous subconscious story that Charles Beauclerk hears is in some ways the same story that Edward de Vere seems to be whispering in my ear, each time I go back and read The Collected Works of William Shakespeare cover to cover.  This tragic tale has five essential components:

1. Shakespeare’s works betray a very personal, hyper-sensitivity to the stain of bastardy.

2. He thought of himself as a Prince, but along the way he lost his kingdom.

3. His poetic gift compelled him to transform the dross and agony of life into a surrogate kingdom of the mind.

4. His dramatic portrayals of Elizabeth suggest a privileged but volatile relationship.

5. “Shakespeare’s desire for vengeance was real and one of the great motivating forces of the canon.” (SLK, p. 274)

Even when one disagrees intensely – as I most emphatically do – with some of Charles Beauclerk’s basic assumptions and theories, the great wonder of his “true history” is how much of what he draws up from below the mottled surface scum of the well remains pertinent.  One bucket – for supporting facts in the historical record, cautiously interpreted – is often the emptier, and dances in the air, but the other sinks deep, and fills with water.  Beauclerk is extraordinarily attuned to Edward de Vere’s personal transformations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with a keen eye for permutations of the Actaeon myth.  Here are a few examples of what you will miss, if in your aversion to Prince Tudor theory or insistence upon historiographical rigor you neglect to read Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, as I almost did:

In another extraordinary resurfacing of the Actaeon myth, Tamora is compared to Diana, the moon goddess.  When Lavinia and her husband, Bassianus, come upon Tamora in the woods, the empress tells Bassianus that had she Diana’s power she would mete out the same punishment to him that Actaeon suffered at the hands of the goddess.  In the end, it is Lavinia who is fated to drink from this bitter cup, for like Actaeon transformed into a stag she loses the power of speech, and her delicate hands are turned into hooflike stumps.” (p. 273)

Titus is a play that I know quite well, but this searing vision of Lavinia as a silent stag was a revelation for me.   Venturing into more heretical territory, Beauclerk offers a terrifying insight into the personal relevance of Shakespeare’s two published poems, Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece:

Venus, who at the end of the previous poem flew off to Paphos, where she meant to “immure herself and not be seen,” is transformed into the chaste and cloistered Lucrece; and the boar-pierced Adonis becomes “lust-breathed” Tarquin, who in destroying the chastity of “the silver moon,” as Shakespeare describes Lucrece – i.e., in deflowering the goddess – brings down the monarchy.  Thus Adonis becomes both the flower and the serpent under it.  The flower that the goddess presses to her bosom is beautiful but deadly, rather like the asp that Cleopatra nurses at her breast.  Thus the Shakespearean hero-archetype embodies within himself both the redeemer (Adonis) and the destroyer (Tarquin)… (p. 176)

“Thus Adonis becomes both the flower and the serpent”: I had suspected as much, but have never had the courage to raise this topic for discussion in the usual Oxfordian chat-rooms and other venues.  In this, and in his recognition of Oxford’s vengeful nature, (quoted above), we seem to have witnessed the same disturbing basilisk, daring us to look in his eyes.  Beauclerk doesn’t flinch; his commentary on Falstaff is chilling in its penetrating accuracy:

Ultimately, Falstaff is imprisoned in his own kingdom of language, where wit takes precedence over feeling.  When he says that his womb undoes him, it is his womb of wit – his invention – rather than his great belly.  Though wondrously humorous, the fat knight seems to have almost no feeling toward others; he is too wrapped up in the great adventure on which his great wit is willy-nilly leading him.

Now for our differences.  They are many, but only one really matters:  Who were Edward de Vere’s true parents? Charles Beauclerk’s history begins with the tentative proposition that Oxford was the child of Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour.  Note the word “tentative”, which I’ll get to in a moment.   My position is that Edward was John de Vere’s firstborn son, but not securely legitimate, as the historical records show.  The following brief essays, along with the file on the 1585 Depositions, outline the historical and literary basis for my alternative theory, that Joan Jockey may have been Edward’s true mother: John de Vere’s firstborn son; The Goddess of Justice; “Why dost not speak to me?”; “You bee a sort of knaves”, sayd Skelton; 1585 Depositions Concerning Oxford’s Legitimacy

When Beauclerk chose to build his story around the second Prince Tudor theory, surely he knew he was taking on a highly controversial and divisive premise.  Disarmingly, with strategically placed deployments of “if” and “seems” and “whether… or not”, he allows for our hesitations and doubts: when all is said and done, perhaps we will not find that he has proven his hypothesis: 

p. 41 “Whether she bore a child by Seymour or not…

p. 92:  “Thus, if Oxford was Elizabeth’s son…”

p. 101: “….like Hamlet he was, it seems, the son of the queen.”

p. 158: “And if his mother was the Virgin Queen…”

p. 224: “If Shakespeare was indeed the son of the Virgin Queen…”

p. 296: “Whether he was the queen’s son or not…”

p. 322: “… and Shakespeare, it seems, was the fruit of that trespass.”

p. 334: “…in Oxford’s case, if, as the evidence suggests, his mother was the most powerful woman…”

As Touchstone wittily puts it, “Your If is the only peace-maker; much virtue in If!”

Here’s an “if” in return: “If Edward de Vere knew for certain that he wasn’t John de Vere’s son, but instead, was the bastard son of Elizabeth Tudor and Thomas Seymour, how would he feel about the exchange?”  On page 86, Beauclerk writes:

Whatever comforts he could press to his bosom Edward de Vere knew for certain that there were those about him who saw through his “Oxford” mask; nor could he draw solace from the fact that the blood of the Tudors flowed in his veins, for his royal birth was far from being a political reality. [emphasis added]

But beginning on p. 231, under the sub-heading “Tudor-Celtic Mythology”, he exposes the less-than-glamorous roots of the Tudor dynasty:

The Tudors were Welsh landowners…  …In the Tudors we have a self-consciously created dynasty aware of their weak claim to the throne, who buttressed their credentials by tracing their line from King Arthur, the once and future king.  In naming his firstborn son Arthur and having him christened at Winchester Cathedral, Henry VII was deliberately invoking the chivalry and glamour of Britain’s semi-mythical past, a considerable irony in view of his own grasping, ungenerous nature and his relentless undermining of the old feudal nobility. (SLK, p. 232)

Lest we forget, neither Edward Oxenford nor William Shakespeare ever wrote a play about Henry VII, whom Francis Bacon tells us severely undermined the 13th earl of Oxford’s power, in an apocryphal tale that sounds very much like one of madcap Ned de Vere’s bibulous inventions.  Continuing his deconstruction of the Tudor Myth, Beauclerk writes:

The Tudors, in the grandiosity generated by their lineal insecurity, embraced the notion that they were the promised descendants of Arthur…

Once on the throne, [Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond] played up the romantic image his deeds fostered in people’s minds.  In truth, the Tudor dynasty was founded upon conquest (and the killing of a king).”   “Despite his insistence that this was a reconquest, which avenged the original Saxon invasion, a deep insecurity accompanied the dynasty through its 118 years of rule. (p. 233)

Life for [Henry VIII] was theater; his every act invited a fanfare.  Yet all this show masked a deep insecurity, which became more conspicuous as his reign ripened. (p. 235)

As pater patriae (father of his people) and supreme governor of the Church of England, Henry VIII invested the monarchy with a revitalized, almost mystical sense of its sovereignty, yet he was an imperialist in outlook.  … His veneration for the traditions, music and architecture of the Catholic church sat uncomfortably with his desecration of the monasteries, and his love of chivalry and the joust contradicted his protracted attacks on the old feudal nobility. (p. 236)

Would the 17th earl of Oxford and Lord Great Chamberlain of England, whose ancestors came in with William the Conqueror, have drawn any solace from losing his de Vere blood in exchange for that of the insecure Tudors?  I don’t think so.

In my reading of the evidence, both historical and literary, the earl of Oxford drew his sustaining identity from his claim to the ancient Vere line and their affinity.  Their historical triumphs and quarrels were part of his legacy; their family traits were in his genetic makeup.  If Nick Bottom’s “mythic DNA is the Minotaur, the monstrous son – half man, half bull – of Minos, King of Crete” (SLK, p. 202) then so too is this strain running in the veins of the man who signed himself Edward Oxenford.  When he gazed upon the faces of the effigies that once graced Colne Priory, he was seeing his grandsires and grandams, and the faces of his own future heirs.  As we read in Chapman’s eulogy of Oxford in The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois:

…he had a face

Like one of the most ancient honour’d Romans

From whence his noblest family was deriv’d.

These were his people. If we lose sight of this, we lose our first and best contact with Edward de Vere and how he became “Shakespeare”.  He loved his honor as a Vere; he owned his shame as a Vere; he wreaked his vengeance as a Vere:

…when Gloucester sees a beggar in the storm, he thinks a man a worm, and at that moment his son Edgar comes into his mind.  Edgar, the outcast son, is the worm (worm in French being ver).  When Cleopatra arranges to die in her monument, a clown enters with an asp – or worm, as he calls it – hidden in a basket of figs. (SLK p. 372)

“He that has a house to put’s head in has a good head-piece” (III.ii. 25-26)


Say, is my kingdom lost? why, ’twas my care
And what loss is it to be rid of care? ~ Richard II

I agree with Beauclerk that Shakespeare’s plays and poems bear witness to the pain of having lost a kingdom, but in my view, (derived in large measure from the political understory of the Howard family in Titus Andronicus) that kingdom was more likely to have been in opposition to the Tudor line than a part of it.  On his own, Edward de Vere had three earthly kingdoms somewhat within his grasp, all of them lost by 1591.  The first was a Plantagenet alliance through marriage to one of the Hastings girls, which Beauclerk mentions on p. 71: “It looks as though John de Vere had taken it into his head to arrange a royal marriage for his teenage charge…”  The second was Oxford’s impetuous and near-treasonous support for his first cousin Thomas Howard, who lost his head over the hare-brained temptation to wed Mary, Queen of Scots.

The third lost kingdom, as Beauclerk notes, was the ancient seat of the Oxford earldom: “Then in December 1591, …Oxford surrendered the heart of his de Vere inheritance by alienating Hedingham Castle to Burghley in trust for his three daughters.  It was an abdication with rich consequences for literature, if King Lear is anything to judge by.” (p. 330)  But why would a prince of the realm and poet who boldly tells the queen’s chief minister “I am that I am” have any need for a paltry scepter?  Why would he be so foolish as to desire all the mundane distractions and obligations that turn a golden crown into a dull and heavy lump of lead?  The true kingdom that Oxford strove mightily to maintain in his own sovereign control was that of the mind:

As James Kirsch says of Hamlet and his father, so might we say of Shakespeare and Elizabeth: his kingdom was the inner world, hers the political realm. (p. 295)

As in Hamlet, the only true king seems to be a ghost.  Scratch the surface of these plays and one finds oneself staring at the crowned figure of vanity holding a skull in one hand and the fool’s bauble in the other. (p. 210-11)

As if he could not believe he had a true right to his inherited “kingdom” based in Essex, Oxford recklessly divested himself of all its physical trappings, till he had nothing to pass on but his name and his words.  The first went to his heirs of the blood, the second to his heirs of the spirit, an awesomely potent bequest that we still haven’t learned quite how to decipher.  The quest is daunting, too much for one lonely reader, or a whole fraternity of stargazers, to take on.  How can we bear to follow King Lear on his journey out into the raging tempest that mirrors the demons in his skull, once we know that he is not a stage puppet but a breathing portrait of the author, and the purified condensation of everything that the name “Shakespeare” calls up in our hearts and minds?  The jewel in the crown of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom is Beauclerk’s courageous attempt to do just that:

Opening one’s heart to a great work of literature of the intensity of King Lear is like setting forth on a pilgrimage toward an inner realm on the horizon of one’s being.  Reading and walking, if undertaken in the spirit of wonder and intrepidity that transforms them into a way of life, refresh the soul in profound and allied ways.  Thoreau’s advice to walkers would be my advice to Shakespeare’s readers: “We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return – prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.” As a work that shakes the foundations of western culture, King Lear demands this sort of self-abandonment.  We never quite return from the journey.

My copy of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom has furious scribbles in the margins of every other page, some of them less than polite.  Yet when I told Charles Beauclerk in no uncertain terms that I could not agree with his theory on Oxford’s birth, he was most gracious, replying that he is open to hearing other theories; would I send him a copy when I write up my thoughts?  His True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth may not be your cup of true, but it is certainly the work of a generous and intrepid spirit.    ~Marie Merkel

  1. Bill Bullock
    December 4th, 2012 at 06:00 | #1

    @Marie Merkel


    You ask: “Can you tell me what proof there is that Oxford was sent to Ankerwick when he was four? Have you checked out Beauclerk’s source for this (dis)information?” My answer: “I am aware of no such proof.”

    I took the statement at face value, which is necessary in many places in SLK, for the book is sparsely footnoted (unlike Mark Anderson’s “Shakespeare by Another Name”). This is just one of many “facts” or “(mis)information” in the book that I wondered about as I read. I guess we would have to ask Mr. Beauclerk for his source.

    By the way, I must tell you that it is not surprising that at the end of your review of SLK you would acknowledge Mr. Beauclerks’ gracious comments about your views. You would certainly recognize his “graciousness,” for “graciousness” exudes from your review.


  2. Dr. William Bullock (Bill)
    October 26th, 2012 at 05:31 | #2


    I prefer to believe your view that Oxford saw his status coming from the de Vere line rather than the Tudor line, but I am suspicious that that is my preference because from my perspective in 2012 that the incest view seems farfetched. However, all that I read about the period suggests that incest in royal circles was not as uncommon as one would imagine here in 2012. And then there is one point of Beaucleark’s that seems quite reasonable to me. Can you disabuse me of my sense of reasonableness about this point?

    > (p. 62): “If Oxford was the bona fide child of John de Vere, he would have been only four when [he was sent to Ankerwick…to become the scholar of [Sir Thomas Smith]–too young, even in those precocious times. If, however, he was the child of Elizabeth and Seymour, then he would be leaving home at six, an age better comforming to the standard of the time.”

    Bill Bullock
    Columbus, GA

    • Marie Merkel
      October 31st, 2012 at 02:26 | #3


      Thanks for your intriguing comments on de Vere’s parentage. Just to be clear, in my view, the 17th earl of Oxford had no Tudor blood. I have an altogether different theory, based on the depositions of 1585 regarding John de Vere’s marriage to Joan Jockey.

      As for the question of Oxford’s age, I actually agree with Charles that he may have been a year or so older than the date offered by William Cecil, and seemingly confirmed through Alan Nelson’s discovery of the receipt for the christening gift sent by King Edward in April of 1550. But I’m willing to rest content that it’s impossible to prove my hunch; all I can do is lay out the circumstances and invite the reader to imagine. ;)

      Now, I’ve got a question for you: Can you tell me what proof there is that Oxford was sent to Ankerwick when he was four? Have you checked out Beauclerk’s source for this (dis)information?


  3. Orda
    May 25th, 2011 at 19:09 | #4

    Not that I am convinced of the Son-of-Queen theory, but there is a resemblance. The eyes, the mouth, the red hair.


  4. April 12th, 2011 at 12:04 | #5

    Marie, as one who is now working my way through the paperback version of SLK, I have to say your metaphor of the two buckets is apt. When I read Heidegger and he is elucidating the finest grain cross-connections in, say, Greek philosophy, he is uniformly brilliant and profound; when he goes into the mode of grandiose self-pity he is insufferable and one understands how he got caught by Hitler. Likewise, when one reads Charles on Oxford’s psychology, the metaphors of the Elizabethan world, and the world of both the plays and poems, and of the many allied writings, he is brilliant and profound. But whenever he moves into the history of ‘royal descent’ his touch deserts him, he becomes speculative, he moves straight on from the speculative ‘if’, to assuming the dating and the factuality two pages later, and so on and on, and there is a serious lack of referencing also in this respect.

    The ‘royal descent’ postulate for him corresponds to what Samuel Johnson wrote about Shakespeare’s own penchant for ‘a quibble’:

    ‘A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in the mire. It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistible. Whatever be the dignity or profundity of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging knowledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspense, let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves his work unfinished. A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was content to purchase it, by the sacrifice of reason, propriety and truth. A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was content to lose it.’

    From the position of the opponents of the Oxfordian case, these are near fatally damaging strictures, and, despite Charles’ brilliance, it sadly makes it impossible to use the book in the defence of the Oxfordian case, and that Emmerich relies on it will make it fatal to the film being taken seriously academically also.

    Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, therefore, alas, is only a book for afficionados, who can discount the ‘fatal Cleopatra’ [interesting metaphor of Johnson’s!] and find the profound psychological and literary insight which is undoubtedly there in the book. For our opponents it is lethal ammunition and something which we have polemically to move to one side.

    • April 16th, 2011 at 14:36 | #6

      @hewardwilkinson: Thank you for this thoughtful analysis of Beauclerk’s “fatal Cleopatra”. I agree with you on the “lack of referencing” but chalked that up to the nature of the book, as intended for a more general audience. Can we say a united “alas” for the disappearance, even in many academic works (which Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom doesn’t pretend to be, I don’t think), of erudite footnotes chock-full of quibbles?

      I wrote a few thoughts on Emmerich’s decision to use the controversial “Royal Bastard” or PT2 theory last December. (“If we provoke, let’s provoke all the way.“). Let’s face it, no matter what theory or “scenario” Roland Emmerich, disaster-director extraordinaire of “2012” and “10,000 B.C.” went with, the academic community was not likely to take it seriously!

      More to the point, I think, is what sort of “followers” this movie will attract to the Oxfordian arena. What we desperately need are independent thinkers, courageous writers and voracious readers. My guess is our gain will come from those brave literary souls who are so infuriated by Emmerich’s mucking about with Elizabethan literature and history that they set out to prove that Oxford COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE WRITTEN SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS. Let’s be ready for them!

      I love this quote from Johnson, but his amazing critique of Shakespeare’s fancy always leaves me wanting to argue with him. His terms call to mind the “eikastic” vs. “phantastic” distinctions of the Elizabethan era, that Peter Platt mentions in Wonders, Marvels and Monsters in Early Modern Culture.

      Do you agree, Heward, with Johnson’s assessment that Oxford, as Shakespeare, sacrificed “reason, propriety and truth” in his pursuit of this vaguely defined but irresistible quibble? I bet Philip Sidney thought so, and Ben Jonson too. I wonder what Samuel Johnson had in mind when he says that Shakespeare “lost the world”? What “world” did he lose? How does that world differ from the true kingdom of the spirit that Shakespeare bequeathed to us?

  5. April 9th, 2011 at 04:30 | #7

    @Marie Merkel

    Yes, sorry (my fault), it is the 1064 quarto of Hamlet.

    How do you explain it, then?

  6. April 9th, 2011 at 04:25 | #8

    @Bob Grumman

    Beauclerk digs deeper and is more profound than anyone since Looney. His book is going to be around for a long, long time.

    I quote the review from Brief Chronicles by Michael Delahoyde which I find true, for it is happening to me in my readings. Rather than the Oedipal complex one might expect:

    The myth that pierces to the heart of Shakespeare’s relationship with Elizabeth is the tale of Actaeon, the hunter who stumbled upon the virgin goddess Diana bathing nude in a woodland pond. (183).

    This insight alone is transformative to our reading of Shakespeare. I have studied four plays with students in class since reading Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, and I have found in each one partial glimpses of the Actaeon myth where I had not noticed it before. Such a result certifies Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom as representing the very best kind of scholarship.

  7. April 8th, 2011 at 20:44 | #9

    Marie, Last I saw you, Charles was there to start me out on this book. My later comments are on the Fellowship site. Your admirable response offers an organic path that can survive the howling packs that will be aroused by Emmerich. Happily you both are mentally (and spiritually) equipped to take this work somewhat further. All I want is to be there when you do. Is one of the lead-paned windows Jonson? ignojo@verizon.net.

    • Marie Merkel
      April 9th, 2011 at 15:14 | #10

      Joe, The packs may be howling as Anonymous approaches, but we should be purring. Whatever our differences, we’ve got the right man. Looking forward to seeing you at the Shakespeare – Oxford dinner in May!

  8. April 8th, 2011 at 16:04 | #11

    Strange review, Marie. You start by telling us, “Charles Beauclerk’s story begins propitiously – he has the right man, Edward de Vere,” then never tell us why. You really ought to since there is no hard evidence that he was the right man, and an enormous amount of hard evidence (things like names on title-pages) that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was. Hence, I’m afraid your review hasn’t tempted me to buy Beauclerk’s book–but I did recently buy Paul Streitz’s. I doubt that Beauclerk’s is anywhere near as funny.


    • April 9th, 2011 at 15:01 | #12

      @Bob Grumman: If you don’t know why Edward de Vere is the right man, then you are probably not my intended reader for this review. If you are satisfied with William of Stratford, then I wish you well in your circumscribed Shakespearean experience, old friend.

  9. April 6th, 2011 at 03:20 | #13

    @Paul Streitz

    I have read your book and have an answer why Charles Beauclerk
    did not acknowledge your priority, which is surprising indeed, because
    all along his book he acknowledges his debts.

    I think it is because of what you say in page 184:

    “Should a Tudor again be on the Throne?
    A direct line from Oxford to present day.
    So, why are the Windsors on the throne.”

    These are “incestuous” [criminal] words for an Englishman.

  10. Marie Merkel
    April 6th, 2011 at 00:43 | #14

    Ricardo Mena: These eight items of circumstantial evidence deserve thoughtful consideration. I’m away from home this week but will respond to you (and to Paul Streitz as well) once I’m back at home with my library close at hand.

    Mark: Thanks for the thumbs up! The Hastings alliance is very curious, for the light it sheds on what John de Vere anticipated for his son, and also in terms of the political climate of 1562. One of the best statements I’ve ever read about Oxford and Kings & Queens comes from his cousin Henry Howard, which Beauclerk quotes.

    Linda: This was a hard one to write, that I put off for almost a year. Thanks so much for these kind words.

  11. April 5th, 2011 at 15:40 | #15

    I know what you mean, but as a lawyer myself,
    I think there are circumstantial evidences for Edward de Vere
    being the son of the Queen, as Mr. Beauclerk shows (I’d like
    to buy Mr. Streitz’s book now), which are:

    1.- He entered London as a prince of Wales, when his “father”
    died and was the first ward of the Queen.

    2.- He was denied going abroad as many other ordinary noble youths
    for a long time, something strange for the Lord Great Chamberlain.

    3.- He was married to William Cecil’s daughter because the Queen
    permitted it.

    4.- The Queen went to Cambridge and Oxford when Edward de
    Vere was given his degrees, which was exceptional.

    5.- He signed with the crown signature up to the Queen death.

    6.- The 1609 quarto of “Hamlet” appeared with the Tudor Rose on its title page.

    7.- And Hamlet of course is the image of an occult prince subjected to his mother the queen.

    8.- If any noble should have done what De Vere (under the disguise of Gascoigne,Lily, Greene, Marlowe and Shake-speare, possible Spencer as well) did, the way he laughed about virginity and the queen or tried her deposition (Richard II on the eve of the Essex Rebellion), he would not have been alive for too long.

    The way I see these evidences shown by Mr. Beauclerk are enough to make you question that De Vere was not an ordinary person. For instance, could you answer De Vere’s crown signature and how he dropped it when the Queen died?

    • April 8th, 2011 at 17:37 | #16

      @Ricardo Mena: Again, thank you for this list. Using your numbers, I’ll give you some brief feedback on each piece of circumstantial evidence you propose.

      1. Oxford entered London as a prince of Wales and was the “first ward” of the Queen: I agree that Oxford entered like “a prince”, but haven’t encountered evidence that he was seen by anyone as “a prince of Wales”. We mustn’t forget that “prince” was a term used for grand figures of the nobility, as well as royalty. Oxford’s cousin Thomas, duke of Norfolk, was spoken of as a “prince”. Sussex and other noblemen traveled with scores of horsemen wearing their livery.

      In my view, Oxford’s grand entry was a defiant statement of his legal claim to the Oxford earldom of his father. Those who knew the story about John de Vere’s troubled marriages would have anticipated that this claim would soon be challenged, as it was by his own half-sister, before a year had passed.

      2. Elizabeth denied Oxford the right to travel abroad, which you see as “strange for the Lord Great Chamberlain”. I do not. Elizabeth had two sterling reasons to keep him at home. ONE: he was still in a rage over the beheading of his cousin Thomas, and might communicate with the exiled rebels on the continent. TWO: he was now married to the daughter of her most trusted counselor, William Cecil, and she did not want anything to happen to him that might disturb the happiness of Cecil and his family.

      3. He married Cecil’s daughter because the Queen permitted it: I don’t see how that has any bearing on his parentage. If anything, it rules AGAINST the notion that Edward de Vere was carrying Tudor blood. Elizabeth would have refused to let him marry at all if she knew his son could grow up to be a rival for her throne – witness how she treated her cousins!

      4. The queen indeed went to Cambridge, but Oxford wasn’t the only figure receiving honors on these occasions.

      5. The so-called “Crown” Signature, which Oxford stopped using after Elizabeth’s death: I don’t know what he had in mind with his signature styles, and I don’t believe that any one else really knows either. His cousin Henry Howard may provide the best insight into Edward’s fantasy relationship with Kings and Queens, in the statement he made to Elizabeth in 1580.

      6. Do you mean the 1604 quarto?

      7. I like the idea of Hamlet as an “occult” prince, but Elizabeth advertised herself as the surrogate mother to all her subjects, most especially to those who were her royal wards.

      8. How did Edward de Vere get away with his jokes about the queen’s virginity and all else that would have cost another man his ears or his head? For that, we need no further explanation than his fortuitous marriage to Anne Cecil, in 1572. Any shame brought upon the name of “Edward de Vere” would have stained Lord Burghley’s granddaughters as well. Elizabeth had strong incentive to protect Burghley, her “spirit”, and all that was precious to him.

      You are certainly correct, De Vere was NOT AN ORDINARY PERSON! Being the head of the Vere family was quite an extraordinary heritage in its own right – one which Edward Oxenford, as Shakespeare, constantly drew upon for his deepest sense of entitlement, family and noble virtue.

  12. April 4th, 2011 at 14:52 | #17

    Thank you, Marie. Spot-on, imo, in particular in this wonderful passage:

    “I agree with Beauclerk that Shakespeare’s plays and poems bear witness to the pain of having lost a kingdom, but in my view, (derived in large measure from the political understory of the Howard family in Titus Andronicus) that kingdom was more likely to have been in opposition to the Tudor line than a part of it. On his own, Edward de Vere had three earthly kingdoms somewhat within his grasp, all of them lost by 1591. The first was a Plantagenet alliance through marriage to one of the Hastings girls, which Beauclerk mentions on p. 71: “It looks as though John de Vere had taken it into his head to arrange a royal marriage for his teenage charge…” The second was Oxford’s impetuous and near-treasonous support for his first cousin Thomas Howard, who lost his head over the hare-brained temptation to wed Mary, Queen of Scots.

    The third lost kingdom, as Beauclerk notes, was the ancient seat of the Oxford earldom: “Then in December 1591, …Oxford surrendered the heart of his de Vere inheritance by alienating Hedingham Castle to Burghley in trust for his three daughters.”

  13. April 4th, 2011 at 13:21 | #18

    Gorgeous, brilliant, and heartbreaking, Marie. Thank you.

  14. April 4th, 2011 at 12:26 | #19

    Marie has hit it right on the head with this:
    “When Beauclerk chose to build his story around the second Prince Tudor theory, surely he knew he was taking on a highly controversial and divisive premise. Disarmingly, with strategically placed deployments of “if” and “seems” and “whether… or not”, he allows for our hesitations and doubts: when all is said and done, perhaps we will not find that he has proven his hypothesis:”

    It was very strange that in his bibliography and in his text, he completely disregards my Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I, which is the first assertion in print (Beauclerk claims another professor somewhere had notes to his students) that Oxford was the son of the Queen. Why he chose to leave references to my book out of his is a question you should ask him.

    Therefore, his book is a strange amalgam. The entire book is about the incestuous relation between Oxford and the Queen, which obviously says he was her son, but gives few historical facts to back up that assertion. Refer to the above.

    At any rate, there is copious evidence that Oxford was born on June 21, 1548, early in the morning, and then placed in the household of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford and raised as his son. The case is beyond any reasonable doubt. Please go to http://www.darienfilmcompany.com/files/OSQE_Text_Summer_1548.pdf
    for the key chapter, the Summer of 1548. The book is available on Amazon.com and on http://www.Smashwords.com.

    I am in the odd position of everyone writing about the theory that Oxford was the son of the Queen, and no one in the position that my book was the first to say so.

    While I am at it, my book also states why Oxford did not die in 1604, but lived until 1608, exiled on the Isle of Mersea, where he wrote The Tempest, Shake-speares Sonnets and created the King James Bible.

    Paul Streitz
    Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I

    • April 8th, 2011 at 16:50 | #20

      @ Paul Streitz: Credit where credit is due is an admirable goal. In this case, the honor of being “the first to propose the theory that Edward de Vere was the son of Queen Elizabeth by Lord Admiral Seymour” goes to Dr. Walter Freeman, who published this theory, along with other imaginative suggestions, in “Volume XIX of the archival series of Fairleigh Dickinson University.” Charles Beauclerk acknowledges Freeman’s priority on pp. 78-9 of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom.

      Beauclerk states that Freeman composed this work around 1950, but that it wasn’t available to students until 1991. About this time, Freeman’s theory came to the notice of several Oxfordians, who began to investigate further, and share their hunches and speculations with others. Beauclerk graciously acknowledges these individuals as well, on page 390.

      In the paperback edition of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, your book, Oxford, Son of Queen Elizabeth is included in the bibliography, on page 409.

      On what page of Oxford, Son of Queen Elizabeth do you credit Walter Freeman for the priority of his theory? On what page do you credit those who freely bandied the topic about for years, on Phaeton and elsewhere, throughout the 1990s? I don’t have your book on hand, and couldn’t locate these pages and acknowledgements in your online text. Perhaps you could supply a link for us?

      I haven’t had the chance to read your “Summer of 1548” chapter, but have bookmarked it. I did modify your link, however, so that it takes readers directly there, rather than having them search for it.


  1. April 10th, 2011 at 23:30 | #1