Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, soldier and politician, was born on 10 November 1565.
Essex returned to England late in October 1586 as a war hero and caught Queen Elizabeth I's eye. By May 1587 Essex had become established as Elizabeth's constant young companion. Essex was sworn of the privy council on 25 February 1593.
In early February 1600—in the wake of a new scandal involving the sale of an equestrian portrait of Essex, engraved by Thomas Cockson, which described him as ‘Vertue's honor’, ‘Grace's servant’, and, most ominously, ‘God's elected’—it was finally decided that Essex would be tried in Star Chamber for treason on 13 February. However, when the earl sent Queen Elizabeth I a submissive letter, Elizabeth cancelled the trial. Yet, on 19 February Essex was tried for treason at Westminster Hall. Essex was beheaded before a small audience in the courtyard of the Tower on 25 February 1601.