Elizabeth I, Killer Queen

A controversial affair between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley lead to a murder? (ROYAL HISTORY)
Tom Cholmondeley
Louise MartinAmy RobsartHannah Summers
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Robert DudleyCanice BannonElizabeth I
Off the Fence
Off the Fence
G (General Audience)
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3.8 out of 5 stars

262 global ratings

  1. 42% of reviews have 5 stars
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  4. 10% of reviews have 2 stars
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THE PROFESSORReviewed in the United States on December 4, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
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The uncovering of the witness descriptions about the death of Amy Robsart are certainly worthy of coverage, fresh investigation, and academic consideration, but ultimately this "documentary" amounts to exactly the charge scripted for amazingly talented actor Tom Hardy to say to Good Queen Bess in a powerhouse delivery during his breakout role as Robert Dudley in Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen. (Fictional and inclusive of embellished moments though that drama is, I nevertheless HIGHLY recommend it for viewing as an alternative to this waste of viewer time and the space it takes in Amazon's offerings!) In that fictional scene, they are actually hashing over how Dudley came to be secretly married to Lettice Knollys when he finally gave up on Bess's hand, but it is a fitting description of the on-camera commentary of this so-called documentary that amounts to little more than the "rank insinuation" extrapolated from court gossip and fevered imaginings of jealous minds. I still don't think that "murder" was actually proven in the aforementioned document that is the center of this reconsideration, but even if we go down that rabbit hole, the suspect theories that follow from their reasonings are illogically reasoned nonsense that do no credit to any of these experts involved who previously had made fairly good accountings of their work as Tudor experts in various more credible documentaries. I don't want to get too spoilerish (although I don't think in this case spoiler would actually apply to known history that is unchanged by rank speculation), but the new "evidence" is the inclusion of descriptions of head wounds that supposedly argue for a finding of homicide rather than accident or suicide, but no one ever tries to find a way that an accident or suicide could still fit the head wounds, with all speculation strictly reserved for the various murderous plots described. It's really more like a round of Clue, with each expert getting a big j'accuse moment to charge which such and such suspect was most likely to have done it, with what means the deed was done, and how Amy Robsart came to be in such position at the bottom of the stairs (with attention certainly wasted on how the crime could perhaps have occurred elsewhere before the fallen lady was positioned at the bottom of the stairs). A bit of brief attention is given to a possibility the murder was like that of Thomas Becket, with the "thugs" in Dudley's sphere came to think they would be doing a favor to their master in getting the wife out of the way, but then such consideration of anyone other than the big names simply evaporates as they talk how even Queen Elizabeth herself could have done the deed with her terrible temper. That's not to say that Elizabeth couldn't have taken somebody out with the famous Tudor temper at work, but she would have had to travel to the residence where Dudley's wife was with all the attention that a monarch on the move created spotlighting her--not exactly conducive to a secret visit with murderous intent! Ultimately, a letter to a tailor consulting about the order of a new gown and the highly unusual move of clearing the house on the day of the fair are the key clues that help establish conditions for a murder and insist that it was a meeting with one of their handful of suspects that could have induced her to instruct the household to decamp. Since the whole thing is rank insinuation, I was surprised they entirely dismissed/ignored the possibility that wanting a new gown and time alone without prying eyes suggest that Amy might have gotten fed up with her abandonment and been embarking on an affair that somehow went wrong. Sure, that would be speculation, too, but since they keep defending themselves in those j'accuse moments by saying they're just doing the due diligence on historical possibility (albeit without concern for standards of probability), it seems remiss that they don't toss that bone in the bag, too. Ultimately, the bones in question are just too bare to be of any value in changing the well-established story told up to this point that it was most likely an accident but with overtones of possible suicide leaving her in need of protection for appropriate burial and disposition of her soul. Thankfully, it is at rest, and by the end of this "documentary," one can only think giving it rest is exactly what these so-called experts should do!
3 people found this helpful
Julia DeatonReviewed in the United States on February 11, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
One Star for me. Very disappointed!
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Pure speculation with no actual evidence to accuse Elizabeth or Robert in Amy's murder, if it even was murder. The ending really irked me to the point I wish I could've reached in a slapped dude. He seriously needs to think and find actual hard evidence!
1… those steps were made of stone, so the edges could have in fact caused the two different lacerations to Amy's head. She could've very well lost her footing, maybe even due to being in a rush (she did send everyone way so she could've been rushing to see someone), and hit those hard steps. Because when you tumble down stairs, you can hit multiple places on your head and/or body. [I've had both happen to myself.]
2… Cecil had already been plotting and sending out rumors of the Queen and Robert. That alone makes him suspicious, if it truly was murder. Then you have him getting what he wanted all along. Including Elizabeth's attention once again. He prospered in many ways.
3… why would Elizabeth have to kill her when she a) had the power to trump up charges as treason and have her disposed of that way. B) could have dissolved the marriage of Amy & Roberts. C) had Robert to herself already. I mean, come on, he was always there, he never visited his wife.
2 people found this helpful
lawyeraauReviewed in the United States on May 26, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Those with an interest in Tudor history or the reign of Elizabeth I of England should enjoy this documentary. It takes a fresh look, although speculative, at who may have been complicit in the death of Amy Rothsart, the wife of Robert Dudley, who was an intimate of Queen Elizabeth I. There are a number of possibilities. So, the unfortunate title of this documentary is somewhat misleading.

A number of authors, including Philippa Gregory, as well as historians, narrate the film. A variety of theories and suspects are proffered, but none are conclusive. Still, the discussions, however speculative, of the whys and wherefores of the various suspects are intriguing and give one food for thought. I found it to be interesting.

What I did find puzzling was the choice of the actor who plays the role of Robert Dudley in the reenactments that serve as illustration for the story. Very slight of physique, shorter than the actress who plays Elizabeth, this actor prances around like a mincing fop, making the viewer wonder why on earth Elizabeth would be attracted to him, much less kill for him. Still, this was not sufficient to deter my interest in the subject matter. The newly discovered historical documents pertaining to the death of Amy Rothbart more than made up for this but of miscasting.
17 people found this helpful
Soohyun LeeReviewed in the United States on July 29, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
wouldn't it be better for her to make it look like a murder
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I think it's Amy herself who ordered/asked for a murder to someone she could trust. It doesn't make sense that Amy cleared the house because of an order from the Queen, Cecil or her husband. If any of these people wanted to kill her, would they ask her to order to clear the house? That's a very odd way of murdering someone and it would leave an obvious trail. Amy may have cleared the house at her own will, so that she can die, but clearly she wouldn't want to commit suicide. Then, could it be that she asked someone to kill her? Regarding the question of who gains the most by Amy's death, it's also herself. Her death prevented her husband from every marrying the Queen. If she had cancer and if she had thought she was going to die anyway, wouldn't it be better for her to make it look like a murder?
7 people found this helpful
PersonReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
new evidence points to murder but not the murderer
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Interesting take on Amy's death. The evidence of a puncture wound to the head was new to me, and I never thought before that maybe Cecil had orchestrated it, but now I think...maybe. Probably not likely he did, but I don't think it can be ruled out completely. Pretty clear that foul play was involved, regardless, but still nothing that can concretely lead to the murderer. Highly doubt that Robert or Elizabeth were directly involved or even knew about any details until after it happened. Sad story all around. I think this will continue to be one of the world's most intriguing historical mysteries for a long time, and the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert is hard not get swept up in and speculate what really went on. Elizabeth was incredibly smart and cunning and powerful, and she surely went to great lengths to keep anything from pointing to her or Robert as guilty for certain. The speculation will always be there but concrete evidence will not. Still, it's fun to play "what if?" with this scandal, and this documentary did a good job of it. I might watch this again.
Bunny A.Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2016
1.0 out of 5 stars
Good Queen Bess
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Heavy on speculation, no evidence that Elizabeth I was involved in the death of Amy Robsart exists. Whether the death of the Countess of Leceister was an accident or murder will never be known "beyond reasonable doubt." But to suggest that the Queen may have plotted her death is mere speculation and assumption. Given Elizabeth's personal history, the execution of her mother by her father and her very possible molestation as an adolescent at the hands of Thomas Seymour, I think that her ambivalence towards men is understandable, and would preclude the serious intent to enter any marriage. If, on the other hand, Leceister connived at the death of his wife to further his ambition to marry Elizabeth, history has shown that he greatly miscalculated. Perhaps his greatest attraction for Elizabeth was the sheer impossibility of ever making him her husband. In fact, after the death of his wife, she put him forward as a suitor for Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth preserved her autonomy by staying unmarried, and enhanced her international prestige through her availability to princely suitors. Far from being a killer queen, her reign was marked by far fewer executions than her immediate predecessors (Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I), a cessation of civil strife, and a period of prosperity.
93 people found this helpful
Paige MillerReviewed in the United States on August 30, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A very good re-enactment of one of the most important mysteries in ...
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A very good re-enactment of one of the most important mysteries in the history of England. With something so old, there are many possible interpretations of the available evidence, and no conclusion is reached (which is probably as it should be). After doing some reading, there are other possibilities that were not mentioned in the video. But nevertheless, you will be spell-bound by something that happened in 1560, this is a good thriller!
5 people found this helpful
Glama PussReviewed in the United States on February 4, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Engaging but not convincing esply bc...
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Queen Elizabeth was NOT a virgin queen. There are scores of books detailing her lovers and possbile lovers and I dont think for one minute that she did not bed Dudley. As to who killed Dudley's wife Amy, she could have committed suicide and still ended up with two gashes to her head. Perhaps she was epilileptic and took a terrible fall down the steps. There are after all over 27 types of epilepsy. Mystery unsolved, do not recommend the film tho it's slightly intriguing at first glance. More research to be done as always.
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