Meet Queen Elizabeth I at Burghley House…sort of

Queen-Elizabeth I portrait in the Padoga Room in Burghley Hall

Four centuries after Burghley House was created in her honour, Queen Elizabeth I is to visit the Elizabethan house, in a way.

Queen Elizabeth I, as depicted in the portrait of her in the Padoga Room in Burghley
Queen Elizabeth I, as depicted in the portrait of her in the Padoga Room in Burghley

This year visitors to Burghley House will be able to enjoy an audience with Queen Elizabeth I, although it is unclear whether she will answer questions on her imprisonment at the hands of her half-sister Bloody Mary, or the execution of her mother Anne Boleyn on the orders of her father Henry VIII, is unclear.

Built by her chief minister and trusted advisor William Cecil, Burghley House in Lincolnshire was originally designed as a grand tribute to the Queen, and is still lived in by a direct descendant of Lord Burghley, however she never actually stayed here as her one planned visit was called off at the last minute because William Cecil’s daughter had smallpox.

To make amends for her missing her visit in life, Burghley House will host a presentation by Lesley Smith, curator of Tutbury Castle, in character as Queen Elizabeth I, at a special ticketed event on Friday 23 May, held in the Great Hall, which boasts a remarkable double hammer-beam roof 60ft tall that was used as a banqueting hall in Elizabethan days.

Renowned Elizabethan historian Lesley Smith will talk about the profound effects on English and European politics of the Protestant queen who went on to rule England longer than any other monarch before her, and will transport guests back to the time of Drake, Raleigh and Shakespeare on England’s voyage into the Renaissance.

The evening will begin with drinks in the Orangery Restaurant, ­ housed in a building that provided space for the family’s love of horticulture and designed by Capability Brown.

Tickets are £14 and include a glass of wine.

For full details of opening times, events and to book online tickets, visit or telephone 01780 752451.

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