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Siege, Elizabethan Garden and Elizabeth and Dudley romance

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Robert Dudley's Elizabethan Garden has been re-created. It is almost complete, and can be seen in previews every Friday at Kenilworth Castle. The garden opens in May 2009. A garden set amid a ruined castle. . .

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The castle was built in the Forest of Arden, Warwickshire. Simon de Montfort used Kenilworth as his base of operations when he led the bachelor knights and the citizens of the big towns in defending reform and in establishing the first Parliament. After his death, the bachelor knights used the castle's extensive water defences to keep Lord Edward and Henry III at bay in the longest siege in English history. It lasted almost a year, and concluded with good terms for the defenders.

At the restored gatehouse at Kenilworth, the relationship between the Earl of Leicester and Elizabeth l is explored in a new exhibition, which includes portraits of Elizabeth and Dudley, a tapestry with his coat of arms (recently restored by the Winchester Textile Conservation Centre) and personal correspondence. The Queen was known to have kept the earl's last letter to her in a casket by her bed until her death.

The new displays in the Gatehouse were made possible thanks to the support of the Wolfson Foundation, and by donations and bequests from the public.

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