Its battlements stand tall above the Warwickshire countryside. The high towers and stout walls of Kenilworth Castle tell out England’s turbulent history. The ghosts of knights, squires and damsels walk the bowers and cellars.
Today, this mighty citadels lies in ruins with its portals toothless, its doors gone and the cannon ports empty.
Yet one feature remains and it is a testimony to love not war.
For, in July 1575, Robert Dudley played his final card in wooing Elizabeth the First. Not for him roses and chocolates. Instead, when she arrived at his home at Kenilworth she was greeted by actors making speeches and trumpeters ‘trumpeting’. Similar acts of extravagant devotion when on for 3 weeks. All to no avail, for the sovereign remained unwed. However, she was grief-struck when Dudley died 13 years later and kept his last letter with her ever after.
Nowadays there is only one witness to this overindulgence. It is a beautiful garden kept just as the Queen saw it those centuries before.
I was thinking of the love between Elizabeth and Dudley as I sat eating an ice cream on the castle’s green when a lady visitor from the United States approached. She wanted to talk to my dogs. She had 3 back home and she missed them very much. Perhaps then whether we live in a grand palace or a humbler house, the greatest motivation of creator and created is love. Since it alone makes life a garden or an empty shell.