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Elizabethan Bodyguard: Sir Walter Raleigh was the David Budd of his day
25.08.2021 Vanessa Thorpe
Walter Raleigh Walter Raleigh

He was the good-looking former soldier whose job was to protect the most powerful woman in Britain. Sexually bewitched, his top concern became her personal safety. Sound familiar?

A scholarly new biography of Sir Walter Raleigh will argue that the great Elizabethan explorer followed the same path to the centre of government as the lead character in the BBC’s hit show Bodyguard.

The new study, Patriot or Traitor, by cultural historian Anna Beer, highlights the erotic charge of Raleigh’s relationship with Elizabeth I and the privileged position it gave him. Although the real man, contrary to myth, did not introduce the potato to Britain, and may never have laid his cloak over a puddle for his Queen, he did rise from humble beginnings to ensure her personal protection and, like Jed Mercurio’s David Budd, he was always by her side.
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