Francis Walsingham

(Londra?/Foots Cray? 1532-1590 Londra)
English Secretary of State

Francis Walsingham was born in or about 1532, probably at Foots Cray, near Chislehurst, Kent. His parents were William and Joyce Walsingham.  Walsingham matriculated at King’s College, Cambridge in 1548, which he left in 1550 without earning an academic degree. Walsingham would continue his studies in Basel, and then onto Padua, where in 1555, his fellow classmates elected him to the governing body. 

In 1570, Walsingham was called by Queen Elizabeth I to support the Huguenots in their negotiations with Charles IX of France. Later that year, he succeeded Sir Henry Norris as English Ambassador in Paris.  On his return to his homeland, he was appointed Principal Secretary and member of the private council of Elizabeth I.

The queen’s trust was attained over time, which lead to her entrusting him with delicate diplomatic missions.  His network of informants proved invaluable for the crown, as in the case of the plot by Mary Stewart against Elizabeth I, and the attempted Spanish invasion of England, which led to the destruction of King Philip II of Spain in 1588 and his Invincible Armada.

Francis Walsingham

The restoration of the Francis Walsingham canvas has been supported by C.I.B. Unigas S.p.A.