Recording from Stephen Alford’s talk, ‘The Watchers: Spies & Espionage in the Reign of Elizabeth I’ for CVHF, Tuesday 25th June.
In this gripping talk, Stephen Alford tells the story of Elizabeth’s spies, code breakers, ambassadors and confidence-men, who battled constantly throughout her reign to protect their queen. For while she was a ruler who radiated power and purpose, most of Europe, from the Pope to Philip II, conspired to destroy her. Her reign required endless watchfulness – of the coasts, of the Catholic seminaries, of Elizabeth’s own subjects. The stakes could not have been higher: priests coming secretly ashore were hunted down and executed, and assassination plots, real and imagined, sprung up everywhere. Drawing on extraordinary secret files, Stephen Alford brings to life this shadow world, where nobody could be trusted and where a single mistake could have changed England’s history drastically. This is a dark, surprising and utterly compelling talk of an extraordinary reign.