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Detail of a portrait of Sir Francis Walsingham, circa 1587, by John de Critz. NPG, London. Queen Elizabeth's Spymaster
SPIES: Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1532 – 6 April 1590) was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security. He oversaw operations which penetrated the heart of Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, and disrupted a range of plots against the queen.
This painting is of Queen Elizabeth’s spy master, the ruthless Francis Walsingham. Walsingham ran a vast network of spies and secret informers, who helped bring about the execution of Elizabeth's arch rival, Mary Queen of Scots, and played a key role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But Elizabeth was strangely reluctant to fund his secret service, and Walsingham was forced to sink much of his personal wealth into the operation
Sir Francis Walsingham, brilliant spy master to Queen Elizabeth I.