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Robert Cecil

Robert Cecil (1563? - 1612), 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Viscount Cranborne, son of William Cecil and half-brother of Thomas Cecil, statesman and minister to Elizabeth I of England and James I of England. Robert Cecil is the one who tore down most of the old palace of Hatfield House and built the new one.

Robert Cecil was vilified by some of his contemporaries and, as is still common today, some of his less attractive physical features were exaggerated to make an ideological point. His appearance in 1588 is described in Motley's History of the Netherlands thusly: "A slight, crooked, hump-backed young gentleman, dwarfish in stature, but with a face not irregular in feature, and thoughtful and subtle in expression, with reddish hair, a thin tawny beard, and large, pathetic, greenish-coloured eyes, with a mind and manners already trained to courts and cabinets, and with a disposition almost ingenuous, as compared to the massive dissimulation with which it was to be contrasted, and with what was, in aftertimes, to constitute a portion of his own character..."

Queen Elizabeth is said to have referred to him as "my pigmy".



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