First Earl of Salisbury (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: As the principal secretary to both Queen Elizabeth and King James I, Cecil managed Parliament, supervised the peaceful transition from Tudor to Stuart rule, and negotiated a peace treaty with Spain.
Robert Cecil was the second son born to Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Treasurer, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, by his second wife, Mildred, the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke. A frail child, Cecil grew up with a twisted foot, a bent back, a short stature, and a keen mind. His education was closely supervised by his father, who recognized in his younger son qualities lacking in his heir, Thomas. He provided Robert with a number of fine tutors who cultivated in him the skills needed for a career in public life. The young Cecil won a degree of affection and support from his parents which they never gave to his older brother, and his father took time to teach Robert some of the valuable political skills and lessons he had learned at court.
Cecil’s formal education is not well recorded. He entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1579 or 1580, several years later in life than did most of his contemporaries. In 1580, he was among those “specially admitted” to study law at Gray’s Inn, London, though he seems to have returned to Cambridge later that fall. In 1580, he sat in Parliament (the third session of 1576) through his father’s patronage. He continued his studies, and in 1581,...
(The entire section is 2106 words.)
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