A couple weeks ago, I toured Leicester’s Building at Kenilworth Castle. Built by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, for Queen Elizabeth I, it’s a square tower block that has recently been refurbished with stair cases such that visitors are able to go right up to the top of the building.
One can stand at floor level in the Queen’s private rooms, imagining her and her ladies at their needlework. Or the Earl and the Queen playing cards – they both loved playing and bet heavily on their games. Or the Queen sitting at the window, contemplating how to get out of marrying one of her many suitors (I imagine she did this a lot)! One has to envision the Great Mere that the Queen would have seen as that has since been drained away, but the views over the countryside are simply stunning.
And on the top floor, a dancing chamber built for a Queen. Here, one can imagine Her Majesty and Dudley dancing the Volta. Or taking refreshment in the room next door, sweaty from their exertions on the dance floor.
It’s a bit difficult to imagine what this building would have cost Dudley to build given that its sole purpose and use would have been to house the Queen on her summer progress. But even today, it’s easy to imagine the Queen’s presence there.