english phrase "Earl of Essex"

would someone help me understand this expression: Earl of Essex. I am reading a book named “The Intelligencer.” I know it has something to do with royalty and Queen Elizabeth but I want to find out if it has a particular meaning in the US.

The average American will understand nothing more than the “Earl of Essex” is some sort of British nobleman from a place in the UK called Essex.

Hi Bella,

As I understand the theme of the book you are reading ‘The Intelligencer’ it is concerned with the activities of Christopher Marlowe (the playwright) a contemporary of William Shakespeare, who was also active as a spy (intelligencer). During this period of English history (16/17th century) the monarch (in this case Elizabeth 1st) was all powerful and spying, plotting and power struggles were important activities for the monarch in order to hold on to power. Marlowe was busy trying to find out who would be the best suited highly placed man to help the Queen. The Earl of Essex was a strong contender but as so often happened at that time a favourite could easily fall out of favour and Essex met his fate at the hands of the executioner.


thank you both for your quick response. It is always a pleasure to learn from individuals like yourselves. I am new to the forum and I find it very helpful; although I am not very familiar with the system. In case I make any mistakes please forgive me. I will master it very soon.