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Who were the jousting champions?

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the joust was an important event. Men used the joust to try to get the queen's attention. Of course, they tried to win. They also wore their finest armour and rode their best horses.

Here are a few of the men who made a name for themselves in the joust.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley was very good at jousting. He was also a childhood friend of Elizabeth. He used this to promote himself. He served as her Master of the Horse, an important job at court.

Sir George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland
He was a privateer. (This means he was captain of a ship that was not part of the navy, but was allowed by the government to attack enemy ships in time of war.) He fought against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and showed how brave he was. Two years later he became Queen's Champion.

Sir Henry Lee
Lee was Queen's Champion in her jousts for 30 years. He had the idea of holding a joust to celebrate Elizabeth's reign. Each year this joust was a splendid event. It started with poetry said to the queen, often in a silly speech to make her laugh. Competitors also gave her expensive gifts. Then there was about five hours of jousting. The winner's prize was a jewel given by the queen.

Portrait of Elizabeth I Portrait of Robert Dudley Symbol of Robert Dudley Coat of arms of Sir Henry Lee Poetry spoken at a joust

What is jousting?

Find out more about jousting.
What is jousting?

What is heraldry?

Who were the jousting champions?

What armour did they wear?

See the full Joust menu
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The Tudors – joust

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