|My name is Eddie not Willie|
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (April 12, 1550-June 24, 1604) was an English peer and courtier of the Elizabethan era. Oxford was heir to the second oldest earldom in the kingdom, a court favorite for a time, a sought-after patron of the arts, and noted by his contemporaries as a lyric poet and playwright.
But his reckless and volatile temperament precluded him from attaining any courtly or governmental responsibility and contributed to the dissipation of his estate. Since the 1920s he has been the most popular alternative candidate proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare's works.
Oxford was the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and Margery Golding. After the death of his father in 1562, he became a ward of Queen Elizabeth and was sent to live in the household of her principal advisor, Sir William Cecil.
He married Cecil's daughter, Anne [not Hathaway], with whom he had five children. Oxford was estranged from her for five years after he refused to acknowledge her first child as his.
The evidence is much stronger than today's royalists can dismiss
Oxford was a champion jouster and travelled widely throughout Italy and France. He was among the first to compose love poetry at the Elizabethan court, and he was praised as a playwright, although none of his known plays survive.
A stream of dedications praised Oxford for his generous patronage of literary, religious, musical, and medical works. He patronized both adult and boy acting companies, as well as musicians, tumblers, acrobats, and performing animals. More
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