For the next few years, Elizabeth swung mercurially between endearment and exasperation,
drawing up documents to make Dudley an Earl only to shred them in front of him.
And other times, especially when she felt nagged by the council,
she would torment them by pretending their marriage was just about to happen. It never did.
By 1563, Elizabeth had given up on the possibility of ever marrying Dudley.
She was prepared to offer him to someone else, someone whose own marriage prospects were of
tremendous significance for the balance of power in Britain.
Mary Stuart, Queen of the Scots.