Stefanie Sloane
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The Origins of the Young Corinthians

1558 – 1603 marks the reign of Elizabeth I. Known as the Golden Age, it was a highly creative period in England’s history, as well as a time of prosperity and peace–or so it looked on the surface. Her father’s reign had proven to be one of the most bloody England had ever seen. As for the Virgin Queen? She intended to end the Tudor dynasty on a high note and ruled with a more moderate hand and forgiving heart.

But beneath the Virgin Queen’s perfect empire? Plots, intrigue, and conspiracies brewed.

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth was the target of many assassination attempts and conspiracies against her rule–a fact that did not please her particular friend and spy master, Francis Walsingham.

Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's Spy Master

Walsingham formed the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization deep within the British government, in order to safeguard the Queen and her crown. The year was 1570. Though Walsingham had successfully defended the Queen countless times before, the infamous Ridolfi plot shook the spy master to his core. An early supporter of the Northern rebellion, Florentine banker and ardent Catholic Roberto Ridolfi conceived of a plan that included support from abroad in a bid to bring Mary, Queen of Scots, to the throne.

The plot was foiled, the Queen saved. And the Young Corinthians were born.

Veni, vixi, vici.

I came, I lived, I conquered.

–The Young Corinthians motto

Walsingham engaged those men whom he felt he could trust–in other words, nobility with a stake in the success of the Queen’s empire. From dukes and earls, viscounts and barons, the spy master recruited heavily and trained hard, funding the undertaking with his own coin and teaching the men all that he knew of operating within the deep and murky world beneath the shimmering facade of Elizabeth’s Golden Age.

But did he rely solely on these titled men to do the work of defending the country? Or did he in fact involve certain key players upon the world’s stage to aide the effort? Some even without the rest of the Corinthians knowledge?

Yes. And so did his predecessors.

Christopher Marlowe

 Playwright, poet, and Young Corinthian.

Sir Isaac Newton

Physicist, Mathematician, and Young Corinthian.

Thomas Gainsborough

Portrait and landscape painter and Young Corinthian.

And these are but a few of the countless men throughout history who played pivotal roles in the protection of the crown.

Ready to read about the dangerous men and adventurous women in the Regency Rogues series? Go HERE!