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RA EB/EB/34 1551-2

Princess Elizabeth's account book, 1551–2

The future Elizabeth I (r. 1558–1603) spent much of her youth at Hatfield Palace (now House) in Hertfordshire, and it was there that she heard of her accession to the throne following the death of her half-sister, Mary I.

William Scrots (attributed to), Elizabeth I when a Princess, 1546-7

William Scrots (attributed to), Elizabeth I when a Princess, 1546-7 ©

This volume is one of the few Tudor documents held in the Royal Archives. It records the expenditure of the Princess’s Household between 1 October 1551 and 30 September 1552. Elizabeth checked the accounts herself, and every page bears her signature and that of her Chamberlain, Sir Walter Buckler.

The pages on display list some of the Princess's more personal expenses, such as strings for her lute. They also contain payments for works done at Hatfield, including 'glasing' [glazing] and 'reparacions' [repairs]. The right hand page also includes an illuminated S with a drawing of the figure of Sorrow (Dolor) tearing his hair out alongside the declaration of the total money spent over the course of the year. This image has been adapted from a print by the Italian artist Enea Vico.

Selective transcription of expenditure recorded on the left hand page:


… John Baptist for Lute stringes for her grace

xviis …



Thomas Brierly for flowers in the moneth of July

xxds …



Willm Russell for his expences in riding to the

cristening of Mr Chekes childe the space of vi daies




… Richard Smith for his expences riding to London

vs …



Willm Darbre for expences in riding for gentlemen when her grace went to the courte

vis …



Garrat Jonson for xiiii paier of Shoes in september

xiiiis …