No event was so sad, in the autumn of 1599, as the death of the beautiful Margaret Ratcliffe, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Born about 1575, she was one of seven children of Sir John Ratcliffe of Ordsall in Lancaster, who was a cousin to the Earls of Sussex. It seems logical to assume that Margaret owed her place in Elizabeth’s court to her cousin Mary Ratcliffe, a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth since 1561, when Mary’s father presented her to the Queen as a New Year’s gift.1