Facts and Events
Mary Sidney (née Dudley), Lady Sidney (c. 1530–1535 – 9 August 1586) was an English lady-in-waiting at the court of Elizabeth I, and the mother of the courtier and poet Sir Philip Sidney. A daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, she was marginally implicated in her father's attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the English throne and affected by his attainder.
Mary Dudley was one of Queen Elizabeth's most intimate confidantes during the early years of her reign. Her duties included nursing the Queen through smallpox and acting as her mouthpiece towards diplomats. A sister of Elizabeth's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, she remained always loyal to her family. She was the mother of seven children and accompanied her husband, Sir Henry Sidney, to Ireland and the Welsh Marches. From the 1570s the couple complained repeatedly about their, as they saw it, niggardly treatment at the Queen's hands. Still one of Elizabeth's favourite ladies, Mary Sidney retired from court life in 1579, suffering from ill health during her last years.