Essex's star was in the ascendant. In 1591, he was given command of a force sent to the assistance of the Protestant King Henry IV of France. In 1596, he distinguished himself once again, by the capture of Cadiz. In the meantime, he had effectively become the queen's foreign secretary and favourite, especially in the period after Leicester's death in 1588. However, he overreached himself when he attempted an expedition to the Azores, and failed again as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a post which Elizabeth had forced on him because she felt he was becoming too haughty.
Having permanently fallen out with the queen, Essex unwisely attempted a political coup, raising a rebellion and attempting to seize control of the city of London on February 8, 1601. He was arrested, convicted of treason, and executed at the Tower of London on February 25, 1601.
Devereux's title was inherited by his son, Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex.
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