Cecil, Robert, 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563 -1612)
The only surviving son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and his second wife Mildred, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke and Anne Fitzwilliam, Robert Cecil was born slightly deformed with a hunchback. After his education at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1584 he travelled abroad, primarily to France where he studied briefly at the Sorbonne. Following the death of Sir Francis Walsingham in 1590, Salisbury was made Secretary of State, and on the death of his father in 1598, became the leading minister, serving both Queen Elizabeth and King James. He was instrumental in ensuring James’s peaceful succession to the English Crown upon Elizabeth's death in 1603. James expressed his gratitude by elevating Cecil to the peerage as Baron Cecil of Essindene in Rutland in 1603, and later bestowing upon him the title of Viscount Cranborne in 1604, and the Earldom of Salisbury in 1605. On 31 August 1589 he married Elizabeth Brooke, daughter of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, and Frances Newton. She bore him two children, a daughter Frances, and a son William. Lord Salisbury was responsible for the demolition of most of the old palace of Hatfield House and the building of the new one.