William Shakespeare and Lady Anne Lucy

This is an entirely fictional story on my part and I doubt that it ever happened in real life.  Lady Anne Lucy was the only daughter of local Magistrate Sir Thomas and was several years older than William Shakespeare.

Although they both lived in Stratford, they first become acquainted at the Kenilworth Pageant (19 miles from Stratford) in 1575.  William was just eleven years old and Lady Anne was seventeen.  She was Williams ‘first crush’, an educated and friendly girl to whom William could relate.  In William she should somehow perceive he was ‘destined for greatness’ as he possessed a maturity beyond his years and extraordinary knowledge; he was like a brother she never had.  The Kenilworth meeting was not so much a meeting as a flirtation in passing but a flirtation which would last a lifetime.

They did finally meet and speak in the autumn of that year at the Stratford ‘Mop Fair’, but it was already clear then that their lives were pulling in different directions.  Theatre was at the heart of their’accord’.  Lady Anne was destined to marry Sir Edward Aston introduced to her by their mutual friend (William Drayton) and William was about to be sent for a couple of years to a catholic seminary in France which had just been set up in Douai France.

They would not see each other for another fourteen. It was 1592 and Lady Anne and her husband attended a Shakespeare production in London of ‘Henry VI” which brought him public acclaim.  She was in the audience with her husband and William was ‘back-stage’.  They noticed and acknowledged each other but not more; it was a brief  but nostalgic and unforgettable moment in their flirtation.

Lady Anne was always aware of the animosity which existed between her Father and  the Shakespeare family.  She had seen the Ballad delivered by William to the Lucy Charlecote Manor home on the eve of his departure to Italy 1585 and had protected him from harm when he was caught poaching there a year previously.

The now widowed Lady Anne attended the Stratford premiere of ‘Midsummers Nights Dream’ in July 1597 at Clopton Manor Stratford.  This was a very touching time in their association and witnessed by the onlooking Anne Hathaway. The contact never ceased but it would be the last time Lady Anne and William ever met.

They were never lovers, they never exchanged a single kiss but the love and mutual respect between them was immense.  Anne Hathaway spoke briefly with Lady Anne at the Clopton Manor premiere in 1597 and they respectfully acknowledged each other at Williams funeral in April 1616.


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