Diplomatic orders by Queen Elizabeth
. Anne of Austria (1549-80) was the eldest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian II. In 1570 she became the fourth wife of her uncle, Philip II of Spain, and at the time this letter was written she was in the Low Countries preparing for the final stage of her journey from Austria to Spain, which would take her by sea past the English coast. Elizabeth was evidently keen to take advantage of the opportunity posed by a passing royal both to display English naval capability (her offer assistance is also a pointed reminder that "we have a hole navie in such good redynes") and to complain, at length, about the Spanish ambassador. Guerau de Espés del Valle had been in post for two years and had developed a deeply antagonistic relationship with the English government, and especially William Cecil. In 1571 he was expelled from England for complicity in the Ridolfi Plot, which aimed to combine a renewed Northern rebellion with invasion by the Spanish from the Low Countries, and to assassinate the Queen and place Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne.
This commission was the first naval command of Charles Howard (1536-1624), later 2nd Baron Effingham and subsequently Earl of Nottingham, who became Lord Admiral of England and in 1588 was to lead the English forces against the Spanish Armada.