William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (1520-1598), Lord High Treasurer
Sitter associated with 45 portraits
Cecil served both Edward VI and Mary I but exercised most power when chief minister to their sister Elizabeth I. When she ascended to the throne, Queen Elizabeth's first appointment was to make him her principal secretary of state, making him the youngest member of her council. Throughout his life, he was the queen's most influential minister, tempering her actions with cautious but decisive advice. As a result, the Queen nicknamed Cecil her 'Spirit'. He was created Baron Burghley in 1571, and was Lord High Treasurer and Chief Minister from 1572. The only serious threat to his influence came from Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whose great dislike he returned.