Robert Carey was born in 1560, the tenth son of Henry Carey and his wife, Anne.
As a young man he accompanied several diplomatic missions abroad and took part in military expeditions. In 1587 he joined in the attempt to relieve Sluys. In 1588 served as a volunteer against the Spanish Armada, and commanded a regiment in the Earl of Essex's expedition to Normandy in support of the Protestant Henry IV of France in 1591, taking part in the siege of Rouen. He was knighted by Essex the same year for having by his intercession with the Queen procured his recall.
In the parliaments of 1586 and 1588 he represented Morpeth; in that of 1593, Callington; and in those of 1596 and 1601, Northumberland. From 1593 till the end of Elizabeth's reign he occupied various posts in the government of the Scottish borders, being appointed warden of the middle march in 1596, which he held till February 1598.
This was some of the most important work of his life, and he was largely responsible for easing the troubles and the depredations of the Border Reivers. His conflict with the Scottish fyrebrande Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe was only settled after great skill and tact on Carey's part.
In March 1603 he visited the court, and witnessed Queen Elizabeth I's last illness, which he described in his memoirs. Anxious to recommend himself to her successor James I, and disobeying the orders of the council, he started on horseback immediately after the Queen's death on the morning of 24 March 1603, in order to be the first to communicate the tidings to James, arrived at Holyrood late on 26 March, and was appointed by the King a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. But his conduct met with general disapproval and merited censure as "contrary to all decency, good manners and respect," and on James's arrival in England he was dismissed from his new post.
On 23 February 1605, however, he was made governor of Prince Charles. Carey's wife, Elizabeth Trevanion (not Aletta Hogenhove who was the wife of his nephew Sir Robert Carey), was responsible for the early training of the weak, stammering Charles. She taught the Prince, a late-developer, to walk and talk at the age of three, and was close to him throughout his life. Upon her husband's accession to the peerage, she became known as Dame Robert Carey, and is said to be the "Old Dame Dob" referred to in the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme, for her ministrations to the "bruised" King Charles I after his plan to raise revenue by lowering the volume of liquid in the jack (1/2 pint) and gill (1/4 pint) was foiled by publicans by simply making up the difference (up to the 1/2 pint line that is marked by a crown on pint glasses) with water.
In 1611, we was made the master of the robes to the Prince, in 1617 his Chamberlain, and on 6 February 1622, he was created Baron Carey of Leppington. In 1623 he followed Charles in his visit to Philip IV of Spain. Following Charles' succession to the throne Robert was created Earl of Monmouth in 1626. In 1621 he sat in Parliament for the last time as MP for Grampound.
He died on 12 April 1639. His eldest son by Elizabeth Trevannion, Henry Carey, 2nd Earl of Monmouth (born at Denham by Uxbridge in London, Jan 1596 –d.1661) succeeded him, and on his death without surviving male issue the peerage became extinct.
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Categories: Members of Parliament, England | Members of Parliament, Morpeth | Members of Parliament, Callington | Castle Cary, Somerset | Members of Parliament, Grampound | Members of Parliament, Northumberland | Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire | Leppington, East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire