The relation of the magnificence of my lord Somerset’s marriage is too large to be here inserted. (John More to William Trumbull, 7 January 1614)

There was never the like bravery and vanity seen as hath been the most part of all these unholy days. (Sir John Throckmorton to William Trumbull, 11 January 1614)1

The ambivalence expressed by the diplomat William Trumbull’s correspondents about the marriage of the royal favourite Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset and Frances Howard, Countess of Essex and its celebrations has persisted. Over seven days between 26 December 1613 and 6 January 1614 Campion’s Somerset Masque, Jonson’s Challenge at Tilt, At a Marriage, and his Irish Masque at Court, the anonymous Masque o f Flowers, sponsored by Francis Bacon (perhaps partwritten by Thomas Bushell) and Middleton’s (lost) Masque o f Cupids were all performed. The specific political and cultural tensions caused by the Carr-Howard nuptials have, however, been overshadowed by later events - notably the sensational trial in 1615 of the Earl and Countess of Somerset for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, which confirmed contemporary rumours that their relationship had been adulterous.