This paper will explore William Davison’s mission to the Low Countries in autumn 1585, following the treaty of Nonsuch. It will be argued that, despite his relatively junior rank, Davison acted as de facto interim governor, as he was responsible for political, financial and military matters – much the same remit as his patron and successor, the Earl of Leicester, though without his full powers. Davison’s success in this complex role contributed to his appointment as principal secretary the following year. Ultimately, this paper will reveal the extent of diplomats’ authority, and their importance in both shaping and implementing foreign policy.
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