Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
|Title||Earl of Leicester|
|Term||13 July 1626 – 2 November 1677|
|Children||Dorothy Spencer, Countess of Sunderland (1617–1684)|
Philip Sidney, 3rd Earl of Leicester (1619–1698)
Lord Algernon Sidney (1623–1683)
Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney (1641–1704)
Lord Robert Sidney
Lady Lucy Pelham
|Parent(s)||Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester|
Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1 December 1595 – 2 November 1677) was an English diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1614 and 1625 and then succeeded to the peerage as Earl of Leicester.
Sidney was born at Castle Barnard, County Durham, the son of Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, and his first wife, Barbara Gamage. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1610 he was created Knight of the Bath when Prince Henry was created Prince of Wales. He was elected Member of Parliament for Wilton in 1614.
Sidney served in the army in the Netherlands during his father's governorship of Flushing, and was given command of an English regiment in the Dutch service in 1616. In 1618 he became a member of Gray's Inn. He was elected MP for Kent in 1621. In 1624 he was elected MP for Monmouthshire. He was re-elected MP for Monmouthshire in 1625. In 1626, he succeeded his father as Earl of Leicester in 1626. In 1631, he began the construction of Leicester House, a huge mansion on the site of what is now Leicester Square in London. He was employed on diplomatic business in Denmark in 1632 and undertook further diplomatic work in France from 1636 to 1641.
Lord Leicester was then appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in place of The Earl of Strafford. When the governorship of Dublin became vacant, Leicester appointed George Monck. Charles I, however, overruled the appointment in favour of Lord Lambart. In 1643 he resigned without having set foot in Ireland.
Lord Leicester died at Penshurst at the age of nearly 81. He was "esteemed of great learning, observation and veracity". Sidney was a poet though his poems were not rediscovered until 1973. The notebook of sonnets is held at the British library and "is the longest autograph manuscript surviving from any poet of the Elizabethan period."  The poems were written circa 1597. Ben Jonson was a personal friend and wrote To Penshurst, celebrating the Sidney family home.
- Dorothy (1617–1683), married firstly Henry Spencer, 1st Earl of Sunderland (died 1643), and secondly Sir Robert Smith or Smythe.
- Philip (1619–1697), the 3rd Earl, married Lady Catherine Cecil, daughter of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury.
- Henry Sidney, 1st Earl of Romney (1641–1704), died unmarried and without issue.
- Algernon (1622/3–1683) executed for his share in the Rye House Plot, died unmarried and without issue.
- Robert, died young.
- Lucy (d. 1685), married Sir John Pelham, 3rd Baronet.
Philip and Algernon supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War.
- W R Williams Parliamentary History of the Principality of Wales
- Hay, M.V., 1984, The Life of Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, Folger Books
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Leicester, Robert Sidney, Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 392.
- Michael G. Brennan (2005). The Sidneys of Penshurst and the monarchy, 1500–1700, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-5060-X, 9780754650607. pp. 140–149
|Parliament of England|
Sir Thomas Edmondes
| Member of Parliament for Wilton
With: Thomas Morgan
Henry Nevill, 9th Baron Bergavenny
Sir Thomas Tracy
Sir Peter Manwood
Sir Thomas Walsingham
| Member of Parliament for Kent
With: Sir George Fane
Sir Edwin Sandys
Sir Edmund Morgan
| Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire
With: Sir William Morgan
The Earl of Strafford
| Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
The Marquess of Ormonde
The Earl of Pembroke
| Custos Rotulorum of Kent
|Peerage of England|
| Earl of Leicester