Biographers do not refer to anyone ' close' to Shakespeare, although many do point to his 'friendships', initially with Christopher Marlowe, and latterly, Richard Burbage. Marlowe was murdered in 1593. Burbage came to prominence after William Knell, the juvenile lead of the Queen's Men, was killed in a street fight in 1587. This act pushed Burbage in to the limelight, fortunately at a time that Shakespeare was coming to the fore, making Burbage the actor that all London flocked to see, next to Edward Alleyn of the Admiral's Men. Shakespeare wrote almost exclusively for the Queen's Men, giving Burbage the opportunity to play all the great roles he invented, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, etc, even Romeo, a 15 year old boy! Burbage married, and produced little Burbages! And as Shakespeare was away from Stratford, he may well have spent a lot more time than is considered in Burbages company. Today, we do not celebrate Christian feast days for instance. In Shakespeare's time, they were of great importance to the state, (even though a Protestant state,) and, as Shakespeare was supposedly a Roman Catholic, he would have observed such feast days and celebrated them. He would also have recognised the new king, James Stuart, and, having been honoured by becoming part of the king's retinue, would have seen far more ceremony than the average man, and therefore would have needed somebody to, 'show him the ropes', as it were. This could have been a minor courtier of the King's entourage, a boy perhaps. So, Shakespeare may well have had a number of 'close friends', in and out of court, but nobody remembered to write about it!