Elizabeth 1: The People's Queen?
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Why I wrote this book
I’ve always been drawn to the Tudors – and I’m not alone in that! One reason for their fascination must be the heavy toll of dramatic deaths. Another, I think, is that women played an unusually prominent role.
Many authors have written about Elizabeth, but this book sees her from an entirely new angle. It is told, in turn, by the three real women closest to her. They are not well-known to history, but here they step onto centre-stage to share their memories of the child and Queen they knew so well. The reader will get to understand and appreciate them for themselves too.
The other striking feature of this tale is that it sees Elizabeth as a failed Queen rather than a successful one. She is not the Good Queen Bess or Gloriana of her later years. The book ends when she is 35 and her selfish and incredible refusal to marry and produce heirs has left her people facing a frightening vacuum. I can certainly sympathize with the emotional scars of Elizabeth’s life before she came to the throne. But I still can’t acquit her of her stubborn failure to try to have children! With the succession unsecured, the risk of civil war hung over England then.
A footnote: A few years ago I was struck by seeing a photo of Elizabeth’s ring at Chequers. It contains miniature portraits of herself and Anne Boleyn. The execution of Anne Boleyn has always rankled with me, so I was thrilled to see that her daughter had kept her picture! An undercurrent of this novel has been a protest at the cruel injustice suffered by Anne Boleyn.