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Elizabeth 1: The People's Queen?Elizabeth 1: The People's Queen?

Liz Woodhouse

  • Historical Fiction

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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.


A different window on the first half of the famous Queen's life. Elizabeth I is a historical novel narrated by the three women who knew her best (real figures from history), Lady Margaret Bryan, Kat Ashley and Lady Catherine Knollys. Their unique, backstage angle on Elizabeth's story brings to vivid life the dramatic and dangerous period of the Tudors. Elizabeth's formative years left harsh scars, but at 25 she reached the throne, to great rejoicing. Then came the sting in the tail: incredibly, she (the last Tudor) refused to marry and provide vital heirs. Her country dreaded the likely outcome of civil war after her death. But, selfishly, the Queen put her private fears above her crucial public duty. Liz Woodhouse's novel unfolds over the first half of Elizabeth's life, ending as she is 35 when a fearful desolation hangs over the court because of her refusal to marry - a sharp contrast with her usual image today as Gloriana and Good Queen Bess. Illuminating the emotional journey from a constrained upbringing to a young Queen under siege to secure the line, Elizabeth I is an engrossing historical read that will appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison W

About the Author

Liz Woodhouse I was born in 1940. After a Cambridge degree in Classics I ran a Benefit Office in Soho, where nearly all our female claimants were in Show Business! Later I worked in the Ministry of Agriculture. I brought up three children, and taught English to foreigners. I was a J.P. for twenty-one years. I’ve attended a Creative Writing Class.

Book info

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272 pages


Liz Woodhouse


Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing

Publication date

1st November 2012