Elizabeth I and Her Circle

Elizabeth I and Her Circle

Elizabeth I and Her Circle

Elizabeth I and Her Circle

Synopsis

This is the inside story of Elizabeth I's inner circle and the crucial human relationships which lay at the heart of her personal and political life. Using a wide range of original sources - including private letters, portraits, verse, drama, and state papers - Susan Doran provides a vivid and often dramatic account of political life in Elizabethan England and the queen at its centre, offering a deeper insight into Elizabeth's emotional and political conduct - and challenging many of the popular myths that have grown up around her. It is a story replete with fascinating questions. What was the true nature of Elizabeth's relationship with her father, Henry VIII, especially after his execution of her mother? What was the influence of her step-mothers on Elizabeth's education and religious beliefs? How close was she really to herhalf-brother Edward VI - and were relations with her half-sister Mary really as poisonous as is popularly assumed? And what of her relationship with her Stewart cousins, most famously with Mary Queen of Scots, executed on Elizabeth's orders in 1587, but also with Mary's son James VI of Scotland, later to succeed Elizabeth as her chosen successor? Elizabeth's relations with her family were crucial, but almost as crucial were her relations with her courtiers and her councillors (her "men of business"). Here again, the story unravels a host of fascinating questions. Was the queen really sexually jealous of her maids of honour? What does herlong and intimate relationship with the Earl of Leicester reveal about her character, personality, and attitude to marriage? What can the fall of Essex tell us about Elizabeth's political management in the final years of her reign? And what was the true nature of her personal and political relationship with influential and long-serving councillors such as the Cecils and Sir Francis Walsingham?

Excerpt

This book is about relationships: the personal and political relationships of Queen Elizabeth I with the men and women in her circle: her ‘near’ family, some of her most favoured courtiers, and leading privy councillors. Embedded in the interactions between the queen and these individuals lie some riveting stories that have fired the imagination of later novelists, dramatists, and film-makers, and have been largely responsible for the manifold popular images of the queen, whether the frustrated virgin, ruthless politician, brilliant ruler, or vain queen bee. Equally important, Elizabeth’s relationships were pivotal to the substance and style of national political life in her reign. Sixteenth-century monarchical government operated through the interplay of individual personalities rather than through bureaucratic institutions and structures. Therefore, only by studying the nature, contexts, and contemporary representations of Elizabeth’s relationships can we begin to understand the high politics and culture of her reign; and high politics impacts upon popular politics and, indeed, on everyday life.

Other books purporting to be about Elizabeth’s relationships offer a biographical and chronological history of her life and reign. Here, I choose a thematic structure, devoting each chapter to the queen’s communications and interactions with an individual or a group of men and women who were key figures within her circle. This approach produces new and multiple perspectives on the reign: we learn not only about how the queen related to her kin, courtiers, and councillors but also how they viewed and dealt with her. Each chapter tells its own story, but to avoid repetition there is cross-referencing in the notes from one story to another. I have also produced a timeline of key political and international events for easy reference.

Elizabeth’s kin is the subject of Part 1. As will be seen in Chapter 1, her parents and siblings were significant in affecting the course of her early life, moulding her character, and influencing her policies and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.