Though in a sense the product of many years' study of Elizabethan history, this biography has been written for a particular occasion and a particular public. The occasion is the fourth centenary of Queen Elizabeth's birth; the public is the body of lay men and women interested in a great historical personality. I have therefore removed the elaborate scaffolding of documentary authority used in the construction of the book. Some readers will no doubt regret the absence of references and apparatus criticus. I am conscious that it limits the usefulness of the work in one direction, but hope that it will extend it in another.
Elizabeth's life-story is notorious for its bewildering problems. Even among scholars, whose judgment, through long familiarity with the strange, deceptive idiom of sixteenth-century history, commands respect, there is room for difference of opinion. I can only say that I believe in the solutions adopted in this book. They are honest and considered judgments based upon careful study of the original authorities and reflection on the views of other writers. For bibliographical guidance the reader is referred to Dr. Conyers Read's Bibliography of British History, Tudor Period, the publication of which saves me from occupying space with a very lengthy list of books.
It remains to express my warm thanks to those friends who in many ways--and not least in bearing with an overdose of "Elizabeth" in conversation--have helped me with my work. I am indebted especially to Professor R. W. Chambers and Dr. Ing. I can best thank my wife for her unstinted help by remarking that I now understand why a wife almost always figures in a preface. I once thought it convention!
J. E. NEALE
University College, London . . .