A definitive portrait of one of the most compelling monarchs England has ever had: Elizabeth I.
'We are a prince from a line of princes.'
Lisa Hilton's majestic biography of Elizabeth I, 'The Virgin Queen', uses new research to present a fresh interpretation of Elizabeth as a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince, delivering a very different perspective on her emotional and sexual life, and upon her attempts to mould England into a European state. Elizabeth was not an exceptional woman but an exceptional ruler, and this book challenges readers to reassess her reign, and the colourful drama, scandal and intrigue to which it is always linked.
British novelist and historian Hilton (The Horror of Love) argues that Queen Elizabeth I's virginity is the least interesting fact about her, and that her intellect matters far more. According to Hilton, Elizabeth consciously melded both her feminine and masculine qualities into an enormously successful example of an effective and often Machiavellian Renaissance "prince." In Hilton's account, Elizabeth loses much of her famed temper; the Tudor royal's occasional tantrums are recast as part of a calculated and long-reaching plan. While Elizabeth certainly took the long view, it's still unlikely that her rages were actually all strategy. But as part statesman, part coquette, and sometime arms dealer to the East, Elizabeth ably channeled her assets of wise counsel, oratorical skill, strong will, and diplomatic nous to strengthen her contested claim to the throne. In addition to providing ample context for Elizabeth's high-stakes decisions, Hilton also describes the nuances of Protestant sects and the ever-shifting relationships between the contemporary European monarchs that required England's full attention. In this focused, well-researched biography, Hilton transforms an irreverent, centuries-old vision of a "bewigged farthingale with a mysterious sex life" into a resolute, steel-spined survivor who far surpassed Henry VII's wildest hopes for his new dynasty.