Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her by Robert Stephen Parry
Posted By Book Reviewer on September 12, 2023
This was the ideal book to take on my recent holiday – it was Tudor history but it was a book you could dip into and it was light-hearted, so not at all heavy or academic.
Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her is described as “a series of biographical sketches from the Elizabethan court”, but it is so much more than that. It is a wonderful blend of fiction and non-fiction. It is hard to explain (you’ll just have to read it), but it is told from the viewpoint of a man who has been on a retreat many years before to an Elizabethan property. There, he was treated to a series of lectures and vignettes by a Dr Dejon. These lectures were on Elizabeth I and the men who were important during her life and reign: Henry VIII, Thomas Seymour, Robert Dudley, John Dee, the Duke of Alençon, Christopher Hatton, Walter Raleigh, William Cecil and Robert Devereux. A “biographical sketch” gives details of the man’s relationship with Elizabeth and then a fictional vignette brings the man to life in an encounter with the queen. This format worked really well and I really enjoyed the vignettes. Each man is also given a “Totally Frivolous Five-Star Tudor Rose Rating”, which injects some more fun into the book. There are also chapters on “the qualities of an Elizabethan courtier” and whether Elizabeth really was a virgin queen, along with a handy graphic/timeline to show how these men fitted into Elizabeth’s life and reign.
What I loved about the book was the air of mystery, combined with the light-hearted style. The lectures are “transcribed” as if they really happened (did they? I’m not sure!) along with Dr Dejon’s greetings and his warnings about ghosts and bumps in the night etc. It really is a history book with a difference and I loved it.
The Elizabethan golden age was peopled by a court of flamboyant and devoted men – each one unique, ambitious and talented. At its centre was a woman, Elizabeth, the Tudor princess who succeeded to the throne of England in 1558 and who vowed to her Parliament to remain unwed and a Virgin Queen for the rest of her life. How did such a diverse group of red-blooded men view their ‘Gloriana?’ What were their aims and intentions? What were their dreams? And just how did Elizabeth manage to control and manipulate them? A unique blend of fact and fiction brings the Elizabethan court and its inhabitants to life in an evocative series of biographical sketches that will inform and entertain in equal measure.
Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2 Jun 2014)
ASIN US: B00LG6WD9S (This is my affiliate link for Amazon.com and I may receive a small payment if you buy the book through this link).
Available as a paperback and Kindle book at Amazon.com and Amazon UK.
Originally posted on July 15, 2014