Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics

Sarah Gristwood, Author . Viking $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-01828-4

What was the exact nature of the relationship between Elizabeth Tudor and her favorite, Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester? And how did this relationship affect Elizabeth's actions as monarch? Gristwood (Arbella: England's Lost Queen ) rightly revises the image of Leicester from the queen's preening and clownish lapdog to a fiercely ambitious political animal, warrior, landowner, philanthropist and patriot with clear policies of his own. Gristwood shows us a fierce champion of Protestantism, theater, medicine and exploration, and a major force at Oxford, where he was chancellor. Leicester wielded considerable influence over Elizabeth, who shared his hardheaded practicality and reverence for tradition; they also shared the gruesome fact that they each had a parent beheaded for treason. Gristwood ponders whether Elizabeth ordered the murder of Leicester's gravely ill wife. And she questions whether Elizabeth was only technically a virgin, whether she and Leicester practiced a form of chaste courtly love or whether Arthur Dudley, accused by Spain of espionage in 1587, was really the pair's illegitimate son. This vigorous, valuable and richly detailed study sheds welcome light on the psyche of a great stateswoman whose bending of traditional gender roles continues to tantalize. Illus. (Nov. 5)

Reviewed on: 09/03/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-553-81786-7
Paperback - 407 pages - 978-0-14-311449-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 416 pages - 978-1-4406-0935-0
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4406-0934-3
Hardcover - 407 pages - 978-0-593-05600-4
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