Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Life of Elizabeth

The Life of Elizabeth is a non-fiction book which explores the life of the infamous Queen Elizabeth I who was only two years old when her father Henry VIII killed her mother, Anne Boleyn, because she had not yet produced a male heir. Alison Weir covers the time period from her birth in 1533 to 1603 and enlightens us on her heritage and family relations. Elizabeth I was often referred to as The Virgin Queen which Weir explains is because she was one of the only English monarchs who did not get married. This was certainly unexpected: she could easily have had her choice of husbands, and the Privy Council and her closest advisors constantly begged her to marry. As a result of her aversion to matrimony, she began to be called the "Virgin Queen".

Because Elizabeth was both husbandless and childless, to overthrow her would be to gain immediate control of the throne; plots against her proliferated. Most involved replacing her with Mary Queen of Scots, a Catholic member of the Stuart line but by the end James VI of Scotland was named as her successor. However, Elizabeth's journey to become queen was not an easy one. During Mary's reign Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. In 1588, Elizabeth succeeded her half sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel. Elizabeth quickly consolidated power and returned the country to Protestantism. During her rule she was rumoured to have been involved in some scandalous affairs due to her distaste in marriage but despite many difficulties she prevailed and was marked in History as a virtuous ruler. M A H

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