Elizabeth I was Queen of England for almost forty-five years. The daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, as an infant she was briefly accepted as her father’s heir. After her mother was executed at her father’s command she was declared illegitimate and led a sometimes scandalous existence until her accession to the throne at the age of twenty-five. Elizabeth oversaw a vibrant age of exploration and literature and established herself, the "Virgin Queen", a national icon that lives on in the popular imagination. But Elizabeth was England’s second female monarch, and was greatly influenced by the experiences and mistakes of the reign of her half-sister, Mary I, before her. During her reign, Elizabeth had to perform a complicated balancing act in religious matters. As religious wars raged in Europe, Elizabeth herself a moderate Protestant, had to manage an inherited Catholic realm and the demands of zealous Protestants. The importance of such familiar features of Elizabeth’s reign as the presence in England of Mary Queen of Scots and her enduring efforts to take the throne, the Spanish armada, and the origins of English colonial expansion beyond the British archipelago all receive fresh attention in this engaging book. This new biography sheds light on Elizabeth’s early life, influences and on her personal religious beliefs as well as examining her reign, politics and reassesses Elizabeth’s reluctance to marry, a matter for which she has been much praised, but which is here judged one of the second queen regnant’s more problematic decisions. Judith M. Richards takes an objective and rounded view of Elizabeth’s whole life and provides the perfect introduction for students and general readers alike.
'A marvellously no-nonsense biography of Elizabeth I, avoiding the temptations both of adulation and enmity. In the process of recounting the life, Richards supplies a serious and reliable political history of the reign, but one enlivened throughout with incident, wit and insight.' - Professor Peter Marshall, University of Warwick, UK
'In sum, this is a useful book that could safely be assigned students who need a brief, accurate, well-written account of Elizabeth I. It is not long on detail, but it is rich in observation.' - Norman Jones, Utah State University in Anglican and Episcopal History
'Judith Richards's Elizabeth I [is] a balanced overview that fulfills the Routledge Historical Biographies series aim to provide "concise, accessible introductions to key historical figures." … Richards's book is clearly and accessibly written, and Elizabeth I joins the ranks of other good introductory sourveys of this famous English queen.'
Carole Levin and Andrea Nichols in Sixteenth Century Journal
List of Plates. Acknowledgement. Introduction. Chapter 1: Elizabeth, briefly Princess of England. Chapter 2: From suspect ‘second person’ to Queen of England. Chapter 3: Establishing the new reign. Chapter 4: Mary Queen of Scots, the English succession and other problems, 1563-7. Chapter 5: the queen and her realm mid-reign. Chapter 6: Old problems and new in the queen’s middle years. Chapter 7: Killing a queen and facing invasion 1585-9. Chapter 8: An ageing queen and the difficult later years of her reign. Chapter 9: Elizabeth’s final years. Chapter 10: What can be known of Elizabeth I?