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Elizabeth I's Final Years (Hardback)

Her Favourites and Her Fighting Men

P&S History Women of History Tudors & Stuarts Royal History

By Robert Stedall
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 328
Illustrations: 25 mono
ISBN: 9781399083157
Published: 11th May 2022


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Elizabeth I's Final Years outlines the interwoven relationships and rivalries between politicians and courtiers surrounding England’s omnipotent queen in the years following the death in 1588 of the Earl of Leicester. Elizabeth now surrounded herself with magnetically attractive younger men with the courtly graces to provide her with what Alison Weir has called ‘an eroticised political relationship’.

With these ‘favourites’ holding sway at court, they saw personal bravery in the tiltyard or on military exploits as their means to political authority. They failed to appreciate that the parsimonious queen would always resist military aggression and resolutely backed her meticulously cautious advisors, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, and later his son Robert.

With its access to New World treasure, it was Spain who threatened the fragile balance of power in Continental Europe. With English military intervention becoming inevitable, the Cecils diverted the likes of Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Essex, despite their lack of military experience, away from the limelight at court into colonial and military expeditions, leaving them just short of the resources needed for success. The favourites’ promotions caused friction when seasoned soldiers, like Sir Francis Vere with his unparalleled military record in the Low Countries, were left in subordinate roles.

When Spanish support for rebellion in Ireland threatened English security, Robert Cecil encouraged Elizabeth to send Essex, knowing that high command was beyond his capabilities. Essex retorted by rebelling against Cecil’s government, for which he lost his head.

Both Elizabeth and Cecil realised that only the bookish Lord Mountjoy, another favourite, had the military acumen to resolve the Irish crisis, but his mistress, Essex’s sister, the incomparable Penelope Rich, was mired by involvement in her brother’s conspiracy. Despite this, Cecil gave Mountjoy unstinting support, biding his time to tarnish his name with James I, as he did against Raleigh and his other political foes.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a fascinating book about the end of life and time's of Elizabeth I. The information in this book has been very thoroughly researched and is presented in a clear and readable manner.

I really enjoyed reading about Elisabeth I's history. I was always fascinated about the life of the amazing women who lived long time ago, and this book didn't disappoint.

I recommend this book for all of you history lovers, especially the ones fascinated with strong women who live long ago.

NetGalley, Adna Fazlibasic

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book tells the oft overlooked story of Elizabeth’s last years. It is well researched and well written with each scheming courtier being well portrayed. The period was extraordinarily complex but the author here makes sense of it and communicates it in a engaging way. I highly recommend.

NetGalley, Rebecca B

The author has gone into so much detail that it is obvious the amount of research that has been done. Having read so many books on the era of Elizabeth I , I have to ask myself a question. Did I learn anything new from this book. The answer for this one is a big yes.

NetGalley, Catherine Harrold

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very informative and highly recommend! Great research on the author's part and would read again!

NetGalley, Heather Michael

A fascinating look at the end of the life and times of Elizabeth I.

We read about her decline in her latter years although she is still able and one step ahead. She faces decisions about the Armada, Irish problems, and unrest at home with the succession.. At the time of her demise, she is alone without her favourites and courtly love. The information has been thoroughly researched and is presented in a clear and readable manner.


About Robert Stedall

Throughout his adult life Robert Stedall has been fascinated by genealogy. He is the curator of the popular www.maryqueenofscots.net and author of The Challenge to the Crown and The Survival of the Crown, a ground-breaking two-volume history of Mary Queen of Scots and her son, James VI of Scotland. He has written Mary Queen of Scots’ DownfallThe Roots of Ireland’s Troubles and Elizabeth I’s Secret Lover for Pen and Sword.

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Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe, she ruled at the conception of social modernisation, living in the shadow of the infamy of her parents' reputations and striving to prove herself an equal to the monarchs who had gone before her. This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life, both before and after she ascended the English throne in late 1558. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life,…

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