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Queen Elizabeth I (Hardback)

Life and Legacy of the Virgin Queen

Military > Frontline Books P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History Photographic Books Women of History

By Paul Kendall
Frontline Books
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 160 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399018357
Published: 30th September 2022

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The forty-four-year reign of Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and the last Tudor monarch, was considered a golden age. It saw the emergence of the great playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, while the exploits of Sir Francis Drake and other ‘sea-dogs’ helped establish England’s position among the great maritime powers.

This book looks at Elizabeth’s life through some of the many artefacts, buildings, documents and institutions that survive to this day. From the execution of her mother, Ann Boleyn, when she was just two-and-a-half-years-old, to her imprisonment on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels, Elizabeth’s early life was a turbulent one, but her accession to the throne ushered in a period of stability.

During her reign, England’s wealth and prestige grew through her patronage of seafaring privateers such as Drake, John Hawkins and Walter Raleigh. She encouraged the exploration and colonialization of North America, marking the birth of the British Empire and the establishment of British trade routes. Elizabeth was responsible for expanding the English Navy, its defeat of the Spanish Armada being considered one of England’s greatest military victories.

In this magnificently illustrated book we see her birthplace at Greenwich Palace, her childhood homes, her prison in the Tower of London, the palaces she lived in, ruins of stately homes she visited, such as Gorhambury House, Kenilworth House, Upnor Castle and the Elizabethan town walls at Berwick, the many fortifications built during her reign to defend her realm, through to her final resting place in Westminster Abbey.

Also found in this fascinating volume are books that she presented to her father and step-mother, Katherine Parr, with the binding embroidered by Elizabeth, her clothes, letters she wrote in her own hand, her coronation chair, her coat of arms asserting her title as Governor of the Church of England and her signature signing the death warrant of her cousin, the 4th Duke of Norfolk. This book is not just a journey back in time to the reign of Elizabeth I, but also a tour across the country to visit the sites which still evoke that golden era of the Virgin Queen.

This is so well written. It is so informative and has been well researched.
The writing style makes it a very engaging book.

NetGalley, Tracey Hewitt

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I learned a lot from this book. Except for movies, I wasn't quite sure about the details of Elizabeth's reign. This book was very interesting.

NetGalley, Cynthia Guerra

Just north of London is the town of Hatfield. Located there, and seen from the East Coast Mainline is Hatfield House. I see it whenever I'm traveling north on the train. It’s where Queen Elizabeth I was told she was queen following the death of her half-sister, Mary. I wanted to know what other locations had a connection to the “Virgin Queen” so I sought this book with a view of discovering those places I could visit on my frequent trips to England.

Paul Kendall introduces his book with a discussion about the impact Her Majesty had on her country. What was it like when she ascended to the throne, and what was the state of it when she died? We know she never married and, therefore, didn’t leave an apparent heir. What she did leave, however, was a vast legacy and a lasting impact not only on the country but on the known world at the time.

One hundred locations and objects are included here, many of which I didn’t know about prior to reading. They are listed in roughly chronological order, including people connected to Elizabeth and/or the Armada. Surprisingly, an abolition of slavery memorial in Puerto Rico is included. I say surprising because I learned here that the Queen supported a privateer involved in the trading of slaves. The Elizabethan era was when the slave trade took off in England. But is the only monument on the subject? Are there not any in England? There are also statues of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. Whatever we think of them now, they are – for good or bad – part of Elizabeth’s life story.

Not every entry in the book is connected to a place, however. There are many works of art and pieces of jewelry included, and their locations are seldom included. If they’re on public display I’d have been interested in knowing where we could see them. The object entries also reminded me of the Travel Channel series Mysteries at the Museum. in that the narrative wasn’t necessarily about the actual object.

Queen Elizabeth I: Life and Legacy of the Virgin Queen is an interesting book you can easily read and digest in small bites. Got ten minutes? That’s plenty of time to read one or more of the entries. I added 18 places to my to-visit list, although that could’ve easily been more given that I already had some listed and the objects didn’t always have a location attached.

NetGalley, Sally McCombs

It’s an absolutely fascinating take on Elizabeth’s life and reign through the things that she interacted with, some on a daily basis.

Read the Full Review Here

Tudor Blogger

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author did a great job with the research, and there were a lot of things that I have not heard. So you might want to check it out if you are interested in their period.

NetGalley, Heather Michael

Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of an informative Introduction, a seven page Bibliography, and a four page Index, "Queen Elizabeth I: Life and Legacy of the Virgin Queen" is an impressive contribution to the study of Elizabethan England in general, and Quen Elizabeth I in particular. Particularly and strongly recommended for community, college, and university library Historical English Royalty Biography collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating story of a queen who deserves a book like this to be written about her.

NetGalley, Aisha Bari

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Maybe it was the death of Queen Elizabeth II that cause the subject of this book to interest me. I like reading history but I knew almost nothing about this particular period in time. It seems
Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boylen. Just that fact alone was enough to keep me reading. The early part of the book is about the turmoil going on even before Elizabeth was born. In my opinion, most of the problems Elizabeth had to deal with throughout her life was the result of her evil father, Henry VIII. Because of him, she was motherless at a very early age. Religion was a big deal and her father created divisions in the entire country that she had to deal with. So she hanged a few people and some heads rolled while she ruled. She was her father's daughter, after all.
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. I learned a lot while I was enjoying it. Anytime you can enjoy learning, you have to recommend the book.

NetGalley, Alice Dixon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What an amazing biography! Every time I picked up "Queen Elizabeth I", I was whisked back in time, and learned something new about Queen Elizabeth I, as well as about the Elizabethan Era in general.

Paul Kendall brilliantly brings history to life, and it jumps off of the page! I found the format of this book really interesting, and it was so intriguing to see how Mr. Kendall connected the information in each chapter to specific photos, historic artifacts, letters, locations, etc. I can only imagine how much time Mr. Kendall put into researching for this book, as the Elizabethan Era came to life before my eyes, and I found this biography hard to put down.

Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who was his second wife. From a young age, she survived many dangers, and became queen at the age of twenty-five. Her reign lasted 44 years, and this book delves into much about of her life, times, and contemporaries.

If you enjoy learning about Queen Elizabeth I and Elizabethan times, I definitely recommend this biography! The Tudor and Elizabethan Eras are two of my favorite time periods to study, and I learned so much reading this book. I can't wait to do more research on my own as well!

NetGalley, Ashley Maimes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So insightful and engaging….. This book looks at Elizabeth’s life through some of the many artefacts, buildings, documents and institutions that survive to this day.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really appreciated the format of this nonfiction book. Each chapter concisely discusses an aspect of Elizabeth's life and/or reign. A quick summary precedes a more thorough discussion. Photos and drawings illustrate the topic. The short chapter format makes information easy to find, read, and understand.
This is a great resource for anyone interested in the Tudor Period.

NetGalley, Claudia Ratay

Kendall has included a detailed comments on the illustrative work, as well as additional information and explanation in the text which links the historical evidence from the graphics to broader historical events and ideas; notes for each chapter; and a solid bibliography... This is not just a book of photos, or text with illustrations. It is a book that takes relevant, well-chosen photos and illustrations that are finely selected to tell a story. The story they tell is engrossing.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was thrilled to be able to read this.
The subject is endlessly fascinating to me.
The level of research here is off the scale and much appreciated by me.

If you have any interest in the Tudors this is a fantastic read.

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge Tudor history fan, especially when it comes to Queen Elizabeth I. Therefore, I found great pleasure in reading this book. Paul Kendall presents the reader with 100 places and objects associated with Elizabeth I, giving a brief profile and images for each entry. One thing in particular that I learned was that William Camden wrote the very first biography of her life, just after her death. That is something I never knew until reading this book... I loved reading this. I feel this is a worthy addition to the vast library of Tudor books already in existence. Most definitely a must read for any fan of Tudor history or royal history.

NetGalley, Mariama Thorlu-Bangura

As with anything having to do with English royals throughout time, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. While I know the ins and outs of Queen Elizabeth I's life, this book was decidedly refreshing to have pictures of the locations for many of the queen's events. There are also copies of letters and images of coins from the era. This was a nice addition to a book about the "virgin queen" and made the familiar material seem fresh.

NetGalley, Jennifer Jacobson Carew

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A solid biography of Elizabeth I, covering her entire life in detail from beginning to end.

In this biography, as we move through her life from birth to death, each chapter centers around a place or object from her life, such as Traitor's Gate, where she was brought to the Tower by her suspicious sister Mary I in 1554, Queen Elizabeth's Oak Tree, an oak tree planted by Elizabeth II to commemorate the oak Elizabeth I was standing underneath when she received word she was now queen in 1558, and a gold medal made to celebrate Elizabeth I's recovery from smallpox in 1562.

These places and objects all help to make Elizabeth feel more real and relatable.

A great biography of Elizabeth I.

NetGalley, Kara Race-Moore

Queen Elizabeth I adds to the wide body of literature about this Tudor Queen. Primary sources are the cornerstone of Kendall's biography and the book has some lovely illustrations.
Kendall examines and analyses the books that Elizabeth gave to her father, Henry The VIII and his last wife Katherine Parr.
Telling her story through the items still available is enjoyable and is not the usual information that is standard in so many books.

Elizabeth was quite a Queen and this is quite a book.

NetGalley, Beth Emmerling

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There is no dearth of biographies of Queen Elizabeth I. I read them all, before my interests began shifting from England ever eastward. It's been a few decades since I read one, but when this one turned up on NetGalley, I went for it.

So glad I did.

There's nothing new in the text for any reader familiar with the Tudors or the times they existed in. This book offers two things that the biographies of my day didn't: first, the approach, which is akin to that Paula Byrne took in her book on Jane Austen, A Life in Small Things>. Kendall uses places and objects from Elizabeth's life to stitch together small, factual chapters that added together convey a terrific overview of her life. If the reader wants more depth, there's an impressive bibliography at the back.

The second thing I appreciated was something often overlooked in the histories I read, many of which were written in the early or mid twentieth century (sometimes earlier): a more balanced view of Drake and Elizabeth's condoning of piracy, which did fill her coffers as well as bolster England's prestige. Kendall doesn't shy away from shining light on the cost, paid not just by the Spanish (who were busy looting South America themselves) but that paved path toward colonization and slavery. These aspects were pretty much overlooked, or explained away, in earlier works that trumpeted Drake's heroism and England's rise to empire.

I think the idea reader for this book is someone unfamiliar with the times, and also younger readers wanting a glimpse of the people who made history

NetGalley, Sherwood Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How fascinating that some of the artefacts and buildings that concern Queen Elizabeth I still exist today. And what a wonderful idea to use those artefacts and buildings to tell the story of this most iconic of queens. I read this book in almost one sitting. Pretty engrossing! I liked the clear and well-written overview (with interesting details) of her life and times and of the people who played a big part in her life.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if I could go back to the UK and see some of those things she left behind and also revisit places like Westminster’s Abbey and Hampton Court!

5 stars from me. Really enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Flora Fung

About Paul Kendall

Educated at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, where he also served as an Honorary Midshipman with the University of London Royal Naval Unit, PAUL KENDALL is a military historian and author from Kent specialising in the First World War.

Elizabeth I aged 25, ascends the English throne upon death of her half sister, Queen "Bloody" Mary

17th November 1558

Daughter of Henry VIII and the last of the Tudor monarchs, Elizabeth I ruled England and Ireland from 1558 till her death in 1603.


Queen Elizabeth I of England signs death warrant for her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots

1st February 1587

Queen Elizabeth I of England signs death warrant for her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots


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