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 artifacts, 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 colonization 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.
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 specializing in the First World War.
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