Elizabeth I has probably been more written about even than Elizabeth II and given the length of time between the two reigns, this is nothing short of remarkable.
The portrait on the cover of Lisa Hill’s biography signals that the book puts Elizabeth in a different light from most studies of her.
This is not a portrait of a young, beautiful and confident ruler, richly garbed in fashionable brocades and even richer jewels. This is an older, more thoughtful Elizabeth, her facial expression masculine, rather than feminine.
Lisa Hilton argues that the queen saw herself as a Renaissance Prince – very much a product of the Age of Enlightenment . A monarch of course, but royalty mattered more than gender. She famously claimed: “Although I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, I have the heart and stomach of a King, and a King of England too.’’ – in the 21st century, she would be trans gender.
This is a very comprehensive study of a legendary queen at the head of a legendary court, with its plots and intrigues, its scandals, both political and sexual, murder and mayhem. While presenting Elizabeth as all powerful and princely, Lisa Hilton does not neglect the cruelly fascinating environment in which she lived and ruled and loved. Her book is a lengthy read, so packed with material both old and new, that the reader’s interest is sustained throughout.