Queen Elizabeth

The history of a woman who rose above and beyond tragedy, grief, and personal loss to become one of the most powerful figures in sixteenth-century Europe is wonderfully told in this biography Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott.

Beginning with the tragic circumstances of Elizabeth’s mother, the lovely and doomed Anne Boleyn’s execution, and Henry VIII’s dissolution of the English Catholic Church, the story of Elizabeth’s rise to power is reflective of England’s domination of world politics as well. As a three-year-old, the young Elizabeth was destined to be raised as an orphan while her authoritarian, lustful, and forceful father took on several more wives and created a new Church in England. He was survived by three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, all by different wives and greatly separated from each other in age, upbringing, politics, and faith.

Elizabeth was imprisoned as a traitor for several years by her sister Mary, who feared that she may claim the throne. Elizabeth had to wait till her older sister Mary died, to be crowned Queen. Her early reign was marked by intense political turmoil, palace intrigues, wars, religious strife, and opposition. She also had to contend with numerous claimants to the throne, including the lovely and tragic Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Jane Grey, and many others.

However, the masterful handling of the complex situations that confronted a young and solitary woman, the way she dealt with the powerful heads of state in Europe, her long list of admirers and suitors, and the admiration and awe she evoked in her courtiers are all told in compelling detail in Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s insistence on remaining the Virgin Queen was as much a political move as a personal choice. She suffered no lack of suitors or lovers, but kept them all guessing! Her long reign was marked by immense peace, prosperity, and wise administration. The horrible religious and sectarian wars that had consumed earlier monarchies were stilled as England began to monopolize the world stage. Her own devious plots and schemes to retain power, her ruthless elimination of her enemies, her unsurpassed vanity and jealousy and her violent temper, and her fondness for ceremonies, pomp, and fanfare are all documented in Queen Elizabeth. She remains one of the most famous yet most enigmatic figures in history.

Published first in 1849, the original text had many charming engravings that illustrated the main events and characters. Jacob Abbott was well-known for his biographies and children’s literature.

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