The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.

  By Dawn
  Category: Early Modern Era
The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.
By Christopher Hibbert.

The Virgin Queen is a biographical account of the life of Elizabeth I of England.
From the cover- “A genius, a beauty, a leader, and a manipulator, Elizabeth I has fascinated and enthralled her public for centuries” aptly describes the Queen and her relationship with those that came after her. This book reads somewhat like a novel rather than a non fiction history book, drawing the reader into the life story of it’s subject. The book opens with a 15 page prologue relating some back ground information of King Henry VIII’s time. Then delves into the early life of princess Elizabeth and concludes with the death of the Queen on March 24 1603. The Biographer, Christopher Hibbart, has many other books to his credit including Edward VII and London: The Biography of a City and seems to be quite knowledgeable. The book contains an extensive bibliography but lacks any direct quotes.

The 256 pages pack a lot of information but offers little incite beyond the common. The author dwells on her apparent indecision and enters boldly in the queens life out of the public light. He details the workings of her privy chamber right down to how her ladies could get permission to marry and her personality quirks. He makes much of Elizabeth’s high strung nature with statements like “She often came close to hysteria” and he doesn’t fail to connect how this effects her relationships with her advisors and subjects. The author does, however, avoid the common trap of speculating on the Queen’s relationship with Sir Dudley. He sticks stickily to the facts on that account. It deals rather nicely with the problems around her many suitors but lacks a little in relaying the events and background to the biggest crises of her rein: the invasion attempts from Spain and the religion questions.

All in all not a bad survey of the life of one of England’s greatest monarchs. Makes for a good starting point to investigate the period further. 3 out of 5 stars