Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 a 25-year-old virgin - the most prized catch in Christendom. For the first ten years of her reign, one matter dominated above all others: the question of who the queen was to marry and when she would produce an heir. Elizabeth's life as England's Virgin Queen is one of the most celebrated in history. Christopher Skidmore takes a fresh look at the familiar story of a queen with the stomach of a man, steadfastly refusing to marry for the sake of her realm, and reveals a very different picture: of a vulnerable young woman, in love with her suitor, Robert Dudley. Had it not been for the mysterious and untimely death of his wife, Amy Robsart, Elizabeth might have one day been able to marry Dudley, since Amy was believed to be dying of breast cancer. Instead, the suspicious circumstances surrounding Amy Robsart's death would cast a long shadow over Elizabeth's life, preventing any hope of a union with Dudley and ultimately shaping the course of Tudor history. Using newly discovered evidence from the archives, Christopher Skidmore is able to put an end to centuries of speculation as to the true causes of her death. This is the story of a remarkable and frenetic period in Elizabeth's life: a tale of love, death and tragedy, exploring the dramatic early life of England's Virgin Queen.
Chris Skidmore gained a double first in History at Christ Church, Oxford, where he continued with postgraduate research. Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and in 2010 was elected Member of Parliament for Kingswood. He is Vice-Chairman of the All Party Group for History and Archives and a member of the Education Select Committee.
Aged 25, Chris published Edward VI: The Lost King in 2007. Chris' second book, Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart was published in 2010 and was 'highly commended' by the judges of the John Rhys Llewelyn prize.
Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors was published in May 2013, and has already been described by The Spectator as the 'definitive account' of the battle that saw Henry Tudor claim the crown from Richard III.
Chris is currently working on a full biography of Richard III, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
Chris' Author website is www.chrisskidmore.co.uk.