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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth as she really was or as close as we will ever get!
Excellent, excellent book. A detailed examination of the Virgin Queen's life, health, friendships, frailties and fears. Far from always being the Gloriana depicted in famous portraits, here was woman who inherited her throne after many trials and tribulations which clearly left their mark in her future years. Not least amongst the revelations is the fact that she began...
Published 17 months ago by EleanorB

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A personal biography of Elizabeth I
This is a popular biography of Elizabeth which eschews high politics for the personal. Focusing on Elizabeth's ladies of the bedchamber and re-telling the stories of her various entanglements and aborted marriage plans, this doesn't reveal anything new but may be an interesting read to anyone only familiar with the queen and her court through fiction.

All the...
Published 19 months ago by Roman Clodia


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4.0 out of 5 stars A lively read and an interesting approach, although there is little new or noteworthy here..., 23 Feb 2014
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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Of all of England's monarchs none has been subject to such prurient and physical scrutiny as Elizabeth I. History has been obsessed with her body and chastity, from her very earliest days as first a young princess and heir to an illegitimate bastard and back again, right up to today. The gossip and scandal surrounding her physicality and sexuality came in a very real way to define her entire reign and her relations with her nobles, subjects, foreign ambassadors and fellow princes.

Elizabeth very deliberately played upon and enhanced the traditional dual image of the monarch's person, the natural body, and the body politic being one and the same. If Elizabeth's body was pure, legitimate and uncorrupted, so too was her government and right to rule. In the service of this she cast herself in a very specific role - ever-youthful, ever-beautiful, uncorrupted and incorruptible, subject to no man, the Virgin Queen. It is no coincidence that in seeking to undermine and destabilise her country, her enemies took aim not just at her physical body via poisonings and assassination attempts, but also her 'moral body', her reputation, via scurrilous rumours and gossip about lovers, orgies and illegitimate children.

Whitelock takes that dual image as the central theme of this book, exploring Elizabeth's intimate personal life with those who would have known her best - her Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber and her varied favourites: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex; Sir Walter Raleign; Sir Christopher Hatton - and how those relationships impacted on her rule and government.

It's a lively read and an interesting approach, although with such short chapters it does take on a somewhat episodic feel at times. Whitelock never takes a position as to Elizabeth's sexuality and chastity, something I respect and admire from a woman and an historian. At this remove of history it would be dishonest to pretend that such certainty was remotely possibly, and it is surely no coincidence that most of those throughout history who have claimed such positions were almost all men. A King, after all, would never have had to take such a position to bolster his legitimacy and secure his throne in the first place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bedfellows., 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
Very interesting detailed book, interesting information on queen Elizabeth's women maids that were her friends and confidantes detailed information on Elizabeth illnesses, and things you don't read in history novels. Very good couldn't put it down.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth through the eys of her bedfellows, 15 May 2013
This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court, Anna Whitelock.
This book tells the story of the two bodies of the Queen through the eyes of her court. The book focuses on the disparity of the Queens body politic and her physical body and how these roles alter over time. Whitelock interlaces the story of her bedfellows and the critical part they play in the sanctity of the Queens two bodies, both in life and death. The details make this book, with wonderful descriptions of makeup and dressing regimes and explanations of the artists and the templates of the Queens face used in portraits. I enjoyed this book, learning about the intimacies of the Tudor court and how these alter european politics in the 16th century.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close encounters of a different kind, 25 July 2013
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In preview,this newly published book sounded interesting, in that the author had approached writing about Queen Elizabeth I from a completely different perspective. The book covers Elizabeth's early life and introduces "Ladies of the Bedchamber", explaining how their actions had an impact on their monarch's life. Other visitors to the bedchamber are introduced- such as Robert, Earl of Leicester, but also other royal suitors ( some not at all suitable).
This book would appeal to lovers of history, especially of the Elizabethan era, but also to readers interested in social interactions of the day.

Text is well documented and backed up by plentiful evidence, in the form of letters and political manuscripts of the day.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, 5 July 2013
This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
Ok, this at first seems like a well researched and thought out book. And it could have been. What it is though, is a very wordy tome that becomes tiresome to read. It seems the author is determined to make the book seem as long as possible by including endless excerpts of letters and proclamations from the time, which due to their old english content, do nothing to illuminate the points the author has already made anyway.

Stuck between the chapters on Elizabeth's relationships (which after all is the point of the book) are excruciatingly detailed chapters on the threat of Jesuit priests and the catholic religion in general. Not sure what this has to do with Elizabeth's bedfellows.

For all the unnecessary ramming the points home (time and time again), the book still becomes confusing, sometimes ironically as a result of the endless reiteration. In one instance the book describes a book published anonymously which slanders Dudley and Lady Douglas, who the book explains is the wife of Edward Stafford. All well and good. Except a few paragraphs on Lady Douglas is thereafter described as Edward Stafford's mother.

This book could have been a third of the size and more accessible and enjoyable a read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elizabeths bedfellows, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
very interested in the reign of Elizabeth I - this book is so interesting and don't want to put it down
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 11 Aug 2013
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There must have been a great deal of research for this book. I do like reading about the Tudors. This greatly added to my knowledge. But is an in depth read that takes some time
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So that's what went on!, 26 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
I really liked this book. I found it very informative and loved the way it was written, with hints of scandal. Really brought the Elizabeathen court to life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 3 Aug 2014
By 
B. Morgan (UK, Worcester) - See all my reviews
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Interesting history.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Hardcover)
Easy to read imaginative and thought provoking worth the money and I'm sure I will read again and share with friends
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Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court
Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court by Anna Whitelock (Hardcover - 23 May 2013)
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