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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2017
Having little knowledge beyond the fact that she was a strong queen who reigned for a long time and did well overseas through Drake and Raleigh, I found this well explained and researched book totally absorbing. Alison Weir's writing style is engaging and I feel better educated and better informed as to how England was ruled over 400 years ago.
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on 1 February 2014
This book offers up a detailed account of Elizabeth, both in her personal life and habits and her public and working life, in great detail. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it hard to put down. Even for such a long (yet good read), I was disappointed to reach the end.

If you want to read about Elizabeth I, this is definately the book to buy!
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on 21 May 2017
I have read many books about the Tudor period and have always enjoyed Alison Weir's descriptions and attention to detail of both the era and the people in it. This book is extremely interesting and well written.
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on 5 March 2017
exceiient
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on 11 July 2017
Great read!
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on 9 July 2017
A fantastic biography
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on 13 November 2014
Easy read, Engrossing and written in an enjoyable way.
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on 3 April 2016
Without doubt the best biography on Queen Elizabeth I ever written. Alison Weir draws you in as a reader so close to the life of England's arguably most famous- and one of its most successful- Monarchs, that you really feel as if you are getting to know Elizabeth herself. Although not intended as a biography and more of a detail about Elizabeth's personnel life and court. Weir gives the reader much detail about Elizabeth's Palaces, and progresses, the entertainments put on for her by her nobles when she visited their homes (particularly Robert Dudley at Kenilworth). Weir also examines some of the most fascinating chapters of Elizabeth's life, the dramas with Mary,Queen of Scots, the 'Marriage Game', the Spanish Armada, and the succession crisis. It is a fascinating analysis on how the young woman who inherited the throne in 1558 would go on to become such a successful Monarch. Weir also brings the reader into Elizabeth's intimate circle, revealing her great wit and sense of humour with her courtiers, but she does not hide Elizabeth's less appealing traits, her great temper with her ladies and Privy Councillors, her continual procrastinating on important matters of state, her incredible tight fisted attitude to paying her soldiers for fought in the Armada, but she highlights the struggles Elizabeth faced ruling in a mans world in the 16th century, and that, by the end of her life Elizabeth had more than proved herself as a Monarch.
Weir highlights the fact that on Elizabeth's death many of her courtiers had become tired of being ruled by an old woman and longed for the rule of a man. However, in the years that followed they came to realise what they had lost, and began to look back on her reign as 'The Golden Age' of England. Weir points out one of the highlights of Elizabeth's Golden Speech to Parliament where Elizabeth states "And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving" is true, as no Monarch before or since has had such a close with their subjects.
I read this book nearly ten years ago, and still come back to it time and again, it details the glittering court of Elizabeth I like no other. If you really want to learn about the Tudor Palaces, Castles and stately homes lived in or visited by Elizabeth, the fascinating politics, drama and intrigue that surrounded her, the love she shared with Robert Dudley, yet could never bring herself to be with him, and the fun, games and tantrums that went on in the private apartments, then this book is exactly what you are looking for. This book is one of the best history books i have ever read, and ever shall read.
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on 2 January 2012
I enjoyed reading this account on the life of Elizabeth, which deigned to cover her entire documented life from her beginnings, adolescence, to the triumph of her accession, troubles with the Catholic recusants and Mary Queen of Scots to her potential matrimonial woes and the final years of her reign.

Weir does well to cover such a complicated and long period as Elizabeth's life was, within a single volume.
In particular, I found Weir's depiction of Elizabeth's relationships with her long standing favourite Robert Dudley and later the Earl of Essex fascinating and illuminating. Similarly, her relationships with her councillors such as the loyal William Cecil and later her trusted advisor, Francis Walsingham are also scrutinised in lucid detail and the way these depictions are interwoven with unfolding events such as the speculation surrounding the death of Amy Robsart, her quest for a suitable husband and the intrigues of Mary Stuart are particularly impressive indeed. Weir also cautiously espouses some new yet very interesting theories surrounding key events of Elizabeth's reign. A few of these relate to the circumstances concerning Amy Robsart, Mary Stuart and the Earl of Essex.

There are also humorous moments throughout the book and nowhere is this more true than in Weir's vivid and engaging portrayal of Elizabeth's endless quest for a suitable husband who would serve her personal needs in the fullfilment of an heir without threatening her personal autonomy and sovereignty. As it was, none presented himself or else, Elizabeth was too fussy, nevertheless Elizabeth appeared to commit herself to several eager suitors on many different occasions before eventually, pulling back from the brink. She would refine the art of keeping her suitors, her council and her country guessing.

My only criticims with regard to this book relate to the fact that as with the Six Wives, some accounts may well be dubious and not thoroughly substantiated. Also, the book is rather short considering that it is a biography of Elizabeth's entire documented life. I also feel that Weir should have deployed a more impartial analysis of Mary, Queen of Scots, and explored perhaps Mary's side of the story.
However, on the whole, I found this to be an entertaining, readable and witty account of Elizabeth's early life and in particular, her reign.
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on 28 July 2006
Alison Weir writes a very engaging and sympathetic account of Queen Elizabeth, taking the reader right into the heart of Renaissance England and Elizabeth's splendid court. This is a vivid portrait of Elizabeth and her relationship with her rivals, suitors, courtiers, subjects, foreign diplomats and enemies. All aspects of court life are covered, from social relations and life at court, to war and the politics of 16th century England, thus providing not just an engaging biography but also a journey in time, taking the reader back 500 years to an England at once imperial, majestic, and in the midst of civil political turmoil. One star less because I feel as if not enough space was given to Elizabeth's relationship and dealings with Mary Tudor or the character and motifs of the Earl of Essex, the uprising of the latter being glossed over very quickly and in little detail, despite Essex's influential role at court.
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