Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Paperback)
  • Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Paperback)

Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court (Paperback)

Paperback 488 Pages
Published: 22/05/2014
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Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay Elizabeth's bedchamber, closely guarded by the favoured women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels and shared her bed. Elizabeth's private life was of public, political concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the make-up and elaborate clothes, as well as to rumoured illicit dalliances with such figures as Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic subterfuge. For such was the significance of the queen's body: it represented the very state itself. This riveting, revealing history of the politics of intimacy uncovers the feminized world of the Elizabethan court. Between the scandal and intrigue the women who attended the queen were the guardians of the truth about her health, chastity and fertility. Their stories offer extraordinary insight into the daily life of the Elizabethans, the fragility of royal favour and the price of disloyalty.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408833643
Number of pages: 488
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm

Elizabeth, subtle and seductive, was also a warrior. Self-possessed, she was also owned by every gossip in Europe. Her virginity was a national asset, but a wasting asset as her reign progressed. Her body was the body politic, closely guarded but obscenely scrutinised, subject to adoration, speculation and threat. Anna Whitelock's skilful and detailed history will bring you closer than seems possible to this glittering, infuriating, fascinating woman * Hilary Mantel *
With the lively imagination of a dramatist and the rigor of an academic, Whitelock discards the chastity belt of conventional royal history and presents Elizabeth in terms of the intimate politics of her life * The Times *
Whitelock's fearless approach to Elizabeth is not like that of Essex. She, too, has burst into the bedroom and shown us the Queen in her most private state. This is an intimate history of the court and a brilliant history of intimacy * Frances Wilson, Mail on Sunday *
Whitelock brings a fresh eye to the significance of anecdotes and, in doing so, injects them with new life ... With this dazzling portrait of Mary's successor, she takes her place among the foremost - and most enthrallingly readable - historians of the Tudors * Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times *
A great story, told with wit and verve * John Gallagher, Sunday Telegraph *
An impressive and powerful debut * David Starkey on Mary Tudor *
Whitelock excels in her timely portrait of a religious fanatic * Frances Wilson, Sunday Times Books of the Year *
***** Anna Whitelock's greatest achievement is her portrait of Mary as a woman as well as a Queen ... complex and compelling * Anita Sethi, Independent *
Brilliant * Jenny Uglow, Financial Times *
A memorable portrait * Literary Review *
Dazzling and fresh * Sunday Times Summer Reads *
The fascinating story of England's first successful queen told from a unique perspective * Good Book Guide *
It's a rollicking introduction to a remarkable woman, who lived in a very weird world * The Times, Summer Reads *
Essentially a biography of Elizabeth I with a special concern for the Queen's relationship with her male favourites and the various marriage negotiations that dominated England's external relations until at least the early 1580s ... Gradually she won me over, principally by her very skilful use of contemporary quotations, and since much of the contemporary comment was extremely lively, the book became a very good read ... A readable and well-documented biography * Times Higher Supplement *
Anna Whitelock demonstrates that the ladies of the bedchamber exercised considerable power and influence in their abilities both to make suggestions to the Queen and to report on her private thoughts ... Some of the best parts are the material details of Elizabeth's domestic surroundings ... In places the book offers fascinating glimpses of Elizabeth I's life behind closed doors, and is enriched by Anna Whitelock's eye for the curious and engaging detail ... This is partly a book about gossip, and it is in these kinds of gossipy and flavoursome morsels that its chief insights and pleasures lie * TLS *
It's a great story, told with wit and verve * Sunday Telegraph *
One cannot fault Whitelock for her meticulous research * Independent on Sunday *
Whitelock makes sparkling use of the eye-witness testimonies of courtiers, who recorded their impressions of the Queen * Daily Mail *
A memorable portrait, though not one that unquestioning admirers of the Virgin Queen may find palatable * Literary Review *
The first Queen Elizabeth is examined again in this revelatory book, which seeks out the private woman behind the public image * Independent Best Winter Reads *
Fresh insightful analysis to a more general history of Elizabeth's reign ... Whitelock has skilfully pulled together a wealth of evidence, and the intimate parts of this study are wonderful * Tablet *

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