The Lady Elizabeth
How does a Princess Elizabeth become a Lady Elizabeth within a matter of days, the four-year-old wants to know? Her father, the powerful Henry VIII, beheads her mother, Anne Boleyn, a woman she hardly knows, and has her declared a bastard. She is no longer a princess of the realm now – only a king’s illegitimate offspring.
And in this way, Elizabeth, from the earliest of ages, learns what it means to be at the center of a political maelstrom. Always bright beyond her years, Elizabeth gingerly picks her way through one political minefield after another. She chooses her friends wisely and is quick to figure out who her enemies are. She desperately wants to be loved, seeks it from her sister, Mary, from her stepmothers (who often don’t last terribly long) and from her esteemed father. The queens come and go, but Henry remains the bastion of strength in Elizabeth’s eyes. She wants to be the king he is.
Weir, deftly applying historical fact to this wonderful personality, creates a young Elizabeth who is, at the same time, brilliant, aching for love, desperate for acceptance, analyzing her possibilities and ever vigilant. Elizabeth’s growth as a woman, as a warrior and as a politician is the focus of this most formidable book. By the time Elizabeth is prepared to ascend to the throne, she is well-schooled in the politics of manipulation and prevention – learning how to avoid becoming a tenant in the Tower of London or a victim of either Henry or her sister, Queen Mary, or of any number of Catholic or Protestant sympathizers. She has learned well.
This is a highly recommended read.