The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor
Norton, known for her biographies of the wives of Henry VIII, turns in her latest book to the coming of age of Henry’s daughter Elizabeth, and the events that shaped both her long reign as queen and her personal life as a highly educated and unwed woman. After Henry died in early 1547, the teenaged Elizabeth moved to the household of Catherine Parr, the dowager queen; the two shared intellectual interests and provided emotional support for each other during a time of political upheaval at court. Another shared interest was Sir Thomas Seymour, who had quickly married Catherine after Henry’s demise, an alliance considered scandalous by many. Thomas had lofty ambitions but was often thwarted by his powerful brother Edward, Duke of Somerset. Thomas Seymour’s infatuation with Elizabeth, and his many ploys to get into her bed, is the heart of this book. What exactly happened between them remains unknown, but Thomas’s manipulation of a young woman’s heart and mind provided Elizabeth with the formative experiences that made her a powerful queen, politician, and military leader. This fascinating and well-documented volume provides great insights into the political and familial machinations behind not only Elizabeth, but also the Tudor monarchy.