The Young Elizabeth
With excellent excavation of the facts and an engaging style of writing, Plowden explores what life was like for Elizabeth Tudor in the dangerous period before she was crowned Queen of England. She begins with the story of Elizabeth’s ancestors, including her infamous mother, Anne Boleyn. But Plowden goes back even further. She tells us about the romance between Queen Katherine the Fair, young widow of Henry V, and her “man of Wales,” Owen Tudor. Plowden brings this relationship into focus, which goes a long way in explaining the teetering point on which the entire Tudor dynasty was balanced and, ultimately, why Henry VIII was so keen to get a son and heir. This strong desire led, ultimately, to the disappointing (for the king at least) birth of Elizabeth.
Plowden points out the forces which helped form Elizabeth’s personality. When she presents facts, they are clearly stated. When she presents conjecture, that, too, is clear. There are no muddy waters here; Plowden is a historian one feels one can trust to discover and relay the information, but she is careful to label any conclusions she has reached as possibility, not necessarily the truth.