To the misplaced delight of Catholics and dismay of Protestants throughout Europe, the child that Anne Boleyn bore on 7 September 1533 was a girl.
At twenty-five, that girl became Queen Elizabeth, and her reign of forty-five years was a Golden Age for her subjects. Despite threats from the Netherlands and the Spanish Armada, and in the face of conspiracies at court and plots by the Catholics, including Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth guided her country through potential dangers to take its place as a major world force.
The central question that Jasper Ridley addresses in this perceptive and entertaining biography is, "Was Elizabeth herself a great Queen or did she simply preside over a great era in English history?" Employing the same narrative skill and fascinating use of detail as in his biography of Henry VIII, Jasper Ridley brings Elizabeth and her court vividly to life.