All the Queen's Men
The World of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I, the "People's Queen", reigned over an exciting new age of exploration, discovery, artistic brilliance, architectural achievement and foreign conquest. An unmarried queen in a male-dominated age, she surrounded herself with the ablest, most energetic and fearless minds in the kingdom, constantly inspiring and encouraging them. This work opens with an overview of the reigns of the first four Tudor monarchs and the author emphasizes just how much England was in need of a strong charismatic ruler, particularly after the disastrous reign of "Bloody Mary". Subsequent chapters examine the make-up of the royal court and the personality of Elizabeth herself, showing how her perilous path to the throne taught her much which was to stand her in good stead as Queen. The main focus of the book is Elizabeth's relationships with key men in her kingdom - statesmen such as William Cecil and Francis Walsingham; seafarers and explorers such as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh; suitors such as Robert Dudley and Christopher Hatton; men of God such as Matthew Parker and John Whitgift; scholars such as Roger Asham and Francis Bacon; and creators such as John Donne and William Shakespeare.
Peter Brimacombe outlines the achievements of each, revealing above all, the Queen's superb judgement of human nature.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This is a lively and readable account of the court of Queen Elizabeth I and of some of the great personalities which made the late 16th century such a remarkable age of discovery, achievement and creation. We are given a picture of the Queen herself and her pivotal role in establishing the stability of the kingdom from within and ensuring its security in the face of invasion from without. Chapters follow on the great statesmen, Cecil and Walsingham; the great churchmen, Grindal and Whitgift; the great explorers, Drake and Releigh, and the great literary figures, Shakespeare and Jonson among them, who, together with many other outstanding figures, made this such a seminal period in English history. (Kirkus UK)
If Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth piqued your curiosity about the Virgin Queen, Brimacombes elegant evocation of the world of Elizabeth I is for you.Here we meet not only Elizabeth, the charismatic ruler who ascended the throne in 1558, but the men of her retinue as well. We get to know Elizabeths Privy Council of advisers: William Cecil (the principal Secretary of State), Lord Robert Dudley (whose close relationship with the Queen was envied by other councilors), and Sir Christopher Hatton (who acted as liaison between the queen and parliament). Readers also get to know sailors and explorers: John Hawkins (who pioneered naval warfare), privateer Francis Drake (whose easy rapport with the queen inspired jealousy on the part of advisers who did not have direct access to Elizabeth), Martin Frobisher (who undertook a transatlantic voyage in an effort to discover a northwest passage to Cathay), and Sir Humphrey Gilbert (who died off the coast of Newfoundland). And we meet Elizabeths string of unsuccessful suitorsPhilip of Spain, Charles the Archduke of Austria, and Henry the Duke of Anjou. As she navigated between the Protestantism of her half-brother Edward and the Catholicism of her half-sister Mary, Elizabeth was advised by leading theologians. Matthew Parker, her first Archbishop of Canterbury, was a rather conservative Protestant in the queens eyeshis only failing was that he was married (she disapproved of married clergy). John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, was another theologian in Elizabeths circleand one who was not afraid to speak out when he thought her religious reforms were headed in the wrong direction. Elizabeth was also keenly interested in scholarship and surrounded herself with men of learningnotably John Dee of Cambridge, who studied astrology, alchemy, and mathematics. She also appreciated the arts and underwrote the work of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Robert Peake, Christopher Marlowe, and, of course, Shakespeare. This slender volume is easy reading, and will delight anyone who is intrigued by Elizabethan England. (Kirkus Reviews)