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Elizabeth's Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen's Court

por Anna Whitelock

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206699,432 (3.69)3
An Elizabethan expert describes the court of Queen Elizabeth I, painting a vivid picture of the gossip, conspiracy, intrigue, and romantic dalliances that surrounded the monarch and the daily lives of the women that attended her. Queen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic stratagems. Historian Anna Whitelock offers a revealing look at the Elizabethan court and the politics of intimacy. She dramatically reconstructs, for the first time, the queen's quarters and the women who patrolled them. These women were her friends, confidantes, and spies--nobody knew her better. And until now, historians have overlooked them. This is a revelatory, insightful look into their daily lives--the untold story of the queen laid bare.--From publisher description.… (mais)
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I've read several excellent books on Elizabeth I but this one is unique in its focus on her women of the bedchamber and her male courtiers. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Offering a detailed portrait of Queen Elizabeth I from the perspective of her court. Anna Whitelock describes in rich detail the complexities and contradictions of "the Virgin Queen."

Yes, reading about all the assassination attempts upon QEI does get tiring after the 7th or 8th time. And yes, an approach that was more analytical and less strictly chronological probably would have improved the book. But Whitelock is a very good researcher, and there is a lot of fascinating material here on the Queen's personal household that I've seen nowhere else. I was particularly interested in the information presented about the women who served the Queen as her attendants and bed-mates. They often had to balance allegiance to their own families and kinship networks with devotion and service to the Queen. In the interlocking cousinage of Late Tudor England, it seems as if no one was more Two Degrees of Separation from the royal household! ( )
  yooperprof | Apr 27, 2016 |
a very enjoyable read ( )
  bhowell | Jun 14, 2015 |
This history of the iconic Queen Elizabeth's reign is likely one of the best such accounts I have read. Anna Whitelock places the Queen's Bedchamber and the ladies Elizabeth was most intimate with at the center of her history, including the grimy and realistic details of the make-up Elizabeth wore to preserve her appearance and the physical decay of her body over time. From this focal point, Whitelock recounts the courtly flirtations, the Parliamentary politics, the Catholic schemes, and the assassination plots which populated Elizabeth's reign with tension and uncertainty. After reading this history, I nearly felt as though I had lived through Elizabeth's rule, which is one of the best sensations a history book can leave one with. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Elizabeth and the Tudor era. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Oct 17, 2014 |
Must know a great deal already about QE-1 in order to follow this history. Begins as an intimate look at the smaller circumference of the inner chambers, loses its focus and blends with other biographies, only with less detail, and less scholarship. ( )
  jaaron | May 9, 2014 |
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At the heart of the court lay the queen's bed.
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An Elizabethan expert describes the court of Queen Elizabeth I, painting a vivid picture of the gossip, conspiracy, intrigue, and romantic dalliances that surrounded the monarch and the daily lives of the women that attended her. Queen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic stratagems. Historian Anna Whitelock offers a revealing look at the Elizabethan court and the politics of intimacy. She dramatically reconstructs, for the first time, the queen's quarters and the women who patrolled them. These women were her friends, confidantes, and spies--nobody knew her better. And until now, historians have overlooked them. This is a revelatory, insightful look into their daily lives--the untold story of the queen laid bare.--From publisher description.

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