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The history of a woman who rose above and beyond tragedy, grief and personal loss to become one of the most powerful figures in sixteenth century Europe is wonderfully told in this biography Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott. Beginning with the tragic circumstances of Elizabeth's mother, the lovely and doomed Anne Boleyn's execution and Henry VIII's dissolution of the English Catholic Church, the story of Elizabeth's rise to power is reflective of the England's domination of world politics as well. As a three year old, the young Elizabeth was destined to be raised as an orphan while her authoritarian, lustful and forceful father took on several more wives and created a new Church in England. He was survived by three children, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward, all by different wives and greatly separated from each other in age, upbringing, politics and faith. Elizabeth was imprisoned as a traitor for several years by her sister Mary, who feared that she may claim the throne. Elizabeth had to wait till her older sister Mary died, to be crowned Queen. Her early reign was marked by intense political turmoil, palace intrigues, wars, religious strife and opposition. She also had to contend with numerous claimants to the throne, including the lovely and tragic Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Jane Grey and many others. However, the masterful handling of the complex situations that confronted a young and solitary woman, the way she dealt with the powerful heads of state in Europe, her long list of admirers and suitors, the admiration and awe she evoked in her courtiers are all told in compelling detail in Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth's insistence on remaining the Virgin Queen was as much a political move as a personal choice. She suffered no lack of suitors or lovers, but kept them all guessing! Her long reign was marked by immense peace, prosperity and wise administration. The horrible religious and sectarian wars that had consumed earlier monarchies were stilled as England began to monopolize the world stage. Her own devious plots and schemes to retain power, her ruthless elimination of her enemies, her unsurpassed vanity and jealousy and her violent temper and her fondness for ceremonies, pomp and fanfare are all documented in Queen Elizabeth. She remains one of the most famous yet most enigmatic figures in history. Published first in 1849, the original text had many charming engravings that illustrated the main events and characters. Jacob Abbott was well-known for his biographies and children's literature. A fascinating and interesting read!
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