Author(s): Elizabeth Norton
A power-hungry and charming courtier. An impressionable and trusting princess. The Tudor court in the wake of Henry VIII's death had never been more perilous for the young Elizabeth, where rumors had the power to determine her fate
England, late 1547. King Henry VIII Is dead. His fourteen-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the king's widow, Catherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. Seymour is the brother of Henry VIII's third wife, the late Jane Seymour, who was the mother to the now-ailing boy King.
Ambitious and dangerous, Seymour begins and overt flirtation with Elizabeth that ends with Catherine sending her away. When Catherine dies a year later and Seymour is arrested for treason soon after, a scandal explodes. Alone and in dreadful danger, Elizabeth is threatened by supporters of her half-sister, Mary, who wishes to see England return to Catholicism. She is also closely questioned by the king's regency council due to her place in the line of succession. Was she still a virgin? Was there a child? Had she promised to marry Seymour?
Under pressure, Elizabeth shows the shrewdness and spirit she would later be famous for. She survives the scandal, but Thomas Seymour is not so lucky. The "Seymour Scandal" led Elizabeth and her advisers to create of the persona of the Virgin Queen.
On hearing of Seymour's beheading, Elizabeth observed, "This day died a man of much wit, and very little judgment." His fate remained with her. She would never allow her heart to rule her head again.
'This is how historical writing should be ... the best history book I've read in a long time' Alison Weir. 'Many readers will find much to enjoy in this lively and detailed account of the politics and personalities of the early Edwardian years' The Tablet. 'A lively and detailed account ... Norton's narrative is pacy and colourful' Susan Doran. 'Absolutely stunning. A forensic analysis of an intriguing and disturbing episode in Elizabeth I's early life which casts fresh light onto our most fascinating monarch' Sarah Gristwood.
Elizabeth Norton is a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period. She is the author of biographies of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr, and of England's Queens: The Biography.