Nicholas Whyte's Reviews > Elizabeth

Elizabeth by David Starkey
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Apr 08, 09


http://nhw.livejournal.com/1125160.html[return][return]This was a fortuitously good paired reading of biographies: Starkey concentrates on Elizabeth's life from her conception and birth in 1533 to her accession to the throne in 1558; he is telling a less familiar story and also challenges received wisdom (for instance he unhesitatingly puts the dying Edward VI at the heart of the Lady Jane Grey affair, where traditionally it has been seen as Northumberland's doing).[return][return]Starkey's approach is somewhat psychological. He has three main sets of conclusions: that Elizabeth learned important lessons of statecraft from the bitter failures of her sister Mary's reign, that her attitude to religion was a sincere adherence to what evolved into High Church Anglicanism, and that her attitudes to both marriage and religion were perhaps crucially formed during her residence with her father's last wife and her second husband, Thomas Seymour. Indeed, Seymour's appallingly intimate behaviour with his teenage stepdaughter would surely be characterised today as sexual abuse (my assessment, not Starkey's), and that must have left its traces in Elizabeth's attitude to men (and indeed women).[return]
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