Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
by Jane Dunn
This, the first dual biography of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots from one of our most prized biographers, provides intense political, sexual and ... Show synopsis This, the first dual biography of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots from one of our most prized biographers, provides intense political, sexual and psychologogical drama on the Tudor stage. Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots are the two queens in British history that continue to stir the imagination. In this magnificent dual biography, Jane Dunn explores their intertwined lives -- although the cousins never met -- and reveals an extraordinary story of sex and power, of darkly complex, dangerous and dazzling times. Elizabeth was the courageous virgin queen, inspired by the decision to rule alone, using her celibacy as a weapon. She inherited a weak and divided country coveted by great powers, and turned it into a major power, presiding over an era of peace and a golden age of English culture. Mary, her cousin, was beautiful and cultured: a captivating but ultimately tragic figure, swayed by her passion, reckless in her sexual liaisons and vulnerable to the conspiracies of the powerful factions that surrounded her. Through their rivalry and the political and sexual intrigues it involved (including the role played by the charming Robert Dudley, Earl of Leceister), Dunn corrects many misconceptions about the two, painting Mary as a much more serious contender for power than is otherwise imagined, and Elizabeth as far more vulnerable than her formidable reputation suggests. Intelligent, engaging and accessible, this beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated book masterfully juxtaposes the histories of these two remarkable women and the power struggle that continued between them until Elizabeth asserted her authority and, hesitantly, signed Mary's death warrant.