Queen of This Realm: The Tudor Queens (Queens of England, #2)

ISBN: 0609810200
ISBN 13: 9780609810200
By: Jean Plaidy

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England Fiction Historical Historical Fiction History Jean Plaidy Series To Read Tudor Tudors

About this book

In this "memoir" by Elizabeth I, legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy reveals the Virgin Queen as she truly was: the bewildered, motherless child of an all-powerful father; a captive in the Tower of London; a shrewd politician; a lover of the arts; and eventually, an icon of an era. It is the story of her improbable rise to power and the great triumphs of her reign -- the end of religious bloodshed, the settling of the New World, the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Brilliantly clever, a scholar with a ready wit, she was also vain, bold, and unpredictable, a queen who commanded -- and won -- absolute loyalty from those around her.But in these pages, in her own voice, Elizabeth also recounts the emotional turmoil of her life: the loneliness of power; the heartbreak of her lifelong love affair with Robert Dudley, whom she could never marry; and the terrible guilt of ordering the execution of her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. In this unforgettable novel, Elizabeth emerges as one of the most fascinating and controversial women in history, and as England's greatest monarch.

Reader's Thoughts


Perhaps these Elizabethan/Victorian/period novels that follow the lives of royal and other figures are not my cup of tea, but I have to say this is the second time I've been left feeling a little less than impressed. This story is good, for what it is. I just wasn't thrilled with it. Jean Plaidy's writing is nice, and compared to Carolly Erickson's random jumps into kitschy Harlequin moments, she's a breath of fresh air. But my biggest qualm is with her portrayal of Elizabeth. The book is obviously all about Queen Elizabeth I and her reign in England. And while I would normally be fascinated by this kind of historical novel, I was just left wanting to strangle Elizabeth. Perhaps I don't have a great idea of what the woman was really like, but I can't see a woman who was as cautious in making decisions as she was as the kind of person to just run around slapping her women whenever she got angry. That was a little strange to me. Was Elizabeth as childish as that? At first glance, she appears to be very self-controlled, self-aware, and disciplined. As a woman who was constantly in the limelight, I assume she would know how to comport herself, and yes, she might get a little relaxed among her ladies of the court, but I find it hard to believe she regularly slapped them and insulted them when she was displeased. Another issue I have is how prideful she was. Elizabeth was a great queen, and I admire her for many things. But was she as prideful and vain as Plaidy portrays? I'm not sure. Her love of beauty and her pride in her own beauty is written of throughout the whole book and forms an integral part of her character, or rather, Plaidy's portrayal of her character. For a woman who never married, it seems a bit strange that she would be so obsessed with her looks and with being courted but never won. At the same time, Plaidy showed her strengths in great ways. I was pleased by the portrayal of Elizabeth's hesitation to sign off on the death of Mary, Queen of Scots. I loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley, and I was pleasantly surprised at the treatment of Elizabeth's surrogate Essex, who she tried to use to replace Robert Dudley after his death. Overall, I have to admit the book was pleasant enough. I just had issues with things like Elizabeth's character. But it's a decent read and one worth trying if you're interested in the Elizabethan age.


It was a very interesting mix of history and fiction, I found it difficult at times to know what was real and what wasn't which was neat. I got the feeling by the end of the book that I had really read a memoir of the Queen, and had to remind myself that it was indeed fiction. The bibliography list for the book is definitely a good resource in itself, if nothing else it provides a very nice chronological portrait of the political happenings of the time.

Pauline Lloyd

Surprisingly I really enjoyed this. Written as a diary in the first person.


This is a decent book. I found the first half more interesting than the second. Possibly because I didn't know as much about this period in Queen Elizabeth's life. The downside to the story is that it portrays the Queen sillier and more vain than I had imagined her. I might have enjoyed it more if there were more "politics" involved, not just a recounting of daily court life.


Argh, this book is going SO slow for me! I've had it for 3 months and I'm still not finished - I wonder how many times the library will let me renew it? I much prefer Philippa Gregory's style of writing to this author's; I wish Gregory would write more books about the Tudor princesses and queens.


Quite honestly I didn't read the whole thing... I thought this was going to be more historical and it was written to be as historically correct as possible but the author focused on the love life of Queen Elizabeth. I didn't care to much about that I wanted to read more about the political, social things that happened during here reign. Oh well.


This is another one of those times I REALLY wish that Goodreads had a 1/2 star rating. I would give this a solid 3 1/2. Mainly because of the ending. This book could really only be considered fiction because Plaidy gets inside of Elizabeth's head. She doesn't from the first person POV and, of course, we could never really know what was going on in Elizabeth's head so it has to be fiction. I'm sure a lot of the conversation are interpretative, but I bet they're pretty close to what was said.Plaity did her research and, as a reader, I really appreciate that. I think she got the moods of Elizabeth just right. Yes, she was a powerful ruler who loved, and was loved by, her people. She hated war, had her favorites and tried to do everything she could for England. But she was temperamental. She threw temper-tantrums when she didn't get her way or when people didn't do things exactly as she wanted. She manipulated the people around her, people who loved her, so that she could have the thrill of the chase but never have to actually be caught. Part of that was indeed politics, but part of that was just her own vanity, and Elizabeth was the vainest of them all.My main complaint with Plaity is that she had a hard time keeping my interest. Elizabeth is exciting! During both her youth and Mary's reign, her life was constantly in danger. And, truth be told, that danger never really came across the pages to me. Elizabeth was also a brilliant politician and, while I did get that sense from Plaity, I didn't get the excitement and the true genius the woman really was.However, the thing about Plaity that really warmed me to this book was the ending and, as we all know, a good ending can really save a book. The Spanish/English battle on the seas was a HUGE win for the English because it basically established that the English, not the Spanish, were the dominant force on the ocean. Not something to be taken lightly since Spain had been the strong arm of Europe for so long. Elizabeth gave this most beautiful speech to her troops before hand (which, you can find in its entirety here. I highly recommend reading it. Politicians could really take a page out of this woman's book.) Plaity actually included this speech in her book, which I loved. I loved that she kept things like this because it made the book that much more real. When Plaity talked about the battle, everything leading up to it and what was happening, everything in the battle, you couldn't help but be drawn into the excitement. I mean, I KNEW what was going to happen. I KNEW the English were going to win. I KNEW the Spanish were going to get their butts handed to them on a platter. But that didn't stop me from eating up every word.Plaity also brought us through enormous grief after this. Elizabeth was an old woman by the time this happen (well, old for her time.) She was in her late 40s to her early 50s. All of her friends and councilors and the men and people she loved most began to leave her life. It was really a heartbreaking thing to read, because you realize everyone she held dear left her. She lived to 69 (really, a remarkable age for that time period. I believe mostly due to her regiment of cleanliness.) but those around her began much sooner, starting with Robert Dudley and ending with William Cecil.I really liked how Plaity handled Dudley. The most scandle surrounds him and throughout history there has been a "did they/didn't they" around the two. And while I do think he was the one man the Queen did truly romantically love, I don't think they ever consummated that love. Elizabeth was all about the power, all about holding onto that power and making sure SHE was the one who ruled her country, not someone else. It was why she never married. She could never suffer being ruled by a man, or having to share the sovereignty with a man.I don't think she could have ever allowed a man to bed her, and Plaity takes that approach also. Bedding is just another form of male domination and Elizabeth was resoundingly against that. No man would have any power over her. What's more, I don't believe she would ever risk an affair. Liaisons with men meant a possible pregnancy. Pregnancies are something that can't be hidden. Becoming pregnant would forever diminish her power and she would not have taken that kind of risk.But it was still heartbreaking to see Dudley die. She loved him dearly and he was the first to leave her. Plaity thinks her grief caused her to make mistakes later when it came to some of Dudley's family.Cecil was always the one that upset me the most. Cecil was with her from early on, even when Mary was on the throne. He threw all his work and devotion and livelihood into Elizabeth and her reign. And he was with her the longest, even leaving her his son, who was more than capable to take his place. Plaity's tale of his death had me almost in tears because you could tell that Elizabeth saw this as the last of her friends, the last of her generation. All that she had known of her time, of her reign, was coming to an end with Cecil. I think in some ways, Cecil was an even greater friend to her than Dudley. Dudley she loved romantically, had a friendship that could never be broken. But Cecil made sure she kept her crown, that her country stayed safe and always in her hands and Elizabeth loved nothing more than her country.If you are a fan of Tudor England, pick this book up. I enjoyed reading it. It's not a fast read, but the ending makes it worth it and, honestly, I just love reading about Elizabeth.


This book is awesome. I love Elizabethan History..even though it is historical fiction I feel like I can carry on a conversation about this period in history. I love all of the Jean Plaidy books I have read so far, but I especially enjoyed this one..I highly recommend it.


This is my least favorite of Plaidy’s novels. It might just be due to the fact that I’ve read so many novels and histories about Elizabeth I that any others I read need to be truly magnificent so that they stand out from the crowd. This novel is par for the course for Plaidy- an extensive re-telling of the life of one of history’s most popular figures.It just didn’t do anything for me. I thought maybe I was getting sick of Plaidy because I’ve been reading so much of her lately, but the novel I’m reading now by Plaidy is much more to my liking. I recommend this novel to lovers of Plaidy’s novels but Elizabeth-lovers and Tudorphiles might be disappointed by it if they haven’t read it already. I’d recommend skipping it unless you’re in the mood for a light and fluffy read.

Sonya Wanvig

Absolutely fabulous! The best I have read of Elizabeth's life. I believe, unlike some fiction authors who have written about her, that she really was a virgin her whole life. It was a great portrait of this, the greatest ruler of history!


When I was invited to write a review about a book by Jane Plaidy, I readily accepted. I had heard so much about the author but never really had the chance to read any of her works. Queen of this Realm seemed like a good choice for this first experience, since the charismatic Elizabeth I, queen of England is one of my favorite historic figures.The book opens with Elizabeth’s troubled childhood. Daughter of the all powerful Henri VIII and the attractive Anne Boleyn, who was executed when Elizabeth was only 3 years old, we sense how this child grew insecure of her place into her father affections and how deeply she was scarred by her mother’s destiny and her illegitimacy. Raised by governesses, servants and stepmothers (like Katherine Parr), we follow her life through the years, watching her slowly becoming the woman who gave her name to her time – the Elizabethan era.The struggle between Protestants and Catholics create an unstable situation in England aggravated by Edward VI’s death and Mary’s ascension to the throne. These were hard times for the future queen who had to spend a year in prison after being accused several times of plotting against her sister’s life.After Mary’s early death, she finally accedes to the throne, to the joy of the English people who were much in love for their princess. As a young queen (25 years old), many were those who wanted to see her settle down and giving an heir to the country. Elizabeth decides to do exactly the opposite; she will be married to her people and will rule without a man by her side. Of course, this didn’t stop her to have several suitors over the years, mainly due to diplomatic reasons.The later years come in a rush with the victory over the Invincible Armada, the sudden death of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester or even the queen’s tempestuous relationship with the deeply annoying Robert Deveraux, the stepson of Dudley.I have to confess I was not expecting much from this book in terms of historical accuracy, since I heard the author is known to sometimes romanticize History. For what I previously read about Elizabeth I, these 400 pages are a fair account of her life, which is not an easy task to do in such a short length or even write as a memoir. Of course, several important moments are rushed in a few lines, it was almost expected. I’m nonetheless impressed that Plaidy still managed to pull it off so elegantly. Now I wish I had her entire backlist at home…I particularly enjoyed reading about the queen’s relationship with Robert Dudley, how they met as children in court, found themselves imprisoned at the same time at the Tower and later built a very complex relationship that resisted during 30 years to everything and everyone: treasons, cheating, disputes, banishments… I was never very fond of Robert, I can actually understand Elizabeth’s fascination for him, but he really never wins my affections.My favorite moments were mostly the portraits of some of Elizabeth’s pairs or close family, like Jane Grey, so insecure and innocent and clearly a puppet in the hands of the ambitious John Dudley, duke of Northumberland. The poor child looks just like a little lamb sent to the slaughter…The fatherly figure of Lord Cecil who always admired his young queen and wanted the best for her, even if she sometimes strongly disagreed with his opinions, is very touching. He is always there for her, no matter what. I confess the scene when he gets ill and is lying in his bed talking with Elizabeth brought some tears to my eyes.In the other hand, I missed to read more about Walsingham. He always fascinated me and I was quite disappointed to see that if he is mentioned here and there, we don’t know much about him or even quite see how crucial his role was during Elizabeth’s reign. We end up knowing more about his daughter and her hidden affair and consequent marriage to the spoiled Robert Deveraux.Mary, Queen of the Scots is described almost as I imagined her: pretty, attractive but probably not suited to rule and certainly not a match for her intelligent cousin, Elizabeth. After 18 years living as a captive in England, she was becoming a liability and a threat… After collecting enough evidence of Mary’s treason and plots against his queen, Walsingham, along with other advisors, convinced Elizabeth of the necessity to bring Mary to a trial and an execution. Elizabeth’s fears and hesitation clearly show she knew how delicate the situation was; any wrong decision could gain her the displeasure of her beloved people and overthrow her. She readily admitted ruling by popular consent and valued the advice of the parliament and her counselors.Something that deeply annoyed me was the frequent pinching and slapping given by Bess to her ladies in waiting and even her favorites. She is indeed known by her mercurial temper, especially in her older years but making her punish physically and constantly everyone around her gives her a childish behavior that seems far from her personality, even as a child.A subject much discussed about Elizabeth was her virginity. Plaidy preferred to follow the queen’s reputation and the iconic and virginal image she built to herself but other biographies do mention she had certainly some affairs. Some even suggest Thomas Seymour ravished her when she was an adolescent and living with her stepmother, Katherine Parr, leaving her somehow traumatized for her future amorous experiences.While rushing some important parts of Elizabeth I life, I do find this Queen of this Realm an excellent debut for anyone who would like to know this queen a little better. Jean Plaidy gives us an intelligent, empathic and very astute Elizabeth who learned since early age how to reach for her goals with patience and insight. She’s not a model of perfection or sainthood, she can be vain and egocentric but she was an inspiration to the men and women of her time and even today she continues to fascinate us. Elizabeth I was certainly a woman ahead of her time.As I mentioned before, this is my first Plaidy and certainly not the last! Thank you ladies of the Historical Tapestry for giving me this opportunity to discover another great author.Grade: 4.5/5(Posted at Historical Tapestry during the Jean Plaidy season)


One of my all-time fave books on Liz 1st. I also devour anything Philippa Gregory churns out. I dare say, I loved this one better than the Gregory The Virgin Queen..gasp!Yes, it is FICTION...historical fiction. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it after reading Gregory, but it was oh so worth it.I LOVE Elizabeth, so almost anything I get my hands on about her, I usually love, so take it with a grain of salt.I found this book on a dollar pile (!) at the flea market. Jean Plaidy also had some pen names, next on my list is "Me Enemy the Queen" by Victoria Holt. (She also wrote as Philippa Carr)But, this one is so good, it is written in the first person, as if the Queen is talking to you. It ends at the end of the Queen's life. It follows her as a newcomer to the throne, a great ruler, and finally a vain and lonely old lady. It is fantastic to get inside her head!


I do love Plaidy's historical fiction - she puts so much life into her stories. This is not to mention that her research is much more accurate than some popular authors I will not name.Queen of This Realm goes as far back as "Elizabeth" can remember in her life, the first memory being of her mother desperately trying to get the king to acknowledge her, just days before Anne's execution. As it follows along on the road of her life, you get a sense of the human behind the legendary title. She really was a fascinating person.

Edward Creter

"You can't control an independent heart."--Sting.In the case of Queen Elizabeth I, it's absolutely true.Queen Liz has beeen the subject of non-fiction books, fictional works, a mystery series and some very popular movies, two of which showcase the ravishing Cate Blanchett as her Majesty. But I think Queen of this Realm by Lady Jean Plaidy takes us more into her heart and shows us the woman behind the crown 'cos it tells the story from her perspective as if she's writing her own auto-bio. It's an amazing life she led! Queen Liz was put away in a tower by her sister, Queen Mary Stuart, who sees her as a threat to her throne of power. When Queen Mary dies, Liz takes over bigtime, ruling all of England by herself with the Grace and Dignity of her station. She's arrogant, manipulative and vaingloriou and often suffers delusions of her grandeur, yet she's also surprisingly human, as she loses trusted friends, often by her own hand, and pays a heavy price. Thru it all she remains a dominant force for her peopel and is true inspiration for men AND women of all ages to this day. It's time to give honor where it's long overdue. This Queen will rock you! Long live the Queen!


I have read other books by Plaidy but they were not this tedious. She managed to reduce this powerful, fascinating woman down to just her idolatry of men. I am sure that factored into her reign, but I didn't need almost 600 pages on it to the exclusion of her policies and masterful leadership.

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