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Elizabeth Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

Elizabeth Renaissance Prince

Biography / Autobiography   History   

Sue Baker's view...

Interestingly much of the research for this new look at Elizabeth I comes from foreign sources where Lisa Hilton has consulted archives in France, Italy, Russia and Turkey to see the Queen through different eyes, using material never before consulted. This puts a new perspective on Elizabeth’s life going from a Princess in fear of her life to a Queen whose reign is drawing to a close.

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Elizabeth the Queen, Alison Weir

Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Lisa Hilton has done a wonderful job of bringing a fresh approach to one of England’s greatest monarchs. Conceived in controversy when her father, Henry VIII, was effectively married to both Katherine of Aragon and her mother Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth’s life was never going to be straightforward. Before she was three years old, her mother had been beheaded and, through no fault of her own, she was disowned by her father, and although he relented, she had to endure four contrasting stepmothers. Elizabeth also had to play second fiddle to her siblings, Edward VI and Mary I, but her greatest strength was to learn from the mistakes of others, even if this made her irritatingly cautious at times. Hilton portrays a woman of her times, who made the most of her sexuality, exploited the men around her, and sat uneasily at the heart of a religious revolution.
~ Anthony Lafferty

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Elizabeth Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

'I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too.' Lisa Hilton's majestic biography of Elizabeth I, 'The Virgin Queen', provides vibrant new insights on a monarch who continues to compel and enthral readers. It is a book that challenges readers to reassess Elizabeth's reign, and the colourful drama, scandal and intrigue to which it is always linked. Lisa Hilton uses new research in France, Italy, Russia and Turkey to present a fresh interpretation of Elizabeth as a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince, delivering a very different perspective on Elizabeth's emotional and sexual life, and upon her attempts to mould England into a European state. Elizabeth was not an exceptional woman but an exceptional ruler, and Hilton redraws English history with this animated portrait of an astounding life. Her biography maps Elizabeth's dramatic journey from timid, newly crowned queen to one of the most powerful and vivid monarchs ever to rule England.


Whether you agree with Hilton or not, she brings balance to the view that we must judge Elizabeth through the prism of her gender. It is refreshing to be confronted by challenging arguments instead of tired anecdotes. This biography is also full of unusual and interesting insights. I loved the observation that the three most important men in Elizabeth's life were Cecil, Robert Dudley (whom she loved) and Philip II of Spain. Apparently she kept a painting of Philip in her bedroom. -- Leanda de Lisle THE SPECTATOR In this book, which draws on new research from Italy, France, Russia and Turkey, the cliched image of a bewigged farthingale with a mysterious sex life is replaced with Elizabeth, the Renaissance prince. The queen used her femininity when convenient but also transcended it. Distinguishing between the body natural and the body politic , Elizabeth saw herself primarily as a prince because royalty negated gender...Hilton's biography manages an impressive balancing act; while eruditely analysing Renaissance ideas and Elizabethan realpolitik it retains all the sexiness we have come to expect from books about the Tudors. Given the humanist education of a prince, Elizabeth was a scholar who eloquently crafted her own speeches. However, she was no blue- stocking; she used her sexuality to get what she wanted both for herself and her country. -- Rachel Trethewey THE INDEPENDENT A lively and colourful reassessment of the 'Virgin Queen
by a popular historian and novelist THE TABLET This book draws on new research from Italy, France, Russia and Turkey

- and the cliched image of a bewigged farthingale with a mysterious sex life is replaced with a queen who used her feminity when convenient, but who also transcended it. i NEWSPAPER She is our most written-about monarch but the author finds more to uncover -- Jonathan Bate THE TIMES ...a new approach to writing Elizabeth's life, one which places her firmly in the context of the European Renaissance and beyond. This is an interesting idea, as most biographies look at Elizabeth's life and reign from an overwhelmingly English perspective, an extension of our enduring obsession with the Tudors. -- Linda Porter HSTORY TODAY This biography is both informative and enthralling. It is grounded in facts, keeps speculation to a minimum (and even that little is well reasoned), and cuts through the legend to give a glimpse of the real Elizabeth, cunning and naive, generous yet petty. HISTORICAL NOVELS SOCIETY Lisa Hilton opens her new biography of Elizabeth I by outlining her leading idea: that Elizabeth was a new kind of ruler for England, a prince on the Machiavellian model, who held that the ruler's primary duty was the preservation of the state at any cost . By ruling in this way, Hilton asserts Elizabeth led her realm out of the Middle Ages and towards modern nationhood. -- Helen Hackett TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT Lisa Hilton's radical new biography of Queen Bess, employs new research from a variety of sources to look at Elizabeth's personal life and self-image. CHOICE While this is not an exhaustive history of Elizabeth's life and reign, Hilton provides us with an accomplished evocation of a remarkable ruler. Her book is as elegantly fashioned and ingeniously contrived as those pieces of Renaissance jewellery that Elizabeth loved to wear. -- Anne Somerset MAIL ON SUNDAY Lisa Hilton presents Elizabeth as a Machiavellian 'Renaissance Prince
who self

-consciously fashioned herself as 'male

About the Author

Lisa Hilton is the critically acclaimed author of 'Athenais: The Real Queen of France' and 'Mistress Peachum's Pleasure'. She was educated at Oxford University, and presently lives in Central London.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Lisa Hilton

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Biography / Autobiography



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