Check It Out: A royal collection of books on Queen Elizabeth I

With Women's History Month just ended and a royal wedding weeks away, what better time than now to read about one of the most influential royal women of all time — Queen Elizabeth I?

The first Queen Elizabeth has been written about and discussed, her life dramatized, for more than 400 years. Just 25 years old when she was crowned, the Virgin Queen ruled for more than 44 years. She died on March 24, 1603, and yet, every year, more books are published, more movies are made, and our interest in this fascinating monarch, arguably one of England's greatest, never seems to wane. The Newport Beach Public Library is sure to have something to satisfy your curiosity about all things Elizabeth.

Newly published is Chris Skidmore's "Death and the Virgin Queen." The death of Robert Dudley's wife, Amy, rocked Tudor England and changed the queen's relationship with her Master of the Horse. Was Amy murdered so Robert would be free to marry his true love, the queen? Or was it just an unfortunate accident? Using recently uncovered forensic evidence from the original investigation, Skidmore is able to paint a vivid picture of what might have happened on that fateful autumn day in 1560.

"Elizabeth's Women" by Tracy Borman looks at the important and complex relationships Elizabeth had with the women in her life, such as her long-time governess Kat Ashley and her cousin and rival for the throne, Mary, Queen of Scots. Better known for her relationships with her male advisors, this book takes a look at how influential the females in Elizabeth's life really were.

Alison Weir, a noted Tudor scholar, has written excellent fiction and nonfiction about the queen. "The Lady Elizabeth" takes a look at Elizabeth's formative years before she was crowned. "The Life of Elizabeth I" is a highly readable biography encompassing Elizabeth's entire life. Weir skillfully brings the past alive in both entertaining and informative books.

Several movies dramatizing the life of the queen have been made over the years. One of the best is 2005's "Elizabeth I," featuring Helen Mirren as the queen and Jeremy Irons as her favorite Dudley. Focusing on the last 25 years of Elizabeth's reign, including the glorious triumph over the Spanish Armada in 1588, this film portrays Elizabeth in all her prominence as well as her vulnerability.

"The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer" by Lucy Weston is a fun take on the recent craze that has historical figures battling the undead. Elizabeth faces King Arthur's son, Mordred, who became a vampire 1,000 years ago. Descended on her mother's side from Morgaine, the original vampire slayer, Elizabeth is poised to assume her birthright and battle Mordred for her kingdom. Elizabeth shines as the heroine ready to battle to the death for her beloved England.

Check out these and many more offerings the Newport Beach Public Library has on Queen Elizabeth I and the rest of the Tudor period in English history.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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