The Queen's Bed

The Queen's Bed

An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court

Book - 2014
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From the private world of a beloved English queen, a story of intimacy, royalty, espionage, rumor, and subterfuge

Queen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed.
Elizabeth's private life was of public concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic stratagems. Such was the significance of the queen's body: it represented the very British state itself.
In The Queen's Bed , the historian Anna Whitelock offers a revealing look at the Elizabethan court and the politics of intimacy. She dramatically reconstructs, for the first time, the queen's quarters and the women who patrolled them. It is a story of sex, gossip, conspiracy, and intrigue brought to life amid the colors, textures, smells, and routines of the royal court.
The women who attended the queen held the truth about her health, chastity, and fertility. They were her friends, confidantes, and spies--nobody knew her better. And until now, historians have overlooked them. The Queen's Bed is a revelatory, insightful look into their daily lives--the untold story of the queen laid bare.

Publisher: New York : Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780374239787
Branch Call Number: 942.055 ELIZABET
Characteristics: 462 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 24 cm


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claralex800 Jun 11, 2017

Someone forgot to proofread this book (there's a duplicated sentence at the beginning of chapter fifty-something in the copy I got), but with more than sixty chapters you can see why they might have missed something. This is an "intimate history" in that all the usual (I would assume) things are included, but with a little more emphasis on the Queen's ladies. It isn't just about the ladies-in-waiting and maids of honour and suchlike, like I thought it would be. This is something to read if you're interested in the history of this time and are able to keep hundreds of names straight.

Jan 12, 2015

Well researched and excellently written account of the reign of Elizabeth I, with the emphasis being less on the Queen herself, but the people around her: courtiers, ladies in waiting, servants of the bedchamber, political advisors etc. Very busy court and ALOT of things going on that I wasn't aware of. Highly recommended for those into British history.


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