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ARBELLA STUART: The Uncrowned Queen
Bibliophile price: £7.50
"Where London's tower its turrets show so stately by the Thames side, Fair Arbella, child of woe for many a day had sat and sighed..." In 1562 Queen Elizabeth I lay dying of smallpox, and the curse of the Tudor succession again reared its head. The Queen was to recover, but the issue remained - if the Queen did not produce an heir, who was the next in line to the throne? Lady Arbella Stuart was cousin to both the English Queen and James VI of Scotland, a woman whose parents' marriage had been orchestrated to provide an heir to the English throne. Raised by her formidable grandmother Bess of Hardwick, Arbella lived her life in Elizabeth's shadow and unfortunately at her mercy. Derbyshire historian Jill Armitage revitalises Arbella's tale, focussing on her lineage, life and legacy. We are in the company of a well-born, well-educated woman desperate to control her own fate who is ultimately powerless against the scheming Tudor court. Armitage explores the harsh consequence that comes from being on the wrong side of the revenge of a jealous and calculating Queen. Arbella had offended James by disobeying his wish that she should not marry William yet she had no wish to act against him or aid the Catholics. She wanted her freedom and as a fluent linguist and woman of culture, life on the Continent would not have been disagreeable to her. Chapters include The Two Conspiratorial Countesses, The Chatsworth Household, Arbella At the Royal Court, Arbella Returns to Derbyshire, Marriage Negotiations and Broken Promises, A Virtual Prisoner at Hardwick for 13 Years, The Story of the Sisters Jane and Katherine Grey, the Costly Court of King James, The Secret Wedding and Its Consequences, The Escape Plans Fail and Arbella in the Tower of London. "The general public, moved by the romance of Arbella's escape, abhorred the King's harsh treatment of her." 287pp, 30 illus, many colour.

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