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Death and the Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal That Rocked the Throne

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In the tradition of Alison Weir’s New York Times bestselling Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, comes the most sensational crime story of Tudor England

On the morning of September 8, 1560, at the isolated manor of Cunmor place, the body of a young woman was found at the bottom of a staircase, her neck broken. But this was no ordinary death. Amy Robsart was the wife of Elizabeth I’s great favorite, Robert Dudley, the man who many believed she would marry, were ...

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Color photo section USA 2011 Hardcover 1st American Edition New in New jacket Book CONDITION: NEW 2011 St. Martin's hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), 1st American edition, 1st ... printing. Color photo section. CONTENT: On the morning of September 8, 1560, at the isolated manor of Cunmor place, the body of a young woman was found at the bottom of a staircase, her neck broken. But this was no ordinary death. Amy Robsart was the wife of Elizabeth I's great favorite, Robert Dudley, the man who many believed she would marry, were he free. Immediately people suspected foul play and Elizabeth's own reputation was in danger of serious damage. Many felt she might even lose her throne. An inquest was begun, witnesses called, and ultimately a verdict of death by accident was reached. But the mystery refused to die and cast a long shadow over Elizabeth's reign. Using recently discovered forensic evidence from the original investigation, Skidmore is able to put an end to centuries of speculation as to the true causes of Rob Read more Show Less

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Brand New First EditionSewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 430 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.Gift Quality - In a plastic cover

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New York, NY 2011 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 430 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from ... an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Death and the Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal That Rocked the Throne

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Overview

In the tradition of Alison Weir’s New York Times bestselling Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, comes the most sensational crime story of Tudor England

On the morning of September 8, 1560, at the isolated manor of Cunmor place, the body of a young woman was found at the bottom of a staircase, her neck broken. But this was no ordinary death. Amy Robsart was the wife of Elizabeth I’s great favorite, Robert Dudley, the man who many believed she would marry, were he free. Immediately people suspected foul play and Elizabeth’s own reputation was in danger of serious damage. Many felt she might even lose her throne. An inquest was begun, witnesses called, and ultimately a verdict of death by accident was reached. But the mystery refused to die and cast a long shadow over Elizabeth’s reign.

Using recently discovered forensic evidence from the original investigation, Skidmore is able to put an end to centuries of speculation as to the true causes of Robsart’s death. This is the story of a treacherous period in Elizabeth’s life: a tale of love, death, and tragedy, exploring the dramatic early life of England’s Virgin Queen.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1560 Amy Robsart, the wife of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I's favorite courtier, was found dead at the foot of a staircase with a broken neck, resulting in rumors that Robert had killed her in order to marry the queen, rumors that circulated even after a jury voted the death accidental. As Amy was of inferior social rank, the 10-year marriage was likely a love match. The couple were childless and often apart for months, and Amy's constant absence from court fueled speculation she suffered from breast cancer or some other illness. Skidmore (Edward VI) rejects the theory that Amy committed suicide but speculates that she fell from a short flight of stairs because of high levels of calcium in her blood due to cancer. Skidmore even considers the possibility that Dudley's servants, without their master's knowledge, slowly poisoned her, and finally resorted to breaking her neck. As Skidmore mines Robert's correspondence, the coroner's report on Amy, and ambassadors' dispatches, Tudor England in all its rich complexity springs to vivid life in a tantalizing, authoritative, and in-depth analysis of a centuries-old mystery that continues to stir imaginations. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"As Skidmore mines Robert's correspondence, the coroner's report on Amy, and ambassadors' dispatches, Tudor England in all its rich complexity springs to vivid life in a tantalizing, authoritative, and in-depth analysis of a centuries-old mystery that continues to stir imaginations.”—Publishers Weekly

“It was a scandal that makes Showtime’s “Tudors” look tame: Queen Elizabeth I and the married Earl of Leicester were so close that tongues were wagging across Europe. When the earl’s wife was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in 1560, speculation that the earl had killed his wife and would marry the queen nearly toppled the monarchy. Skidmore, a sitting member of the British Parliament and the author of Edward VI: The Lost King of England, attempts to solve the mystery using a long-lost coroner’s report.”—New York Post

“A valuable and interesting book . . . I must thank Chris Skidmore for a fascinating read, and the chance to look again at one of the darkest crimes on one of the most innocent victims of the Tudor world.”—Philippa Gregory, bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl

“The death of Amy Robsart in September 1560 remains one of the fascinating unsolved mysteries of Tudor history . . . Chris Skidmore deftly takes us through the whole scene and in doing so considers a completely new possibility which changed my mind.”—Antonia Fraser, bestselling author of Marie Antoinette: The Journey

“A brilliant study of the greatest unsolved Tudor mystery. . . . Death and the Virgin Queen is a meticulous account of Amy’s death and its aftermath. Skidmore writes brilliantly and his research is impeccable.”—John Guy, author of Queen of Scots: The Life of Mary Stuart

“A nicely fleshed-out portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603), with new revelations of the queen in love and the man who sought desperately to marry her. . . . Skidmore moves engagingly back and forth in the story, dwelling on how fresh scrutiny of the evidence may point to the answer of this terrible death. . . . A fresh elucidation of this precarious period of Elizabeth’s reign.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Historian Skidmore reaches back in time to investigate an unsolved mystery steeped in passion, jealousy, and drama. . . . Unearthing new evidence, including the original coroner’s report, Skidmore revisits the case with a scholar’s eye and a detective’s intuition. . . . a gripping read with an abundance of Tudor appeal.”—Booklist

“The death of Amy Robsart has always been one of history’s favourite whodunits . . . Chris Skidmore offers a detailed examination of evidence old and, crucially, new—and, along the way, a riveting exemplar of the degree to which it is, and is not, possible to solve a historical mystery.”—Sarah Gristwood, author of Elizabeth and Leicester: The Truth about the Virgin Queen and the Man She Loved

“Skidmore paints wonderful, intimate scenes of Elizabeth and Dudley . . . The romance between Elizabeth and Dudley has often been told, but rarely is anything added to what we knew before.  It is here.  Skidmore’s most impressive new material is the previously lost coroner’s report, which offers an important revelation about the nature of Amy’s injuries.”—Leanda de Lisle, author of After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England

"Drawing extensively on historical documents, including the original coroner's report, only recently uncovered in the UK's National Archives, Skidmore not only examines the various theories surrounding these long-standing questions but also provides an in-depth look at how Amy's death and Elizabeth and Dudley's relationship affected the early years of the Virgin Queen's reign. . . . owing to the wealth of detail, both academics and general readers with an interest in Tudor history will find much of interest.”—Library Journal

Library Journal
The relationship between Elizabeth I and her favorite courtier, Lord Robert Dudley, was one of the more infamous aspects of Elizabeth's reign—and it became an even greater controversy when in 1560 Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart, was found dead at the bottom of a staircase, her neck broken. The strange circumstances provided fuel for speculation then and now: Was it an accident? Suicide? Or a murder arranged to leave Dudley free to marry the queen? Drawing extensively on historical documents, including the original coroner's report, only recently uncovered in the UK's National Archives, Skidmore (history, Bristol Univ.; Edward VI: The Lost King of England) not only examines the various theories surrounding these long-standing questions but also provides an in-depth look at how Amy's death and Elizabeth and Dudley's relationship affected the early years of the Virgin Queen's reign. VERDICT Those hoping for an answer to this mystery will be disappointed, as Skidmore affirms that potential solutions rely too heavily on conjecture to be definitive. Nonetheless, owing to the wealth of detail, both academics and general readers with an interest in Tudor history will find much of interest.—Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Kirkus Reviews

A nicely fleshed-out portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603), with new revelations of the queen in love and the man who sought desperately to marry her.

Two years into her reign, Elizabeth was besotted with the dark, athletic Lord Robert Dudley, who was eventually beheaded by Queen Mary for his treasonous backing of the short-lived Lady Jane Grey. Elizabeth and Dudley had known each other since childhood, sharing the same tutors, and he was given the plum job of Master of the Queen's Stable, allowing him daily access to her and an assured rise of his fortune and titles. Elizabeth was expected to marry, wooed by all the princes of Europe, while Dudley, of a lower status, was married to Amy Robsart—probably out of love, though their marriage remained childless. In September 1560, just as rumors about the queen and Dudley were rampant, Amy was found dead at the base of a short stairwell at Cumnor Place. Her neck was broken, though the coroner's report noted several "dyntes" in her skull, which could have resulted from the fall. The death caused a scandal, and suspicion fell on Dudley, although he was absolved of wrongdoing. British author Skidmore (History/Bristol Univ.; Edward VI: The Lost King of England, 2007) moves engagingly back and forth in the story, dwelling on how fresh scrutiny of the evidence may point to the answer of this terrible death. Some of the evidence is well-known: Amy had been acting strangely that morning, praying on her knees, and insisted that the entire household attend a nearby fair, as if she had "an evil toy in her mind." Moreover, there were indications in her correspondence that she might have been suffering from breast cancer. On the other hand, there had been rumors at court that Dudley was planning to poison her. Skidmore revisits a libelous tract that appeared in 1584,Leicester's Commonwealth, as well as other accounts, in his thorough sifting of the historical record.

A fresh elucidation of this precarious period of Elizabeth's reign.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312379001
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/18/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRIS SKIDMORE was born in Bristol, England in 1981. His first book was Edward VI: The Lost King of England. He currently teaches history at Bristol University.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    Tudor Scandal, Engagingly Told

    The mysterious death of Amy Robsart, wife of Elizabeth I's court favorite, is explored in this thoroughly researched book. Skidmore has a gift for making this centuries-old scandal seem like the latest headlines, which may nettle some historians but which most readers should enjoy.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Elizaberh 1

    GREAT STORY!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Well written.

    Well written.

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