Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain

( 6 )


"From an acclaimed master of historical fiction, the final book in a captivating series that is "vivid and psychologically brilliant."
-Times Literary Supplement, UK

Philip, prince of Spain, the unwilling bridegroom of Queen Mary, has been warned about the queen's half-sister Elizabeth. According to all reports, she is a heretic, a rebel, and a potential enemy, and has a "spirit full of enchantment." Philip is immediately intrigued. Idolized by his aging wife, Philip holds the power to save the young princess, ...

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"From an acclaimed master of historical fiction, the final book in a captivating series that is "vivid and psychologically brilliant."
-Times Literary Supplement, UK

Philip, prince of Spain, the unwilling bridegroom of Queen Mary, has been warned about the queen's half-sister Elizabeth. According to all reports, she is a heretic, a rebel, and a potential enemy, and has a "spirit full of enchantment." Philip is immediately intrigued. Idolized by his aging wife, Philip holds the power to save the young princess, who has been accused of treachery by Mary and is under threat of death. The brilliant Elizabeth must walk the razor-thin line between Bloody Mary's jealousy and Philip's uneasy ardor. The final book in Irwin's timeless trilogy, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain follows the triumphs and tragedies, the battles of wit and will, between Henry VIII's spirited daughters.

"Brimming with vivid period details... Irwin depicts the iconic daughter of King Henry VIII and the beheaded Anne Boleyn with impeccable grace."
-Publishers Weekly

"I doubt if anyone could create more perfectly than Miss Irwin the illusion of a vanished age."

What Readers Are Saying
"A very elaborate chess game, with two highly intelligent people plotting every move with precision. Philip is a cold, emotionless man...whereas Elizabeth is fire itself. The novel also brilliantly shows how dangerous Tudor England was for a royal woman who was considered a very real danger to her sister's rule."

Margaret Irwin (1889-1969) was a master of historical fiction, blending meticulous research with real storytelling flair to create some of England's best-loved and most widely acclaimed novels, including Young Bess, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain, The Gay Galliard, and The Stranger Prince.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Irwin took the same tack with these volumes as Shakespeare did centuries before her: namely, using real events in her country's history as the basis for her fiction. Both titles, published in 1953 and 1948, respectively, follow young Elizabeth; her half-sister Queen Mary; Mary's fianc , Philip of Spain; and a cast of courtly players, most of whom are Royal pains. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402229985
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 800,928
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Irwin (1889-1969) was a master of historical fiction, blending meticulous research with real storytelling flair to create some of England's best-loved and most widely acclaimed novels, including Young Bess, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain, The Gay Galliard, and the Stranger Prince.
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Read an Excerpt

'My father has fought bulls singlehanded in the arena,' said the boy. 'He is brave as a lion. He has never been defeated. He is the Conqueror of the World. How could he be conquered-by a pirate fleet of heathen Moors?'

'The East is Europe's worst danger,' said a dry voice in dusty answer.

'It was. But my grandfather drove all the Moors out of Spain after they'd ruled and ravaged here for seven hundred years. And he was not half as great a man as my father.'

'No, but his wife was,' the tutor muttered, all but sniggered, and covered it with a hasty cough, his precise tone at once correct again. 'My Prince, it is not the heathen who have conquered the Holy Roman Emperor, the "lnvincible Emperor." It is the winds and the waves of the sea. Listen to the storm raging even now against this tower.'

He stooped eagerly forward, his sharp nose peaked against the light, his black-sleeved arm swooped to draw back the heavy curtain, and in a dramatic gesture pushed aside a wooden shutter.

Outside the small panes of glass a jagged landscape leaped into shape against a frantic sky. Those were not the Guadarrama range that Prince Philip knew, but the mountains of hell.

'Look at the lightning,' insisted the tutor, a stiff man but now curiously gloating, as many a peaceable man will do in a scene of violence in which he need take no part. 'Hear the rain flailing down on the stones of the courtyard far below. These are the enemy who conquered the Emperor Charles V at Algiers, smashed his great ships to splinters against the rocks, blew his tents away like dandelion clocks on the sea-shore.' Something chilled his enjoyment in his descriptive powers.

He turned from the window and saw his Prince looking at him. Philip said coldly, 'The storms show the wrath of heaven. It is God who directs the winds and waves. "He spoke and His enemies were scattered." Do you tell me that God fought for the Moors against the Emperor my father?' Another flash, a long rending crash tore the sky across as he spoke.

'This is blasphemy,' said the boy. 'God himself denies it.' Dr. Siliceo hastily snapped the shutter to again and pulled the curtain over it, shutting out the enormous scene from the stuffy glittering little room. Candle flames in the draught, which even glass, wood, and tapestry could not suppress, winked against the silver figure writhing on the crucifix, flickered over the livid blood-pink and blue in a Flemish picture.

'Certainly,' said Dr. Siliceo severely, 'it is blasphemy for Your Highness to deny victory to your illustrious father. That is exactly what I was explaining. You must write and tell him that you understand his defeat was caused by no human agency; it was by the command not of God but of the Devil.' As so often, Philip felt himself rebuked without quite knowing why. 'I will write,' he said heavily.

Yes, he must write. Yet again.

Pen, paper, and ink. More and more paper, more and more ink, yet another pen. He was always doing it. 'He fights and I write,' Philip muttered. It was all he could do, while his father fought battles, risked his life in them. 'Emperors don't get killed in battle,' Charles V had often scoffed to those who tried to restrain him, but he had very nearly disproved it this time. His wretched troops had been mowed down in a surprise attack in the drenching night, some had broken and fled; the whole army might well have been totally destroyed if the Emperor had not seized his sword and rushed into the front ranks, rallying them by his courage alone to drive their attackers back into Algiers.

If only Philip had been there at his side! But he would have been no use; only an added responsibility and anxiety to his father. His common sense saw it clearly though bitterly.

One day he would be a full-grown man, he would be a great soldier like his father; he would have more and bigger ships than any in the world, and his armadas would avenge this defeat suffered by the armadas of Spain.

Yet the hope of doing what his father had failed to do lay heavy as lead upon his spirit. Lethargy fell on him like sleep; he longed to sleep, to die, and never to be called upon to prove himself as great a man-no, greater even-than his father. 'Let me alone, for I am not better than my fathers.'

'Let me alone,' he said aloud. That of course could not be taken literally. Dr. Siliceo retired to a corner of the room and bent his head over a book, low, lower, as his breathing grew louder. He could sleep.

To sleep, to die, to lie forever carved in marble like the beautiful young Prince Juan on his tomb at Avila, who had never had to live to be King of Spain but had died instead at sixteen. Philip would not be afraid to die. But to live; to take over the mastery of more than half the world; to make swift decisions in the heat of action; to break the power of his arrogant nobles and then seem to make friends with them, while always distrusting them; to trust no one, depend on no one, to listen to advice and take none of it-yes, Philip was afraid to live. How could he ever do it all?

He was small, he was not very clever, and two great Kings would hem him in on either side, his father's lifelong rivals, older than his father and much bigger, two crafty wicked giants, but his father had outwitted and defeated them, outrun them in the race for the Empire. They were Henry VIII of England, huge as a bull, with a bull's brutal inimical stare, in the full flush of his career of murderous matrimony; and the sly 'Foxnose,' Fran├žois I of France, also well over six feet, whom his father had conquered and captured in battle and held as his prisoner for two years in Madrid. The French would never forgive it, watched always for the chance to attack Spain with every ally they could muster, even the heathen Moors.

Yes, the Very Christian King of France had actually joined forces with the fanatic enemies of Christ, with the Sultan, Soliman the Magnificent, and his slave-born sea-captain Barbarossa the Red-beard, and helped them to build up this pirate fleet at Algiers with the Moors who had been driven out of Spain. From that ancient port on the North African shore they raided the seaports of Spain, destroyed Spanish shipping and trade, and drove the wretched coast-dwellers further and further inland to the safety of the mountains.

'Three things from which no man is safe,' said the old Moorish proverb. 'Time, the sea and the Sultan.' And now the sea and the Sultan had defeated his father, and no man was safe. No man was safe until he was dead.

The boy laid down his pen on the blank sheet of paper and stared at the tortured figure on the crucifix. Yes, even He was safe in spite of His sufferings, since there had been nothing more to do but suffer unto death.

He rose and walked to the window, making no sound even when he drew back the curtain and the shutter. No lightning now pierced the dreadful night; nothing could be seen. Yet he saw something, the pale glimmer of a face framed in a nun's coif, and it was looking at him.

It could not be; the tower rose sheer from the rock, no one could be there, floating in space fifty feet above the ground. He was seeing a vision, a nun's face. Relief surged over him in an engulfing wave; God had sent him the answer to all his fears and doubts of himself in the world; He meant him to renounce the world and become a monk.

The nun's lips were moving, speaking to him; he could hear no word through the thick glass, nor could he do so, if the window were open, against the roar of the tempest. Yet he knew what she was saying to him, dead contrary to his thought. 'Go back,' she said, 'back to all you have to do.'

'I have not the strength.'

'You will have all the strength you can bear.'

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2011


    ELIZABETH AND THE PRINCE OF SPAIN by Margaret Irwin is a historical fiction set in 1541 England.It is the final book in the Elizabeth I trilogy.See Young Bess and Elizabeth,Captive Princess.This is an intriguing story of Elizabeth,King Henry VIII's,
    daughter,the beheading of Anne Boleyn,and Phillip, the Prince of Spain.It has treachery,betrayal,sibling rivalry,tragedy,truimphs,the battle between King Henry VIII's daughters,danger to one sister through another sister's rule and jealousy.This is a compelling and captivating story of Tudor England. It will pull you into the Tudor era,a vanishing age and the danger of the era. This is a must read for fall Tudor England,and anyone who enjoys the King Henry VIII rule.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher.Details can be found Sourcebooks,Landmark,a division of Sourcebooks,Inc. and My Book Addiction Reviews.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling Historical Fiction

    Elizabeth And The Prince Of Spain opens with the marriage of Prince Philip of Spain to Elizabeth's sister, Mary. Mary is the daughter of Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and she has no sisterly love for the offspring of his next wife, Anne Boleyn. The marriage is one of political convenience for Spain; Mary is more than a decade older than Philip. While he is polite, he has no real interest in Mary. Mary, on the other hand, after a lifetime of no love interest, falls devotedly and jealously in love with Philip.

    This love is both the greatest danger and the safety net for Elizabeth. Left to her own devices, Mary would put Elizabeth back in the Tower and take her life. Instead, to please Philip, she restrains herself, and even brings Elizabeth to court. This is a double-edged sword. While she pleases Philip, she now watches his every move intently, afraid that he will fall under Elizabeth's spell.

    Elizabeth also faces the double-edged sword. She must please Philip enough to retain him as her protector and keep him interested in her, but at the same time, she must keep him at arm's length. An affair with Philip would end her life as it would be the one crime Mary would never forgive.

    Margaret Irwin has written a trilogy about Elizabeth and this one is the third in the series. It easily stands alone, however, as there is little suspense in the story of the Tudors for most readers. Irwin's forte is characterization; her characters act in ways that are believable to the reader while retaining enough mystery to intrigue them. This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Thoroughly Enjoyable!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Originally published in 1953 this was the last book in Margaret Irwin's "Young Bess" series. Because it was written in an earlier era the book is not a racy bodice ripper - something that I appreciate. It's not that I'm a prude - but I do get a tad tired of the "sex sells" philosophy- especially in relation to good historical fiction writing.

    This book revolves around Philip of Spain's relationship with Elizabeth. The staunch Catholic, philanderer (depending on your point of view I guess) and husband of Elizabeth's half sister Queen Mary, lusted for Elizabeth. This aspect of Elizabeth's life provides a fresh point of view which I quite liked. I think Ms. Irwin did an excellent job of portraying the historical context and the book is rife with court life details. It's a book that I enjoyed reading and thinking about all of the "what ifs" made for some interesting "grist for the mill".

    I don't believe that I have read the first two books in this series - but would like to. It's a good stand alone book but reading it in series might be worthwhile. Sourcebooks does such a great job of bringing back some of "the best of the best". This is another highly recommended read for all historical history fans - especially those of us who love Elizabeth I .

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a reprint of the third young Elizabeth trilogy

    A religious zealot and totally dedicated to his nation Spain, Philip, King Consort knows he is to marry Princess Mary I. However, she mirrors him in terms of intelligence and beliefs. Instead he is attracted to his betrothed's dynamic sister, the Protestant Elizabeth. He loathes his desire for his future sister-in-law, as she brings out carnal feelings he knows are unholy. Neither is aware of what awaits them and their nations in three decades.

    At the same time they do their careful two steps, Robert Dudley is in love with Elizabeth. Obsessed with restoring God's laws, Mary orders the Papal legate Reginald Pole, the great-nephew of Edward IV and Richard III to lead the reversal of the heresy her father Henry VIII caused. However, the brilliant Pole who knows overturning the Anglican heretical legacy would be a tribute to his late mom killed by the former monarch. However, he lacks the energy and ambition to take charge of the royal demand.

    This is a reprint of the third young Elizabeth trilogy (see Young Bess: The Girl Who Would Be Queen and Elizabeth, Captive Princess: Two Sisters, One Throne) written in 1953. The story line has a historiographical feel to it as readers will see a different style and tone than in present day written Tudor novels. Still, fans of the era will appreciate the well written insightful look at three rivals competing for power at a time of intense turmoil.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    An attention grabber

    I was to chose a reading book for the English class I am taking to read in 2 weeks for a final that in coming up in 3 days. I havent completly finished the book, and so far what I have read has been interesting but i admit that I get lost in this book and a little confused. I have many questions about what I read in it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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