Monarchy and Matrimony is the first comprehensive study of Elizabeth I's courtships. Susan Doran argues that the cult of the 'Virgin Queen' was invented by her ministers, and that Elizabeth was forced into celibacy by political necessity.
Doran's detailed examination of the different suits is based on extensive archival research across Europe. Rather than focusing on Elizabeth's personality and image, she views the question within a wider political and religious context. She shows how the question of Elizabeth's marriage was divisive for England, affecting both political life and international relations, and provoking popular propaganda in the form of plays, poetry and paintings.