OVERRIDE

Death and the Virgin Queen

Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal That Rocked the Throne

Chris Skidmore

St. Martin's Press

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.

REVIEWS

Praise for Death and the Virgin Queen

"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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Chris Skidmore

  • Chris Skidmore was born in Bristol, England in 1981. His first book was Edward VI: The Lost King of England. He taught history at Bristol University is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 2010 he was elected as a British Member of Parliament.
  • Chris Skidmore © Nick Skidmore
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    Death and the Virgin Queen

    Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal That Rocked the Throne

    Chris Skidmore

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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