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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Queen's Bed

The Queen's Bed

An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court

Anna Whitelock



PEN Literary Award Winner


Queen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. For over forty years, her bedchamber was the heart of court. Elizabeth's private life was of public concern: Her body represented the State itself, and her bedfellows were charged with safeguarding both the Queen and her propriety. These women bore witness to the figure beneath the makeup and the raiment, and also to the Queen's rumored dalliances. They were her friends, confidantes, and spies-nobody knew her better. And until now, historians have overlooked them.

In The Queen's Bed, the historian Anna Whitelock offers a revealing look at the Elizabethan court and the politics of intimacy, dramatically reconstructing the Queen's quarters and the women who patrolled them. With expert research and lively prose, Whitelock weaves a fascinating tale of sex, gossip, conspiracy, and intrigue, brought to life amid the colors, textures, and routines of the court: the untold story of Elizabeth I laid bare.

PEN Literary Award - Finalist, PEN Literary Award Winner


The Queen's Two Bodies
At the heart of the court lay the Queen's bed. Here the Queen might finally rest and retire from the relentless pressures of the day. Yet it was more than simply a place of slumber. The Queen's bed was...

Praise for The Queen's Bed

“Anna Whitelock's skillful and detailed history will bring you closer than seems possible to this glittering, infuriating, fascinating woman.” —Hilary Mantel

“As Anna Whitelock's The Queen's Bed proves, there is still a new and fascinating vantage from which to consider Elizabeth I.” —Kathryn Harrison, New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

The Queen's Bed is filled with fascinating details of life at her court, with eyewitness accounts from diaries, letters, and pamphlets . . . A trove of interesting facts.” —Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal

“This is an intimate history of the court and a brilliant history of intimacy.” —The Mail on Sunday (UK)

“Engrossing and admirably researched . . . With this dazzling portrait of Mary's successor, she takes her place among the foremost--and most enthrallingly readable--historians of the Tudors.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

“Whitelock makes sparkling use of the eye-witness testimonies of courtiers, who recorded their impressions of the Queen in letters as gossipy and vivid as any tweet or Facebook post . . . The charm of Anna Whitelock's portrait of the Queen and her times is that it shows the monarch and the woman, in all her power and pathos, through the eyes of the people who knew her best.” —Jane Shilling, Daily Mail

“A great story, told with wit and verve.” —John Gallagher, The Telegraph

Reviews from Goodreads

Anna Whitelock

Anna Whitelock received her PhD in history from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 2004 with a thesis on the court of Mary I. Her articles and book reviews on various aspects of Tudor history have appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, and BBC History. She has taught at Cambridge University and is now a lecturer in early modern history and the director of public history at Royal Holloway, University of London.

image of Anna Whitelocko
Darren Lee Photography


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