Sunday, March 9, 2008

Good Queen Bess

I've had a fascination for a while with Elizabeth I. Over the years I've collected many books about her life, the best being "The Life of Elizabeth I," by Alison Weir. Now, after recently watching "The Other Boleyn Girl," and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," my interest in history has been rekindled.

How to separate the myth from the history? The first thing I want to do after watching these films about Elizabeth is to run to the history books. That's a good instinct, I suppose. At the same time, I am mesmerized and romantically seduced by the mythical, goddess-like figure of the great Queen, as portrayed in drama by pretty ladies.

Certainly the story of Elizabeth I is a mixture of both myth and history, but even after 400 years we do have much accurate, historical information about her life. Click here for a
podcast from the BBC about how her image has waxed and waned in popularity over the centuries. Apparently, Elizabeth's image was not quite so popular during Victorian times. In contrast, Elizabeth I nowadays seems a cultural icon. (BTW, I joined the Elizabeth I fan club if you're interested)

In any case, popular or not, throughout the ages she has remained a formidable English monarch, a woman with "the heart and stomach of a king."

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