The story of Cinderella, sometimes called The Little Glass Slipper, is one of the most popular and enduring folk tales. Its central theme of the victory over injustice and oppression, through circumstance, has echoed, through many versions, all over the world from early times. The story tells of how a young girl, forced into servitude and poverty is rescued, with the help of magic in the form of a fairy godmother, to marry a handsome prince with whom she lives happily ever after. In many productions Cinderella is portrayed as beautiful but ragged, while two of her oppressors, the so-called ugly sisters are, by contrast, far from attractive but are dressed in expensively gaudy style.
Her simple working clothes cannot disguise the pure beauty of Cinderella, as Elizabeth, younger than her sister Mary, in her simple clothes, outshone the Queen. Unlike Cinderella, however, the Princess Elizabeth was no put-upon servant.
Emmanuel Philibert, Prince of Piedmont and Duke of Savoy (1528-1580), Catholic and Spaniard, was the suitor chosen by Mary's husband Philip for Elizabeth. As far as Philip was concerned, such a marriage would be ideal. As his own marriage to Mary seemed increasingly to be a failure from the point of view of securing the succession to the English throne for Spain, the next best thing would be to secure it through the Duke of Savoy. Philip exerted pressure on Mary to command her sister to agree to the marriage, but in this Mary proved to be an unlikely ally for Elizabeth and the marriage did not go ahead.
Niccolo Machiavelli, Renaissance humanist, philosopher and writer, is best known for his work The Prince, published in 1532, after the death of Machiavelli in 1527 at the age of 58. The Prince contains advice to a ruler on the acquisition and the retaining of power, and the means necessary to do both.
Edward III of England renounced his previously-held French throne after the Battle of Crecy in 1346. He retained some territories in France, namely Aquitaine and Calais and its surrounding area, known as the Pale of Calais. Calais, by 1453 and the end of the Hundred Years War, was the only area in France to be still held by England. It was finally lost to the French in 1558 during the reign of Mary I when Francis, the Duke of Guise took the city with French troops.
By 1558, Calais was the only reminder of the old Anglo-French empire that had existed from the Norman Conquest in 1066. According to David Starkey, it was a humiliating loss and important symbolically in the same way as the loss of Saratoga, which led to the loss of the American colonies, or Suez, which effectively 'heralded' the end of the British Empire.
David Starkey cites The Life of Jane Dormer as the source of much of what we know about Philip, as well as Jane Dormer herself. Starkey describes her as '...along with Elizabeth herself,...one of the most interesting women of the age'. Like Elizabeth's, Jane's family were torn by religious differences. Jane's father, Sir William Dormer, remained a committed Catholic, while her mother, Mary Sidney, was a Protestant. Although Jane knew Elizabeth from the time Edward VI reigned, the Catholic Mary was given her loyalty, especially during the last years of Mary's life. On this occasion, when Mary knew she had little time left, she sent Jane to Hatfield with jewels for Elizabeth and asked her to promise that, when she succeeded Mary as Queen, Elizabeth would settle her debts and retain the Catholic religion as it had been revived under Mary. According to Jane Dormer, Elizabeth replied 'that the earth might open and swallow her alive, if she were not a true Roman Catholic'. Whether or not Jane Dormer (and indeed Mary herself) believed her, is questionable.