Page 78. " Denny was one of the smoothest operators of the age; Paulet, one of its great survivors "
Sir Anthony Denny (probably) Artist unknown
Public DomainSir Anthony Denny (probably) Artist unknown - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

After the arrest of Thomas Seymour, it is known that both Sir Anthony Denny and William Paulet visited Elizabeth at Hatfield and probably advised her on the best way to handle the situation she found herself in.   Elizabeth had stayed with Sir Anthony Denny after she left Catherine Parr's house in Chelsea.


One of the prominent members of the Privy Council and of the royal court itself during Henry's reign, Sir Anthony Denny was to remain friend to Elizabeth, and husband to the sister of Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess and long-time confidante.


Sir William Paulet enjoyed not only a remarkably long career, but also a very prosperous one at a time when many others did not.  The offices he held under Henry were of the very highest, becoming one of the Regency Council appointed to rule for the young  prince Edward upon the death of his father Henry VIII.  Close to Edward during his short reign, he managed to retain his offices during Mary's reign and to prosper under Elizabeth, who was to prove loyal to those who had befriended her as a princess.  He still held the office of Lord Treasurer when he died in 1572.  As his date of birth is believed to have been in either 1483 or 1485, his was an astonishingly long life, given that the average life span was considerably less.

Page 80. " select orations of Isocrates, and the tragedies of Sophocles "
Bust of Isocrates
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBust of Isocrates - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Isocrates (436-338BC), an ancient Greek rhetorician and one of the ten Attic Orators, was  probably the most influential rhetorician of his time.  His contribution to education and rhetoric was considerable.

Bust of Sophocles
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBust of Sophocles - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sophocles (497/6-406/5BC) is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived.  Those of Aeschylus and Euripides are the only others.  Sophocles had a great influence on the development of drama and of characterisation.

Page 83. " Aylmer, later Bishop of London, was a friend of Ascham and the beloved tutor of Lady Jane Grey. "
The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche 1883
Public DomainThe Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche 1883 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lady Jane Grey (1536/7-1554) is also known as The Queen of Nine Days as that is as long as she ruled before her execution for high treason under the order of Mary I.  When he was close to death in 1553 Edward VI named this  great-granddaughter of Henry VII by his younger daughter Mary as his successor, overuling the Third Act of Succession which proclaimed Mary and Elizabeth, daughters of Henry VIII and Edward VI's sisters as the rightful heirs to the throne.  Jane spent her short reign in the Tower and was imprisoned there when the Privy Council changed sides and gave their allegiance to Mary.  Mary proved reluctant to give the order for her execution until the Wyatt Rebellion against her plans for a Spanish marriage forced her to reconsider.  Jane Grey was beheaded on 12 February 1554

Jane Grey was also resident in Catherine Parr's house at the same time as Elizabeth, following Henry's death.  Her tutor, John Aylmer, later to become Bishop of London, would have got to know Elizabeth at this time as Jane Grey, like Elizabeth herself, was considered to be amongst the best educated women of her time.

Helena Bonham Carter plays Lady Jane Grey at her execution in the 1986 film Lady Jane

Page 84. " acquired as her townhouse the Protector's former palace of Somerset House "
Old Somerset House by Jan Kip. 1722
Public DomainOld Somerset House by Jan Kip. 1722 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Somerset House on the Strand in central London, was acquired by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector in 1549, when he built himself the imposing town house using materials plundered from nearby buildings, including some of the chantries and cloisters of St Paul's Cathedral, seized as part of the Dissolution of the Monastries.  Somerset himself became a victim of his own success, after making too many enemies within the Privy Council, and was beheaded in 1552.

During this period of her life the Princess Elizabeth adopted a very plain style in keeping with her Protestant religious beliefs.  Her clothes were plain, in stark contrast to the magnificence of jewellery and embroidery worn by her sister Mary.  Elizabeth's image was one of piety and modesty, perhaps to play down the previous scandal of her behaviour with Thomas Seymour and also to demonstrate her like-mindedness with her Protestant brother Edward, who, according to William Cambden, a contemporary biographer of Elizabeth, called her "his sweet sister Temperance".   Edward, while looking favourably at his modest sister Elizabeth, was highly critical of the more flamboyant Mary.  Mary not only was a faithful devotee of the highly ritualised and ornamented Catholic Church ceremonies, but also favoured brightly coloured clothes and, in Edward's view, "foreign dances and merriment which do not become a most Christian princess".

Page 84. " The thought of the lugubrious Bloody Mary as a bit of a goer and the exuberant Gloriana as a Puritan Maid rather taxes the imagination. "
Elizabeth I of England. The Armada Portrait by George Gower 1588
Public DomainElizabeth I of England. The Armada Portrait by George Gower 1588 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The famous portrait of Elizabeth after the victory over the Spanish Armada embodies the later image of her as Gloriana, rather than as a "Puritan Maid" and Edward's "sweet sister Temperance".  By this stage in her life, Elizabeth's image was very much more flamboyant, and powerful, as befitted a successful and popular monarch.  In the portrait, Elizabeth's right hand is seen resting on the globe, illustrating her international standing and influence.


Gloriana was the name given to the character depicting Elizabeth in Edward Spenser's poem, The Faerie Queene.  It became very popular, as applied to Elizabeth, so much so that the troops at Tilbury shouted 'Gloriana, Gloriana, Gloriana' in response to her address to them after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.


Gloriana is also the title of an opera by Benjamin Britten, first performed in 1953.  Based on Lytton Strachey's Elizabeth and Essex, it tells the story of the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester.

Page 90. " The history of the Dudleys and the Tudors were intertwined "
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester attributed to Stephen van der Meulen c.1650
Public DomainRobert Dudley, Earl of Leicester attributed to Stephen van der Meulen c.1650 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Robert Dudley was a man who figured very largely in the life of Elizabeth and came from a family who experienced the many up and downs in fortune likely to occur during this time.  His grandfather, Edmund, a minister of Henry VII's, Elizabeth's grandfather, was executed by Henry VIII for treason.  Edmund's son, John Dudley then worked tirelessly to restore the family's standing until be became one of the Privy Council of Edward VI. Not only one member, but one of its most powerful, he successfully overcame the influence of Somerset until, after the Protector's fall, Dudley was instrumental in the arrival at court of Elizabeth for the Christmas festivities in 1549, signalling his allegiance with both Elizabeth and the Protestant faith in preference to Mary.  However, after the death of Edward, rather than obey Henry's Act of Succession, he attempted to carry out Edward's dying wish that Elizabeth and Mary be overlooked in favour of Lady Jane Grey.  For his, major, part in this, he was condemned as a traitor by Mary when she ascended the throne and executed in 1553.  Although Robert Dudley was himself also condemned as a traitor and imprisoned, he escaped execution.


Robert Dudley, because of the close family relationships, thus knew Elizabeth from an early age and was to become her favourite courtier and a suitor for her hand in marriage.  Much has been written and speculated upon over the relationship between the queen and her favourite but although he tried for many years, and became one of the most powerful and influential of courtiers, he never secured the marriage with the queen that seems to have been his ultimate goal.                                                     

Page 94. " Ashridge was situated on high ground, surrounded by the woods and rich hunting forests of Hertfordshire "

Ashridge, in Hertfordshire, was seized by Henry VIII as part of his Dissolution of the Monasteries and later acquired by Elizabeth, who as princess, was arrested for treason while there in 1552.  The area retains part of the original forest and is situated in the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty


Google Map


Page 96. " four with the history of Hercules, six of the Triumphs of Petrarch and another six with the City of Ladies "
Bronze of Hercules. Roman 2nd century BC
Public DomainBronze of Hercules. Roman 2nd century BC - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ordered by the Oracle at Delphi to serve Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, Hercules had to perform a series of tasks known as the Labours of Hercules.  These twelve tasks included the slaying of many dangerous creatures and although Hercules had no scruples about cheating to accomplish his mission he became renowned for saving mankind from the monsters he killed.



The Triumph of Death. Flemish tapestry c.1510-20 Victoria and Albert Museum London
Public DomainThe Triumph of Death. Flemish tapestry c.1510-20 Victoria and Albert Museum London - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) was one of the earliest Renaissance humanists.  He is often called the Father of Humanism and is also one of the first to refer to the Dark Ages.  His poem the Trionfi (The Triumphs) is one of his better known works.  It depicts the triumphs of love over chastity, then chastity over love, death over chastity, fame over death, time over fame and eternity over time.



From the Book of Ladies by Meister c.early 15th century
Public DomainFrom the Book of Ladies by Meister c.early 15th century - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Book of the City of Ladies (1405) by Christine de Pisan was written in response to what she saw as Jean de Meun's misogynism in his work The Romance of the Rose.  In the book she collects famous women from throughout history to 'live' in a city exclusively inhabited by women as an allegorical defence of women's rights.  Chritine de Pisan was also an advocate of equality in education for men and women.

Page 97. " she was, Thatcher-like, to apply these same techniques of good housewifery to the finances of the kingdom "
Margaret Thatcher. 1990
Creative Commons AttributionMargaret Thatcher. 1990 - Credit: Jay Galvin

 Margaret Thatcher, first and, to date only, woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979-1990), compared running the British economy to managing a housewife's budget when she sought to reduce government borrowing.

Upon becoming Prime Minister she resolved to halt what she perceived as a national decline, with the de-regulation of the financial sector, the selling of state-owned enterprises and a more flexible labour market.  Although her popularity was, at the time, on the decline, Britain's involvement in the Falklands War in 1982 renewed support for her, until the late 1980s.

Nicknamed the "Iron Lady" in response to her hard line in dealing with the then Soviet Union, she also took tough measures to break the strength of the trades unions.  She resigned when her popularity declined over the controversial Community Charge and when her opinions on the European Union differed from others in her Cabinet. Although she returned to the House of Commons as a backbencher for two years following her resignation, she finally retired as a Member of Parliament in 1992, at the age of 66. 

Page 100. " Nell Gwyn, Charles II's rumbustious mistress "
Portrait of Nell Gwyn by Sir Peter Lely c.1675
Public DomainPortrait of Nell Gwyn by Sir Peter Lely c.1675 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Nell Gwyn (1650-1687) was an actress who became the most famous of King Charles II's mistresses.  Well-known in her day, her story has become part of popular folk culture with its echoes of the classic Cinderella-like rags-to-riches tale.

After being employed to sell oranges at the newly licensed Theatre in Bridges Street, (later to become the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) she went on to become an actress.  The new style Restoration comedy suited her talents, making her a star of the London theatre.  The affair with Charles II seems to have begun in 1668, and although Charles was by no means the first rich man with whom Nell had affairs, he was by far the most prestigious.  After the death of King Charles on 6th February 1685, his brother James II, who succeeded him to the throne, proved faithful to Charles's wish to 'not let poor Nelly starve'; he paid off her debts and made her an allowance.  Nell outlived Charles by three years, and died of a stroke.  During her time with the King, she had two sons by him and was the only one of his many mistresses to enjoy public popularity.


Part of an historical monologue, 400 Years of English History by George S. Stuart.  This except contains an anecdote about Nell Gwyn.