Their affair is the scandal of Europe. Queen Elizabeth presents herself as the Virgin Queen but cannot resist her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley. Many believe them to be lovers, and there are scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all.
The formidable young Queen is regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes covet Tudor England and seek her hand in marriage. Desperately insecure, Elizabeth embarks on a perilous balancing act, using sex and high-powered diplomacy to play what becomes known as ‘the Marriage Game’, and coquettishly dangling suitors to keep them friendly to her kingdom, while holding them off indefinitely.
Elizabeth is formidably intelligent, brave and tempestuous, but because of tragic events in her past she cannot give herself to any man. It is the game of love that is the breath of life to her - the thrill of the chase, the lure of forbidden fruit. But playing this dangerous, tantalising game with Robert Dudley, the son and grandson of traitors, could cost her the throne…
Elizabeth’s marriage game is played out amidst the colour and splendour of the Tudor court and the most famous events of a great age, culminating with the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. It is a dramatic, complex, often funny, and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss, and at its heart is our greatest Queen – charismatic, iconic, yet beleaguered – and the emotional truth of one of history’s most extraordinary love affairs.show more