A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to Roanoke Island and visited the Elizabeth II. While browsing the gift shop I came upon Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (Royal Diaries) and fell in love immediately. I love to read diaries, real or fictionalized, and I have a special affinity for stories of queens. So I bought the book, thinking it would be one of the things I read to make the trip home pass more quickly.
Somehow, I didn’t read it then, and did not even pick it up until this year. The book provides a unique look at what life may have been like for Elizabeth long before she was queen. It’s easy for historical figures like Elizabeth to become so much larger than life that we forget they were real people, once. Elizabeth I recreates the emotions and thoughts of an adolescent girl in a way that shows that even a princess feels the universal emotions of loneliness, fear, and doubt.
Elizabeth I addresses two themes especially well: a daughter’s longing for her father’s affection, and a keen political mind’s awareness of what it takes to be a successful ruler. Despite the fact that he had her mother beheaded, Elizabeth still loves her father and lives for the moments when he shows her favor. She is also an astute observer of the goings on in the world of royals and nobility, and early on comes to the realization that if she should become Queen, she must remain unmarried to retain her rule.
I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, loves diaries and memoirs and takes an interest in the intricacies of queendom.
Book: Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (Royal Diaries) (Affiliate Link)
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Original Publication Date: 1999
Age Range: Middle Grades
Source of Book: Purchased at Roanoke Island Festival Park Museum Shop