Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
For nearly thirty years Queen Elizabeth of England and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, were uncomfortable rivals. Mary had succeeded her father on the throne at the age of six days in 1542, while Elizabeth ascended at the age of 25 in 1558. Both were highly intelligent and ambitious women and there was not room for both. Elizabeth was beset by enemies everywhere she looked, and haunted by the insecurity of her possibly dubious legitimacy, while Mary had been involved in murderous plots between husbands and enemies -–sometimes they were one and the same.
The author follows the personal and political relationships between both women skilfully, against a background of instability at home and abroad – a relationship that ended with Mary's execution in 1587. In view of the fact that she is writing about people who died over four centuries ago, her psychological insight into the characters of each is very impressive.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste