I’ve read so much about the Tudors and all the troubles with keeping the line of succession to the throne of England, it was only natural that I would be curious about the history of what happened when the last Tudor died childless. After Elizabeth is a non-fiction account of that era.
Queen Elizabeth spent her early life in the upheaval of a British Monarchy that lacked a legitimate male heir. In order to bring peace and prevent the turmoil that plagued her father, Elizabeth Tudor declined to marry, instead claiming herself devoted to England. Queen Elizabeth never did name an heir, and there was no clear line of succession. She did, however, eliminate many possible heirs by imprisoning or executing them if it appeared they were trying to usurp the throne or gain too much power.
Despite history’s view of her reign as glorious, the last years of Elizabeth’s life showed much discontent in England, and though talk of the succession was viewed as treason, secret discussions did ensue. One such group were supporters of James of Scotland, the Protestant son of Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. It is interesting to note that despite a British law excluding him from the throne, his acceptance as Britain’s King happened very quickly and with much agreement from the ruling class.
The book goes on to relate the disappointments in the new king, from his continued persecution of Catholics, his largesse to the Scottish nobles at the expense of the treasury, and his insistence of uniting England and Scotland.
There were highlights of interest in this book, but there was also a lot of filler that was not particularly interesting to me. Either the succession of King James left little written history, or else this writer had a difficult time making this story appeal to me.
2 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2005