John Guy is arguably the world’s leading expert on Tudor history… [This is] a wonderful book and a magisterial account of the latter half of Elizabeth’s reign that calmly reassesses every claim and myth. The result puts the record straight, but it also allows Guy to produce a pacey and compelling story, replete with intricate spy networks, public scandals and inevitably sex. But it is Elizabeth’s human flaws that make the book so compelling...Masterly.
Jerry Brotton,Sunday Times

Guy is no ordinary historian. Few can match his ruthless obsession for accuracy. Between every line comes whispered reassurance: ‘You can trust me; I touched those documents.’ Guy the scholar melds perfectly with Guy the storyteller. Small tales are used to illustrate big issues. Under the weight of Guy’s scrutiny, familiar myths crumble. The weight of evidence suggests that he understands Elizabeth better than any historian has.
Gerald DeGroot, The Times (Book of the Week)

Elizabeth is at once more fragile and more monumental than she has generally seemed …While she believed herself a queen first, and a woman second, few others did. That tension animates the life. Guy is exquisitely attuned to the backwards-and- in-heels nature of Elizabeth’s reign ...A fresh, thrilling portrait
Stacy Schiff, New York Times

John Guy persuades us that pretty much everything we think we know about Elizabeth is wrong.
Andrew Roberts, Wall Street Journal

John Guy, as eminent a Tudor historian as they come, has set himself the explicit task of correcting Strachey’s colourful narrative of Elizabeth’s old age. The result is 400 pages of outstandingly documented scholarly detail ... scholarship that should earn the respect of popular and expert reader alike.
Kate Maltby, Spectator

One of the very best historians we have in the country. Guy is in his element prising off the myths that are barnacled to the queen. It is brilliant, vigorous history and a triumph of storytelling and scholarship
Jessie Childs, Daily Telegraph

[A] most excellent biography. It puts a cruel but clarifying lens on the vain monarch’s twilight years. She has never been more exposed than in Guy’s tome. A contender for history book of the year.
John Lewis-Stempel, Sunday Express

What emerges from the author’s great efforts to mine the archives for a truer picture is amore flawed Elizabeth—but perhaps a more human one.

Oft portrayed as fierce, this reveals an Elizabeth I who is in fact fallible and insecure.

There is a lot to like about this book. Energetic [in] tone …. Guy is a lively guide … Guy is especially good when describing the political machinations of Burghley and Walsingham …[and] Guy gives us a clean sense of a man [the Earl of Essex] who was brilliant, vain, petulant and self-serving in equal measure.
History Today

As you’d expect from John Guy, this is a very good read, a vivid and fascinating warts-and-all portrait of the ageing Elizabeth, backed by meticulous research.
Claire Tomalin

John Guy’s Elizabeth presents a beautifully rounded portrait of both the woman and the queen. Thanks to Guy’s prodigious use of previously untapped material, we see, for the very first time, the full panoply of ambition and insecurity, plotting and deceit that marked the middle years of her reign. This is a masterful biography.
Amanda Foreman

A gripping story of Queen Elizabeth’s last years, authoritatively researched and engaging recounted by the leading Tudor historian of our age. It will be of special interest to anyone interested in the political world in which Shakespeare’s Elizabethan drama is steeped—from anxiety over royal succession to England’s costly war in Ireland.
James Shapiro

Enthralling … the book is also beautifully illustrated.
Editor’s Choice, Bookseller

Absolutely one of the best biographies of Elizabeth ever.
Kirkus Reviews

Significant, forensic and myth-busting, John Guy inspires total confidence in a narrative which is at once pacy and rich in detail.
Anna Whitelock,Times Literary Supplement

Scholars and general readers alike will relish this fresh, illuminating portrait of one of England’s greatest monarchs ... impressive.
The Financial Times

Magisterial ... One is quickly aware that he has written what will be the definitive account of that era for the present generation.
Roy Strong, Country Life

The brilliance of Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years lies in the energy of its narrative, as well as in Guy's eye and ear for scene and conversation. To interweave all of this with the life of the queen is a formidable achievement. He has captured the complexity of contemporary politics ... Most striking is Guy's portrait of Elizabeth.
Stephen Alford, London Review of Books

Guy is a master of the early modern archive: few historians are better equipped to navigate the tangled skein of Elizabethan records, to judge their claims and counter-claims, and to make their silences speak … Guy’s careful work with documents known and unknown, scattered throughout Europe’s archives, allows him to paint a novel portrait of a complex – maybe even unknowable – queen.
John Gallagher, The Guardian

Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Biography Award and a 'Book of the Year' in the Economist, Financial Times and Mail on Sunday'

History has pictured Elizabeth I as Gloriana, an icon of strength and power - and writers have focused on the early years of her reign. But in 1583, when Elizabeth was fifty, there is relentless plotting among her courtiers - and still to come is the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, triggering a war against Spain and the Catholic powers that would lead to the dispatch of four more Spanish Armadas. We have not, until now, had the full picture.

This gripping and vivid portrait of her life and times - often told in her own words (and including details such as her love of chess and marzipan) - reveals a woman who was insecure, human (when unable to sleep, she ordered one of her servants to ride 'with all speed' through the night from Greenwich to Whitehall, seven miles in each direction, to fetch a white satin bolster he had forgotten), who kept a black African page-boy as a conversation piece and was unpopular even with the men who fought for her. This is the real Elizabeth, for the first time.

Elizabeth - cover
Elizabeth - UK cover
Elizabeth - cover
Elizabeth - US cover

What is distinct about John Guy's Elizabeth?

In what other ways is Guy's book different from others on Elizabeth's reign?