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Best Tales Of Terror

by J E Neale

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Queen Elizabeth I By J. E. NEALE PREFACE THOUGH In a sense the product of many years study of Elizabethan history this biography has been written for a particular occasion and a particular public. The occasion is the fourth centenary of Queen Elizabeths birth the public is the body of lay men and women interested in a great historical personality. I have therefore removed the elaborate scaffolding of documentary authority used in the construction of the book. Some readers will no doubt regret the absence of references and apparatus criticw. I am conscious that it limits the usefulness of the work in one direction, but hope that it will extend it in another. Elizabeths lifestory is notorious for its bewildering problems. Even among scholars whose judgement,, through long familiarity with the strange, deceptive idiom of sixteenthcentury history, commands respect, there is room for difference of opinion. I can only say that I believe in the solutions adopted in this book. They are honest and considered judgements based upon careful study of the original authorities and reflection on the views of other writers. For bibliographical guidance the reader is referred to Conyers Reads Bibliography of British History, Tudor Period, the publication of which saves me from occupying space with a very lengthy list of books. It remains to express my warm thanks to those friends who in many ways and not least in bearing with an overdose of Elizabeth in conversation have helped me with my work. I am indebted especially to Professor R. W. Chambers and Dr Ing. I can best thank my wife for her unstinted help by remarking that I now understand why a wife almost always figures in a Preface. I once thought it convention - J E. NEALE "Chapter I BEGINNINGS ON Sunday, 7 September 1533, between the hours of three and four in the afternoon, Anne Boleyn gave birth to a child at the pleasant riverpalace of Greenwich. Its destiny was bound up with accidents of State, which none could then foretell: but this at least might have been discerned, that the birth was a symbol of the most momentous revolution in the history of the country. It was six years or more since Henry VIIIs fancy had been stirred by the black eyes, vivacious personality, and easy French manners of one of Catherine of Aragons ladiesinwaiting, and thoughts of divorce had taken final form in his mind. His was not a tale of lightoflove. He had opportunities enough of diversion, with no complicating problem of marriage and if other overwhelming reasons had not suggested divorce and re marriage, who can tell how long Anne Boleyns virtue would have withstood his siege? For it was not dishonour certainly not at the French Court where she had spent three years to be a royal mistress. The fact was that Henry as a king, and the second of a new dynasty, had no duty more urgent than to secure the future of his house by providing an heir to the throne.



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