The Last Tudor

Author's Notes

Elizabeth I of England is storied in movies and legend and according to all approved accounts never married, nor ever bred, nor ever had an heir. She was, say the official reports, too much the queen, too much the political mastermind, to risk the danger of either a husband or a child, either of whom might — if he acted typically as kings and princes of England were in the habit to do — attempt to maneuver her off her throne. Elizabeth therefore pretended to love, pretended to flirt and dance with her would be suitors, but always maintained her eye on the prize of unlimited, uncontrolled, unilateral power.

So the story goes.

But was she entirely successful? Could the fiery young woman who danced with her ever-present flatterers and would-be lovers, who let them sleep next door, who rode with them to the stags and tempted them with outlandish kisses, keep them forever at bay? And could she keep the woman in her, the desire for the whole life apart from the life of the monarch, locked up inside her, without once knowing the fruites of passion? History says she did. An obscure painting, however, hanging in an out-of-the-way corner of Hampton Court Palace, says that she did not.

It is the portrait of a young, red-haired woman, painted by Elizabeth's court painter, adorned in a glittering robe upon which appear the Tudor roses, accompanied by a desperately sad sonnet. It is the portrait now described as "An Unknown Woman," but most of those who know, say that the unknown woman is the young queen Elizabeth. If that is so, the history of Elizabethan times ought to be re-reitten becaust the royal woman in the portrait is obviously pregnant.

The Last Tudor imagines the true emotions of the great queen who has forfeit her personal life to be able to hold and control all the power of the English crown. She is at the end of her days and now the issue of her succession is unavoidable. Which raises the question presented by the now-important portrait: Did Elizabeth have an heir, after all? And would he or she not have had the blood to be king? And if a Tudor were to survive Elizabeth, heading off the disastrous reigns of the Sturars who were to follow, would English history have been decisively different?

All these questions and the questions of royal power, flattery, intrigue, forbidden romance and treachery are bound up in the story of The Last Tudor.