Jeane Westin ~ His Last Letter

Anne here with guest Jeane Westin, who is talking about her new novel, HIS LAST LETTER. JeaneWestin 
  The blurb on the novel says: One of the greatest loves of all time —between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley —comes to life in this vivid novel. They were playmates as children, impetuous lovers as adults-and for thirty years were the center of each others' lives. Astute to the dangers of choosing any one man, the Virgin Queen could never give her "Sweet Robin" what he wanted most—marriage— yet she insisted he stay close by her side. Possessive and jealous, their love survived quarrels, his two disastrous marriages to other women, her constant flirtations, and political machinations with foreign princes. His Last Letter tells the story of this great love… and especially of the last three years Elizabeth and Dudley spent together, the most dangerous of her rule, when their passion was tempered by a bittersweet recognition of all that they shared-and all that would remain unfulfilled.

Anne:  HIS LAST LETTER is a terrific novel and I really enjoyed reading it. I particularly liked the inclusion of an interview and reading discussion questions at the end — perfect for a book group. Jeane, this is your second novel about Queen Elizabeth 1. What draws you to her as a subject?

Jeane: My first novel to include Elizabeth was The Virgin's Daughters published in 2009, which was meant to be about two of her ladies in waiting at the book ends of her reign.  It was about those two women, but somehow, Elizabeth seemed to take over the center.  She was too strong a character to only be observed.  (Anne's interview with Jeane about The Virgin's Daughters is here)

And that's what draws me to her once again in His Last Letter: her strength, her weakness, her contant contradictions.  Elizabeth is endlessly fascinating and endlessly new.  After that first novel, I had to write about her and her Robin.

Elizabeth&Dudley Anne: Elizabeth and her "Sweet Robin," Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, had a lifelong relationship, from their childhood to Leicester's death. Your book is a fascinating portrait of power and love, insecurity, jealousy and frustration, and the changing nature of love over time. What kept this relationship alive, do you think?

Jeane:  I believe it was hope on Robin's part that she would eventually marry him; he had every day signs of her love.  Why wouldn't he be hopeful?  That his hope lasted for more than 30 years shows how strong those signs were.

On Elizabeth's part, she needed him and trusted him above all others.  She was a shrewd judge of character and he must have shown his devotion in many ways.  She never allowed him from her side without great pain and he never left her without the same or becoming ill.  At first I questioned if the illnesses were real or faked, but whatever they were, his illness always brought her running and is a powerful example of her need and fear of losing him.

Anne: Tell us about the letter of the title. It's based on a real letter, isn't it?LastLetterCover 

Jeane: Yes.  It was the catalyst of the idea for the book.  When I read the original letter (reprinted in the back His Last Letter) in which he praised her physick and said it helped him better than any other, he sent a kiss for her foot.  It wasn't enough for me; I was not satisfied.  He knew he was dying, how could he have not written more, something tender, a remembrance, a hint at what they'd had together?  I determined that there must have been a second page, so damning to her claim to virginity that she had to destroy it.  We know that she locked herself away in the royal apartments without food or water for three days at the news of his death.  Her chief minister Burghley finally had the doors broken down in fear for her life.  That episode doesn't point to an old friendship, a youthful romance overcome, but a lifetime of love and longing.  From that well-known historical fact I began to see what they had been to each other. 

Anne: Why was the image of the Virgin Queen so important to Elizabeth?

YoungEliz Jeane: Elizabeth had been involved in two scandals, first at age 14 with Thomas Seymour and second with Robert Dudley shortly after she began her reign.  There were constant rumors about her and lovers, of bearing Robin's illegitimate children (one fake child showed up in Spain years later) and the much whispered accusation that Robin (and perhaps the queen herself) had murdered his first wife Amy.

Virginity was also important if she was to make a royal marriage with a prince or king on the Continent.  She played the marriage game for decades to keep France and Spain at bay and she was brilliant at this diplomacy.

Lastly, her virginity was important for the succession.  Claimants to the throne would have come from everywhere at her death and the country would have been divided and most likely riven by uprisings.

Anne: The structure of the novel is unusual in that, rather than a simple chronological narration, you move back and forth in time, with different memories and events overlaying each other like a richly textured jigsaw puzzle. Why did you choose this approach?

Jeane: It chose me.  I used two forward-moving story strands because I wanted to show both Robin's and Elizabeth's viewpoints about the defining moments in their lives.  When I began to write about them in the last three years of his life, 1585-8, the most important in the queen's reign, I quickly saw how the events were all tied to their earlier lives and struggles together and thus forced the structure of the novel.  Every chapter is headed with dates, places and the name of the viewpoint character.  The end of the preceding chapter indicates that a flashback is coming.  I hope no reader is mysified. 

 Anne: No, it's fascinating. There is both so much historical material on Elizabeth and her reign, and also so little. How do you, as a historical novelist, "bridge the gaps?"  

Jeane: I use what every novelist uses…imagination…but with good indications.  I make no judgments about their behavior.  I imagine it as it could have been, which is what all historical novelists must do.  We don't know what happened when they were alone together.  People talked about them and Lord Burghley wrote as late as 1572 (14 years after Elizabeth came to the throne) that the queen and Robin were lovers. 

 There are no letters surviving between them when they were young.  There were ears to whisper into.  As they grew older, they settled into a companionable relationship where he would inquire about her health (she was often ill) and she would give him instructions about his.  But she was capable of great anger, as I write about when he takes an English army to Holland to fight Spain, and he was capable of great hurt.

 They were jealous and loving by turns…a volatile relationship always.  Elizabeth hated Robin's wife, Lettice Knollys, wouldn't have her at court and openly called her "that she wolf" and probably worse.

Anne: Queen Elizabeth 1, like her father, Henry VIII, has been the subject of numerous films and TV series. Which are your favorites? And why do the Tudors continue to fascinate us after all this time?

Jeane: For me the most authentic Elizabeth is Glenda Jackson's and Robert Hardy's portrayal of Elizabeth and Dudley in Elizabeth R, the BBC six parter form the early 70s.  The most visually glorious are the more recent Cate Blanchett portrayals. GlendaQE1 

 I haven't seen the silent film versions, but I'd love to, especially the first one which was actually the first feature ever made starring Sarah Bernhardt.  It was an enormous smash hit, which pulled the movie business out of its comic short period and gave it a more serious reputation.

 The Tudors will always fascinate because they are larger than life.  They embody every human emotion writ very large.  The Tudor period was so different from ours and yet we recognize their struggles and their lusts.  I wonder how some of us would behave if we had unlimited power and money.  Personally, I hope there is always someone around to tell me no, even if it's just the small voice in my own head.

Confession: I was unable to watch beyond the second series of recently popular The Tudors and for the strangest reason.  The imprisonment and beheading of Sir Thomas Moore was so sad that I cried and gave up.

 Anne: Jeane has shared a small extract with us, from Chapter 5, where a young Elizabeth is imprisoned in the Tower of London by her half-sister, Queen Mary, not knowing whether each day will be her last.

The clang of armored feet and the clink of chain mail sounded on the stone stairs to her cell in the Bell Tower and Elizabeth’s body became rigid.  This was a sound she feared to hear night or day.  Were they coming for her as they had come for her mother, Anne Boleyn, eighteen years earlier; as they had come for Lady Jane Grey just days ago?  Would she be as brave before the ax as her mother and her beautiful, virtuous cousin?  She tensed herself not to tremble before the Tower guards.

“My lady, Elizabeth.”  A yeoman guard opened her cell door and stepped inside while more guards crowded behind him.  Her ladies looked up from their embroidery, but Elizabeth could not.  She was determined to hide her terror at every guard’s appearance.

Then she could not stop her words.  “Is Lady Jane’s scaffold removed?”

“My lady, I am not allowed to say.”

Her gaze darted to his hands, looking for the velum order signed by her sister Queen Mary, a death warrant to take the traitorous prisoner Elizabeth to the block on Tower green, the same green where her father, Henry VIII, had sent her mother.   Every royal family has its troubles.  She clamped her teeth together to suppress an almost hysterical desire to giggle.  She had been so often near death, gallows humor was all the jest she could allow herself.  But let no other defame a Tudor! 

She dreaded another questioning in the dungeon below with Mary’s Catholic bishops and her council, circling, threatening, reminding her of her mother’s fate amidst the screams of tortured prisoners, probably Protestant heretics.  It had taken all of her will, her father’s courage…and yes, her mother’s…to act as princess royal and heir to the throne.  She had not been broken, or admitted to any slight knowledge of the recent Protestant uprising led by Sir Thomas Wyatt.  They would not use her own words to damn her.  Could she help it if Mary’s Protestant subjects rebelled against their queen’s harsh conversion measures, wishing to set Elizabeth on the throne?  She’d refused to admit to the knowledge or commission of any traitorous acts, her blood running cold in her veins as screams from the rack’s victims reached her.  Her questioners intended to frighten her, but her back remained straight and she kept all fear from her face until they were well and truly reminded who they questioned and withdrew.

Elizabeth kept her gaze on weaving her needle in and out of the thick material as though determined to catch the last ray of late slanting sun.  They would not see her terror or her strange humor.  When fully composed, she lifted her face to reply.  “I remind you, sir, that I am the daughter of a king and therefore a princess.  I refuse to answer to the title of Lady Elizabeth.”

Anne: Wonderful – I loved that chapter.  Thanks, Jeane for visiting the Word Wenches and sharing your fascination with Elizabeth 1. 

Thank you, Anne, for these interesting and challenging quetions and to all the Word Wenches for their wonderful work in keeping a place in which historical novel lovers feel so at home.

Jeane will be giving away two copies of HIS LAST LETTER. She asks: What is your favorite Elizabeth feature movie and why?  And what is your favorite made for TV series and why?  Which do you prefer, historical accuracy or wildly cinematic as in Elizabeth, the Golden Age?  In your opinion, which actress portrayed Elizabeth the best of all?

70 thoughts on “Jeane Westin ~ His Last Letter”

  1. My favorite Elizabeth movie is the first Cate Blanchett one, Elizabeth. (I didn’t like the 2nd one so much.) I also enjoyed Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth version as well.
    I admit I haven’t watched the 70s version–but I don’t watch a lot of movies made from the 70s. They feel dated, which is weird since I know they’re portraying something from 400 years prior so why would it look dated? But it’s probably as you said: the cinematic stuff. The 70s version looks grainy, 2nd class…and the newer version is just gorgeous and more regal, more fitting to tell such a story.
    Made for TV series? Hmm. Probably Cranford and Return to Cranford. *LOL* Although The Thornbirds is good too. And I haven’t got to see all The Pillars of the Earth, but I’d like to. The part I saw was really good.
    I prefer historical accuracy. (I did not care for The Tudors, but I’m in the minority. Mostly I didn’t care for it because I don’t care for things that “glorify” Henry VIII who I’ve never found particularly likable.)
    Best actress? Hmmm. I really did like the Helen Mirren version, but there is something about Cate. Sometimes looking at her, I feel like she’s reincarnated the Queen Elizabeth we’ve always learned about, dreamed about–vibrant, fiercely intelligent, passionate, and beautiful–but not necessarily conventionally so.

    Reply
  2. My favorite Elizabeth movie is the first Cate Blanchett one, Elizabeth. (I didn’t like the 2nd one so much.) I also enjoyed Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth version as well.
    I admit I haven’t watched the 70s version–but I don’t watch a lot of movies made from the 70s. They feel dated, which is weird since I know they’re portraying something from 400 years prior so why would it look dated? But it’s probably as you said: the cinematic stuff. The 70s version looks grainy, 2nd class…and the newer version is just gorgeous and more regal, more fitting to tell such a story.
    Made for TV series? Hmm. Probably Cranford and Return to Cranford. *LOL* Although The Thornbirds is good too. And I haven’t got to see all The Pillars of the Earth, but I’d like to. The part I saw was really good.
    I prefer historical accuracy. (I did not care for The Tudors, but I’m in the minority. Mostly I didn’t care for it because I don’t care for things that “glorify” Henry VIII who I’ve never found particularly likable.)
    Best actress? Hmmm. I really did like the Helen Mirren version, but there is something about Cate. Sometimes looking at her, I feel like she’s reincarnated the Queen Elizabeth we’ve always learned about, dreamed about–vibrant, fiercely intelligent, passionate, and beautiful–but not necessarily conventionally so.

    Reply
  3. My favorite Elizabeth movie is the first Cate Blanchett one, Elizabeth. (I didn’t like the 2nd one so much.) I also enjoyed Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth version as well.
    I admit I haven’t watched the 70s version–but I don’t watch a lot of movies made from the 70s. They feel dated, which is weird since I know they’re portraying something from 400 years prior so why would it look dated? But it’s probably as you said: the cinematic stuff. The 70s version looks grainy, 2nd class…and the newer version is just gorgeous and more regal, more fitting to tell such a story.
    Made for TV series? Hmm. Probably Cranford and Return to Cranford. *LOL* Although The Thornbirds is good too. And I haven’t got to see all The Pillars of the Earth, but I’d like to. The part I saw was really good.
    I prefer historical accuracy. (I did not care for The Tudors, but I’m in the minority. Mostly I didn’t care for it because I don’t care for things that “glorify” Henry VIII who I’ve never found particularly likable.)
    Best actress? Hmmm. I really did like the Helen Mirren version, but there is something about Cate. Sometimes looking at her, I feel like she’s reincarnated the Queen Elizabeth we’ve always learned about, dreamed about–vibrant, fiercely intelligent, passionate, and beautiful–but not necessarily conventionally so.

    Reply
  4. My favorite Elizabeth movie is the first Cate Blanchett one, Elizabeth. (I didn’t like the 2nd one so much.) I also enjoyed Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth version as well.
    I admit I haven’t watched the 70s version–but I don’t watch a lot of movies made from the 70s. They feel dated, which is weird since I know they’re portraying something from 400 years prior so why would it look dated? But it’s probably as you said: the cinematic stuff. The 70s version looks grainy, 2nd class…and the newer version is just gorgeous and more regal, more fitting to tell such a story.
    Made for TV series? Hmm. Probably Cranford and Return to Cranford. *LOL* Although The Thornbirds is good too. And I haven’t got to see all The Pillars of the Earth, but I’d like to. The part I saw was really good.
    I prefer historical accuracy. (I did not care for The Tudors, but I’m in the minority. Mostly I didn’t care for it because I don’t care for things that “glorify” Henry VIII who I’ve never found particularly likable.)
    Best actress? Hmmm. I really did like the Helen Mirren version, but there is something about Cate. Sometimes looking at her, I feel like she’s reincarnated the Queen Elizabeth we’ve always learned about, dreamed about–vibrant, fiercely intelligent, passionate, and beautiful–but not necessarily conventionally so.

    Reply
  5. My favorite Elizabeth movie is the first Cate Blanchett one, Elizabeth. (I didn’t like the 2nd one so much.) I also enjoyed Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth version as well.
    I admit I haven’t watched the 70s version–but I don’t watch a lot of movies made from the 70s. They feel dated, which is weird since I know they’re portraying something from 400 years prior so why would it look dated? But it’s probably as you said: the cinematic stuff. The 70s version looks grainy, 2nd class…and the newer version is just gorgeous and more regal, more fitting to tell such a story.
    Made for TV series? Hmm. Probably Cranford and Return to Cranford. *LOL* Although The Thornbirds is good too. And I haven’t got to see all The Pillars of the Earth, but I’d like to. The part I saw was really good.
    I prefer historical accuracy. (I did not care for The Tudors, but I’m in the minority. Mostly I didn’t care for it because I don’t care for things that “glorify” Henry VIII who I’ve never found particularly likable.)
    Best actress? Hmmm. I really did like the Helen Mirren version, but there is something about Cate. Sometimes looking at her, I feel like she’s reincarnated the Queen Elizabeth we’ve always learned about, dreamed about–vibrant, fiercely intelligent, passionate, and beautiful–but not necessarily conventionally so.

    Reply
  6. I have to agree that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal is riveting. She portrays Elizabeth as a living breathing human being with all the fallacies and foibles that entails.
    The Glenda Jackson series strikes me as the more historically accurate. I prefer accuracy in that history has taken such a ding lately – rewriting it to suit political views or popular views much to its detriment. I prefer that our history be presented as it actually happened with the dichotomy, the good, the bad and the ugly intact. Otherwise it isn’t history. It’s just a story.
    And when it comes to television series you just can’t beat the BBC, ESPECIALLY North and South with Richard Armitage. (And yes some of that series’s appeal is strictly based on a shallow appreciation of how incredibly handsome Richard Armitage is. Because like Queen Elizabeth I I’m human too!)

    Reply
  7. I have to agree that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal is riveting. She portrays Elizabeth as a living breathing human being with all the fallacies and foibles that entails.
    The Glenda Jackson series strikes me as the more historically accurate. I prefer accuracy in that history has taken such a ding lately – rewriting it to suit political views or popular views much to its detriment. I prefer that our history be presented as it actually happened with the dichotomy, the good, the bad and the ugly intact. Otherwise it isn’t history. It’s just a story.
    And when it comes to television series you just can’t beat the BBC, ESPECIALLY North and South with Richard Armitage. (And yes some of that series’s appeal is strictly based on a shallow appreciation of how incredibly handsome Richard Armitage is. Because like Queen Elizabeth I I’m human too!)

    Reply
  8. I have to agree that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal is riveting. She portrays Elizabeth as a living breathing human being with all the fallacies and foibles that entails.
    The Glenda Jackson series strikes me as the more historically accurate. I prefer accuracy in that history has taken such a ding lately – rewriting it to suit political views or popular views much to its detriment. I prefer that our history be presented as it actually happened with the dichotomy, the good, the bad and the ugly intact. Otherwise it isn’t history. It’s just a story.
    And when it comes to television series you just can’t beat the BBC, ESPECIALLY North and South with Richard Armitage. (And yes some of that series’s appeal is strictly based on a shallow appreciation of how incredibly handsome Richard Armitage is. Because like Queen Elizabeth I I’m human too!)

    Reply
  9. I have to agree that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal is riveting. She portrays Elizabeth as a living breathing human being with all the fallacies and foibles that entails.
    The Glenda Jackson series strikes me as the more historically accurate. I prefer accuracy in that history has taken such a ding lately – rewriting it to suit political views or popular views much to its detriment. I prefer that our history be presented as it actually happened with the dichotomy, the good, the bad and the ugly intact. Otherwise it isn’t history. It’s just a story.
    And when it comes to television series you just can’t beat the BBC, ESPECIALLY North and South with Richard Armitage. (And yes some of that series’s appeal is strictly based on a shallow appreciation of how incredibly handsome Richard Armitage is. Because like Queen Elizabeth I I’m human too!)

    Reply
  10. I have to agree that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal is riveting. She portrays Elizabeth as a living breathing human being with all the fallacies and foibles that entails.
    The Glenda Jackson series strikes me as the more historically accurate. I prefer accuracy in that history has taken such a ding lately – rewriting it to suit political views or popular views much to its detriment. I prefer that our history be presented as it actually happened with the dichotomy, the good, the bad and the ugly intact. Otherwise it isn’t history. It’s just a story.
    And when it comes to television series you just can’t beat the BBC, ESPECIALLY North and South with Richard Armitage. (And yes some of that series’s appeal is strictly based on a shallow appreciation of how incredibly handsome Richard Armitage is. Because like Queen Elizabeth I I’m human too!)

    Reply
  11. Hands down, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, but then I think Blanchett’s talent is a gift from God.
    Television? I guess that would be North and South, which is such a rich, moving story.

    Reply
  12. Hands down, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, but then I think Blanchett’s talent is a gift from God.
    Television? I guess that would be North and South, which is such a rich, moving story.

    Reply
  13. Hands down, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, but then I think Blanchett’s talent is a gift from God.
    Television? I guess that would be North and South, which is such a rich, moving story.

    Reply
  14. Hands down, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, but then I think Blanchett’s talent is a gift from God.
    Television? I guess that would be North and South, which is such a rich, moving story.

    Reply
  15. Hands down, Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, but then I think Blanchett’s talent is a gift from God.
    Television? I guess that would be North and South, which is such a rich, moving story.

    Reply
  16. Thanks for visiting us again, Jeane! Queen Elizabeth is such an endlessly fascinating figure. As you say, the Tudors were larger than life, like all good romantic protagonists.
    Best Elizabeth? I’d probably go with Glenda Jackson, though it’s been a long time since I saw it. The miniseries length gave a better sense of how much time passed. But Cate Blanchett certainly dominates any screen she’s on.

    Reply
  17. Thanks for visiting us again, Jeane! Queen Elizabeth is such an endlessly fascinating figure. As you say, the Tudors were larger than life, like all good romantic protagonists.
    Best Elizabeth? I’d probably go with Glenda Jackson, though it’s been a long time since I saw it. The miniseries length gave a better sense of how much time passed. But Cate Blanchett certainly dominates any screen she’s on.

    Reply
  18. Thanks for visiting us again, Jeane! Queen Elizabeth is such an endlessly fascinating figure. As you say, the Tudors were larger than life, like all good romantic protagonists.
    Best Elizabeth? I’d probably go with Glenda Jackson, though it’s been a long time since I saw it. The miniseries length gave a better sense of how much time passed. But Cate Blanchett certainly dominates any screen she’s on.

    Reply
  19. Thanks for visiting us again, Jeane! Queen Elizabeth is such an endlessly fascinating figure. As you say, the Tudors were larger than life, like all good romantic protagonists.
    Best Elizabeth? I’d probably go with Glenda Jackson, though it’s been a long time since I saw it. The miniseries length gave a better sense of how much time passed. But Cate Blanchett certainly dominates any screen she’s on.

    Reply
  20. Thanks for visiting us again, Jeane! Queen Elizabeth is such an endlessly fascinating figure. As you say, the Tudors were larger than life, like all good romantic protagonists.
    Best Elizabeth? I’d probably go with Glenda Jackson, though it’s been a long time since I saw it. The miniseries length gave a better sense of how much time passed. But Cate Blanchett certainly dominates any screen she’s on.

    Reply
  21. Great interview and a fantastic excerpt.
    I have only seen the version with Cate Blanchett and I really enjoyed that one I really need to see the other versions and my daughter has the Tudors on DVD and I will be borrowing them to watch them such a facinating era.
    I am not a big TV watcher so most of the series that I have watched on the TV are from way back and one of my favourites was Winds Of War.
    Have Fun
    Helen
    Anne it was great meeting you at Coogee.

    Reply
  22. Great interview and a fantastic excerpt.
    I have only seen the version with Cate Blanchett and I really enjoyed that one I really need to see the other versions and my daughter has the Tudors on DVD and I will be borrowing them to watch them such a facinating era.
    I am not a big TV watcher so most of the series that I have watched on the TV are from way back and one of my favourites was Winds Of War.
    Have Fun
    Helen
    Anne it was great meeting you at Coogee.

    Reply
  23. Great interview and a fantastic excerpt.
    I have only seen the version with Cate Blanchett and I really enjoyed that one I really need to see the other versions and my daughter has the Tudors on DVD and I will be borrowing them to watch them such a facinating era.
    I am not a big TV watcher so most of the series that I have watched on the TV are from way back and one of my favourites was Winds Of War.
    Have Fun
    Helen
    Anne it was great meeting you at Coogee.

    Reply
  24. Great interview and a fantastic excerpt.
    I have only seen the version with Cate Blanchett and I really enjoyed that one I really need to see the other versions and my daughter has the Tudors on DVD and I will be borrowing them to watch them such a facinating era.
    I am not a big TV watcher so most of the series that I have watched on the TV are from way back and one of my favourites was Winds Of War.
    Have Fun
    Helen
    Anne it was great meeting you at Coogee.

    Reply
  25. Great interview and a fantastic excerpt.
    I have only seen the version with Cate Blanchett and I really enjoyed that one I really need to see the other versions and my daughter has the Tudors on DVD and I will be borrowing them to watch them such a facinating era.
    I am not a big TV watcher so most of the series that I have watched on the TV are from way back and one of my favourites was Winds Of War.
    Have Fun
    Helen
    Anne it was great meeting you at Coogee.

    Reply
  26. Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress (and she’s Australian ) but for me, the definitive version of Elizabeth was the Glenda Jackson one — Glenda Jackson had that inner core of steel and a kind of brutality that was so essential to who I think Elizabeth was. And Glenda was, I think, middle aged at the time, which carried a certain reality and poignancy to Elizabeth’s fading looks. I wish they’d put some of those old BBC series on DVD – the BBC made some magnificent TV.

    Reply
  27. Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress (and she’s Australian ) but for me, the definitive version of Elizabeth was the Glenda Jackson one — Glenda Jackson had that inner core of steel and a kind of brutality that was so essential to who I think Elizabeth was. And Glenda was, I think, middle aged at the time, which carried a certain reality and poignancy to Elizabeth’s fading looks. I wish they’d put some of those old BBC series on DVD – the BBC made some magnificent TV.

    Reply
  28. Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress (and she’s Australian ) but for me, the definitive version of Elizabeth was the Glenda Jackson one — Glenda Jackson had that inner core of steel and a kind of brutality that was so essential to who I think Elizabeth was. And Glenda was, I think, middle aged at the time, which carried a certain reality and poignancy to Elizabeth’s fading looks. I wish they’d put some of those old BBC series on DVD – the BBC made some magnificent TV.

    Reply
  29. Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress (and she’s Australian ) but for me, the definitive version of Elizabeth was the Glenda Jackson one — Glenda Jackson had that inner core of steel and a kind of brutality that was so essential to who I think Elizabeth was. And Glenda was, I think, middle aged at the time, which carried a certain reality and poignancy to Elizabeth’s fading looks. I wish they’d put some of those old BBC series on DVD – the BBC made some magnificent TV.

    Reply
  30. Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress (and she’s Australian ) but for me, the definitive version of Elizabeth was the Glenda Jackson one — Glenda Jackson had that inner core of steel and a kind of brutality that was so essential to who I think Elizabeth was. And Glenda was, I think, middle aged at the time, which carried a certain reality and poignancy to Elizabeth’s fading looks. I wish they’d put some of those old BBC series on DVD – the BBC made some magnificent TV.

    Reply
  31. Helen, it was great meeting you too.
    It was funny — I met Helen at the Australian Romance Writers Conference last weekend, and she told me she had all my books and loved them, so naturally I hugged her –they’re very huggy occasions, our conferences. And then she told me she read WordWenches, and something clicked and I asked, “Are you Have Fun Helen?” (because she always ends her blog comments with Have fun, Helen) and when she said she was, I had to hug her again, because we’ve been meeting cyberly on blogs for ever but never in person. LOL.

    Reply
  32. Helen, it was great meeting you too.
    It was funny — I met Helen at the Australian Romance Writers Conference last weekend, and she told me she had all my books and loved them, so naturally I hugged her –they’re very huggy occasions, our conferences. And then she told me she read WordWenches, and something clicked and I asked, “Are you Have Fun Helen?” (because she always ends her blog comments with Have fun, Helen) and when she said she was, I had to hug her again, because we’ve been meeting cyberly on blogs for ever but never in person. LOL.

    Reply
  33. Helen, it was great meeting you too.
    It was funny — I met Helen at the Australian Romance Writers Conference last weekend, and she told me she had all my books and loved them, so naturally I hugged her –they’re very huggy occasions, our conferences. And then she told me she read WordWenches, and something clicked and I asked, “Are you Have Fun Helen?” (because she always ends her blog comments with Have fun, Helen) and when she said she was, I had to hug her again, because we’ve been meeting cyberly on blogs for ever but never in person. LOL.

    Reply
  34. Helen, it was great meeting you too.
    It was funny — I met Helen at the Australian Romance Writers Conference last weekend, and she told me she had all my books and loved them, so naturally I hugged her –they’re very huggy occasions, our conferences. And then she told me she read WordWenches, and something clicked and I asked, “Are you Have Fun Helen?” (because she always ends her blog comments with Have fun, Helen) and when she said she was, I had to hug her again, because we’ve been meeting cyberly on blogs for ever but never in person. LOL.

    Reply
  35. Helen, it was great meeting you too.
    It was funny — I met Helen at the Australian Romance Writers Conference last weekend, and she told me she had all my books and loved them, so naturally I hugged her –they’re very huggy occasions, our conferences. And then she told me she read WordWenches, and something clicked and I asked, “Are you Have Fun Helen?” (because she always ends her blog comments with Have fun, Helen) and when she said she was, I had to hug her again, because we’ve been meeting cyberly on blogs for ever but never in person. LOL.

    Reply
  36. My thanks to all who commented on my post. It’s always a thrill for me to be on the Wenches site and to talk about Elizabeth.
    Anne, there is a DVD of the Elizabeth R series with Glenda Jackson so you can see it. Check your local library or watch for sales. I’ve seen it for $20.
    Has anyone seen the Bette Davis Elizabeth with Errol Flynn as Essex. Davis was full of Davis mannerisms, but there was something authentic about her and seeing in her face that she knew how foolish she was loving a man three decades younger.
    Again thanks Anne and all the wenches and commenters.
    Best always, Jeane Westin

    Reply
  37. My thanks to all who commented on my post. It’s always a thrill for me to be on the Wenches site and to talk about Elizabeth.
    Anne, there is a DVD of the Elizabeth R series with Glenda Jackson so you can see it. Check your local library or watch for sales. I’ve seen it for $20.
    Has anyone seen the Bette Davis Elizabeth with Errol Flynn as Essex. Davis was full of Davis mannerisms, but there was something authentic about her and seeing in her face that she knew how foolish she was loving a man three decades younger.
    Again thanks Anne and all the wenches and commenters.
    Best always, Jeane Westin

    Reply
  38. My thanks to all who commented on my post. It’s always a thrill for me to be on the Wenches site and to talk about Elizabeth.
    Anne, there is a DVD of the Elizabeth R series with Glenda Jackson so you can see it. Check your local library or watch for sales. I’ve seen it for $20.
    Has anyone seen the Bette Davis Elizabeth with Errol Flynn as Essex. Davis was full of Davis mannerisms, but there was something authentic about her and seeing in her face that she knew how foolish she was loving a man three decades younger.
    Again thanks Anne and all the wenches and commenters.
    Best always, Jeane Westin

    Reply
  39. My thanks to all who commented on my post. It’s always a thrill for me to be on the Wenches site and to talk about Elizabeth.
    Anne, there is a DVD of the Elizabeth R series with Glenda Jackson so you can see it. Check your local library or watch for sales. I’ve seen it for $20.
    Has anyone seen the Bette Davis Elizabeth with Errol Flynn as Essex. Davis was full of Davis mannerisms, but there was something authentic about her and seeing in her face that she knew how foolish she was loving a man three decades younger.
    Again thanks Anne and all the wenches and commenters.
    Best always, Jeane Westin

    Reply
  40. My thanks to all who commented on my post. It’s always a thrill for me to be on the Wenches site and to talk about Elizabeth.
    Anne, there is a DVD of the Elizabeth R series with Glenda Jackson so you can see it. Check your local library or watch for sales. I’ve seen it for $20.
    Has anyone seen the Bette Davis Elizabeth with Errol Flynn as Essex. Davis was full of Davis mannerisms, but there was something authentic about her and seeing in her face that she knew how foolish she was loving a man three decades younger.
    Again thanks Anne and all the wenches and commenters.
    Best always, Jeane Westin

    Reply
  41. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m intrigued by the reasons you gave for the whole “mythology” of the Virgin Queen – it makes so much sense but I hadn’t really considered it before.
    I’m currently enthralled with the BBC Robin Hood series which I can watch on Netflix on my computer. Yay for watching history on modern technology. Richard Armitage is even more delicious as a bad guy than he was in North and South. LOL

    Reply
  42. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m intrigued by the reasons you gave for the whole “mythology” of the Virgin Queen – it makes so much sense but I hadn’t really considered it before.
    I’m currently enthralled with the BBC Robin Hood series which I can watch on Netflix on my computer. Yay for watching history on modern technology. Richard Armitage is even more delicious as a bad guy than he was in North and South. LOL

    Reply
  43. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m intrigued by the reasons you gave for the whole “mythology” of the Virgin Queen – it makes so much sense but I hadn’t really considered it before.
    I’m currently enthralled with the BBC Robin Hood series which I can watch on Netflix on my computer. Yay for watching history on modern technology. Richard Armitage is even more delicious as a bad guy than he was in North and South. LOL

    Reply
  44. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m intrigued by the reasons you gave for the whole “mythology” of the Virgin Queen – it makes so much sense but I hadn’t really considered it before.
    I’m currently enthralled with the BBC Robin Hood series which I can watch on Netflix on my computer. Yay for watching history on modern technology. Richard Armitage is even more delicious as a bad guy than he was in North and South. LOL

    Reply
  45. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m intrigued by the reasons you gave for the whole “mythology” of the Virgin Queen – it makes so much sense but I hadn’t really considered it before.
    I’m currently enthralled with the BBC Robin Hood series which I can watch on Netflix on my computer. Yay for watching history on modern technology. Richard Armitage is even more delicious as a bad guy than he was in North and South. LOL

    Reply
  46. I have only seen one movie about Elizabeth I and that was the one with Helen Mirren. I have to admit that I know very little about her so it was a fascinating movie to watch. I enjoyed your post as it gave me a bit more information about this very interesting woman.

    Reply
  47. I have only seen one movie about Elizabeth I and that was the one with Helen Mirren. I have to admit that I know very little about her so it was a fascinating movie to watch. I enjoyed your post as it gave me a bit more information about this very interesting woman.

    Reply
  48. I have only seen one movie about Elizabeth I and that was the one with Helen Mirren. I have to admit that I know very little about her so it was a fascinating movie to watch. I enjoyed your post as it gave me a bit more information about this very interesting woman.

    Reply
  49. I have only seen one movie about Elizabeth I and that was the one with Helen Mirren. I have to admit that I know very little about her so it was a fascinating movie to watch. I enjoyed your post as it gave me a bit more information about this very interesting woman.

    Reply
  50. I have only seen one movie about Elizabeth I and that was the one with Helen Mirren. I have to admit that I know very little about her so it was a fascinating movie to watch. I enjoyed your post as it gave me a bit more information about this very interesting woman.

    Reply
  51. I also add my vote for the Glenda Jackson portrayal of Elizabeth I. I have seen the Bette Davis (0ver-acted) and Cate Blanchette (good but not great) versions and prefer Glenda. My favourite Elizabeth I is Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. I thought she was marvelous and regal.
    As for TV series, I loved Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchil and The Grand about a Manchester hotel in Edwardian times.

    Reply
  52. I also add my vote for the Glenda Jackson portrayal of Elizabeth I. I have seen the Bette Davis (0ver-acted) and Cate Blanchette (good but not great) versions and prefer Glenda. My favourite Elizabeth I is Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. I thought she was marvelous and regal.
    As for TV series, I loved Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchil and The Grand about a Manchester hotel in Edwardian times.

    Reply
  53. I also add my vote for the Glenda Jackson portrayal of Elizabeth I. I have seen the Bette Davis (0ver-acted) and Cate Blanchette (good but not great) versions and prefer Glenda. My favourite Elizabeth I is Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. I thought she was marvelous and regal.
    As for TV series, I loved Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchil and The Grand about a Manchester hotel in Edwardian times.

    Reply
  54. I also add my vote for the Glenda Jackson portrayal of Elizabeth I. I have seen the Bette Davis (0ver-acted) and Cate Blanchette (good but not great) versions and prefer Glenda. My favourite Elizabeth I is Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. I thought she was marvelous and regal.
    As for TV series, I loved Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchil and The Grand about a Manchester hotel in Edwardian times.

    Reply
  55. I also add my vote for the Glenda Jackson portrayal of Elizabeth I. I have seen the Bette Davis (0ver-acted) and Cate Blanchette (good but not great) versions and prefer Glenda. My favourite Elizabeth I is Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. I thought she was marvelous and regal.
    As for TV series, I loved Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchil and The Grand about a Manchester hotel in Edwardian times.

    Reply
  56. Donna, I love the whole Robin Hood story, but have to confess that the Robin in the current TV series is not my idea of him at all. I bonded heavily as a child with the reruns of the Richard Greene TV Robin.
    The biggest plus for me in this version is Richard Armitage as a baddie.
    Donna, I haven’t seen the Helen Mirrin one. How interesting to think she has played both Queens Elizabeth.
    Sue, I think Judi Dench is a Living Treasure of stage and screen. She’s fabulous in everything she does, whether it’s a hard-edged spymaster in the Bond movies, the regal QE1 you mentioned, the soft, sweet lady in Cranford or the touchy awkward woman of A Fine Romance.

    Reply
  57. Donna, I love the whole Robin Hood story, but have to confess that the Robin in the current TV series is not my idea of him at all. I bonded heavily as a child with the reruns of the Richard Greene TV Robin.
    The biggest plus for me in this version is Richard Armitage as a baddie.
    Donna, I haven’t seen the Helen Mirrin one. How interesting to think she has played both Queens Elizabeth.
    Sue, I think Judi Dench is a Living Treasure of stage and screen. She’s fabulous in everything she does, whether it’s a hard-edged spymaster in the Bond movies, the regal QE1 you mentioned, the soft, sweet lady in Cranford or the touchy awkward woman of A Fine Romance.

    Reply
  58. Donna, I love the whole Robin Hood story, but have to confess that the Robin in the current TV series is not my idea of him at all. I bonded heavily as a child with the reruns of the Richard Greene TV Robin.
    The biggest plus for me in this version is Richard Armitage as a baddie.
    Donna, I haven’t seen the Helen Mirrin one. How interesting to think she has played both Queens Elizabeth.
    Sue, I think Judi Dench is a Living Treasure of stage and screen. She’s fabulous in everything she does, whether it’s a hard-edged spymaster in the Bond movies, the regal QE1 you mentioned, the soft, sweet lady in Cranford or the touchy awkward woman of A Fine Romance.

    Reply
  59. Donna, I love the whole Robin Hood story, but have to confess that the Robin in the current TV series is not my idea of him at all. I bonded heavily as a child with the reruns of the Richard Greene TV Robin.
    The biggest plus for me in this version is Richard Armitage as a baddie.
    Donna, I haven’t seen the Helen Mirrin one. How interesting to think she has played both Queens Elizabeth.
    Sue, I think Judi Dench is a Living Treasure of stage and screen. She’s fabulous in everything she does, whether it’s a hard-edged spymaster in the Bond movies, the regal QE1 you mentioned, the soft, sweet lady in Cranford or the touchy awkward woman of A Fine Romance.

    Reply
  60. Donna, I love the whole Robin Hood story, but have to confess that the Robin in the current TV series is not my idea of him at all. I bonded heavily as a child with the reruns of the Richard Greene TV Robin.
    The biggest plus for me in this version is Richard Armitage as a baddie.
    Donna, I haven’t seen the Helen Mirrin one. How interesting to think she has played both Queens Elizabeth.
    Sue, I think Judi Dench is a Living Treasure of stage and screen. She’s fabulous in everything she does, whether it’s a hard-edged spymaster in the Bond movies, the regal QE1 you mentioned, the soft, sweet lady in Cranford or the touchy awkward woman of A Fine Romance.

    Reply

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