Not as cohesive a portrait as Mary Luke's A Crown for Elizabeth (1970), but Miss Plowden has marshaled a sensible and often stimulating array of material to shade in the generally accepted view of Elizabeth I of England as ""steely,"" vain, energetic, jealous of her power and wily as a cat. Although the author places a traditionally portentous weight on the influence of Henry's capricious wiving and disaffection, she goes further than most in ascribing Elizabeth's sex-and-marriage-shy career to early innocent arousal (with its subsequent calamitous results) by Thomas Seymour. Miss Plowden characterizes the robust Seymour as a ""confidence-trickster"" who would do anything to ""further his own ends."" (But was this unusual in a Tudor court?) With scraps of contemporary diaries and correspondence, there are lively glimpses of Elizabeth's political acumen at work, a quality exercised brilliantly in wriggling out from under the Seymour scandal. Elizabeth's relationships with Edward and Mary are discussed en passant; but the remark that she found it easier to accord formal respect to her brother loses force in the light of the Tudor proclivity to lead from power, since Mary's was often dangerously insecure. One might also question the author's statement that by the mid-teens Elizabeth was convinced she would be Queen. Tudors never assumed anything. Still, an engaging estimate of the education of the Faerie Queen.