An English historian of the Tudor era uses new findings to throw a fresh light on Gloriana, Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen who first ""confounded her parents and astrounded the astrologers"" by her birth as a girl. Accused of treason by her half-sister ""Bloody"" Mary, growing up in danger, Elizabeth learned to commit herself to nothing. By the time she achieved the crown imperial, she was determined to retain it and ""self-preservation became her first care."" It also meant the enhancement of England. Brilliantly educated, the greatest match in Europe, she played her suitors against each other, refused to marry Leicester whom she loved, chose astute and devoted ministers, swore at her parliaments, and debated in Latin with hostile ambassadors. Plagued for years by Catholic plots to put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne, she executed Mary only in order to save her own life. For her, the admirals raided the treasure of New Spain; for her, and for England, they defeated the Spanish Armada. She died in 1603 complaining of an iron collar around her neck and with her, an epoch ended. Perhaps not the wide popular thrust of the Elizabeth Jenkins' Elizabeths, but scrupulously documented and written with authority and wit.