Literary Review cover

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sarah Crichton Books, US Publication 11th February 2014

PEN Literary Award Winner

Elizabeth’s Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen’s Court

The riveting inside story of the Elizabethan Court and the favoured women who tended the Queen

Winner of The American PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.


“Elizabeth, subtle and seductive, was also a warrior. Self-possessed, she was also owned by every gossip in Europe. Her virginity was a national asset, but a wasting asset as her reign progressed. Her body was the body politic, closely guarded but obscenely scrutinised, subject to adoration, speculation and threat. Anna Whitelock’s skilful and detailed history will bring you closer than seems possible to this glittering, infuriating, fascinating woman.” (Hilary Mantel)

“Whitelock’s fearless approach to Elizabeth is not unlike that of Essex. She, too, has burst into the bedroom and shown us the Queen in her most private state. This is an intimate history of the court and a brilliant history of intimacy.”
(Frances Wilson, Mail on Sunday)

“This intimate look at the ladies of the court is dazzling and fresh..engrossing and admirably researched…taking us behind the closed doors of Elizabeth’s bedchamber, Whitelock builds up a remarkably intimate portrait…Whitelock’s excellent life of Queen Mary was published in 2009. With this dazzling portrait of Mary’s successor, she takes her place among the foremost – and most enthrallingly readable – historians of the Tudors.”
(Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times)

“With the lively imagination of a dramatist and the rigor of an academic, Whitelock discards the chastity belt of conventional royal history and presents Elizabeth in terms of the intimate politics of her life.”
(Ian Finlayson, The Times)

“A great story told with wit and verve”
(John Gallagher, The Telegraph)

“Whitelock gives us a new account of Elizabeth’s reign, seen largely from the queen’s personal perspective. It is a memorable portrait…with some nice details that allow us to see a more human side of Elizabeth.”
(Linda Porter, The Literary Review)

“Whitelock makes sparkling use of the eye-witness testimonies of courtiers, who recorded their impressions of the Queen in letters as gossipy and vivid as any tweet or Facebook post… The charm of Anna Whitelock’s portrait of the Queen and her times is that it shows the monarch and the woman, in all her power and pathos, through the eyes of the people who knew her best.”
(Jane Shilling, Daily Mail, Book of the Week)

Anna Whitelock - Elizabeth's Bedfellows Launch - Introduction

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