By: Mandell Creighton (1843-1901)
"The Princess Elizabeth of England was born at Greenwich, between three and four of the afternoon of September 7, 1533. Her birth was a matter of small rejoicing to her parents, who were sorely disappointed that their first-born was not a boy." So begins this short, but stirring biography by the British historian, Mandell Creighton, of the magnificent last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. We see Elizabeth in constant peril during the turbulent and ineffectual reigns of Edward VI and Mary. At her accession, her country is little better than an appendage of the Spanish state. By the end of her reign, England has become a major power. Creighton writes that, "Elizabeth's imperishable claim to greatness lies in her instinctive sympathy with her people. She felt, rather than understood, the possibilities which lay before England, and she set herself to the task of slowly exhibiting, and impressing them on the national mind."