The September issue of BBC History magazine carries a really nice review of the paperback edition of The Favourite. I’m particularly pleased with this, since it’s by Tracy Borman, whose Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen is wonderful.
The Favourite explores the complex, “narcotic” relationship between Elizabeth and Ralegh, and in so doing the author claims to “rescue them from their own myths”. So often caricatured as a vaguely ridiculous flirtation between an ageing queen and a dashing and flattering courtier, their relationship emerges as altogether more extraordinary than that. Drawing parallels between their upbringings… [Lyons] traces Ralegh’s rise from an obsure Devonshire gentleman to a courtier so high in the queen’s favour that it was rumoured they were lovers.
The dangerous interplay between their equally passionate, imperious and unyielding characters (which are brilliantly sketched by Lyons) made for a stormy relationship, but also a bond which Ralegh’s many rivals feared would never be broken.
The full review doesn’t seem to be up online at the moment, but I will post a link to it as and when it is.