Elizabeth I: The Life of Gloriana, the Virgin Queen – 2022

Online Elizabeth I conference 7-16 September 2022

Tudor historian Claire Ridgway and 7 other experts in 10 days of talks and Q&A sessions (plus Bonus talk and zoom chats) exploring the life and reign of Elizabeth I, the iconic English queen who's known the world over. A perfect event for those wanting to know the history behind "Becoming Elizabeth".

Hi, I'm Claire Ridgway,

You may know me from my blogs, The Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files, my YouTube Channel and my 12 history books, which include The Boleyns of Hever Castle (co-written with Dr Owen Emmerson), On This Day in Tudor History, The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, The Anne Boleyn Collection series, and George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat (co-written with Clare Cherry). Tudor history is my passion and I love sharing it with others.

Everybody has heard of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, the Virgin Queen, but not many know or understand the obstacles and challenges she faced, both before she became queen and then ruling a country in a male-dominated world.

Henry VIII famously changed the course of English history with his determination to marry Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn, and then caused shockwaves around Europe when he had her beheaded just 3 years after their marriage. Elizabeth was just two years old when she lost her mother, was made illegitimate and removed from the line of succession.

Elizabeth had to overcome the stigma associated with her background, cope with being sexually harassed then losing her beloved stepmother, convince her half-brother the king that she hadn't been plotting with his uncle, and then suffer imprisonment in the Tower during her half-sister's reign after being accused of involvement in rebellion. All that in her first 21 years!

Elizabeth became queen on 17th November 1558, but her 44-year reign was never going to be easy - being a female ruler, the pressure to marry, religious divisions, plots against her, handling factions at court, dynastic challenges, the threat of invasion and war, excommunication... The list goes on - yet her reign is known for its Golden Age and she has gone down in history as one of England's greatest monarchs.

I'm celebrating Elizabeth I's 489th birthday on 7th September by launching an online event exploring Elizabeth I's life and reign.

Each day, from Wednesday 7th September to Friday 16th September inclusive, I will be hosting daily talks and Q&A sessions with the very best Tudor historians. We will bring this iconic queen to life for you and give you a new understanding of the challenges she faced as a 16th-century queen and daughter of a condemned traitor.

This event is completely online and international so you can join in from the comfort of your home.

This event is for you if:

  • You want to gain fresh insights into Queen Elizabeth I, both as a queen and 16th-century woman
  • You want to understand the challenges Elizabeth I faced during her life
  • You want to know the exact nature of Elizabeth's relationship with Thomas Seymour
  • You're curious about Elizabeth's relationship with Robert Dudley
  • You want to know about the different theories regarding Amy Robsart’s death and which one makes the most sense
  • You want to know if Elizabeth really was the Virgin Queen
  • You're interested in knowing more about the women who influenced Elizabeth in her early life and who served her as queen
  • You'd like to know about Elizabeth's relationships with the powerful French royals
  • You'd like to know more about the famous rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots
  • You're interested in knowing whether Elizabeth really did ignore her Boleyn roots
  • You want to know more about the men Elizabeth trusted and relied on
  • You want to pay tribute to the Virgin Queen, talk Tudor and spend time with like-minded people
  • You want to discuss “Becoming Elizabeth” with people who are as interested in Elizabeth’s real life as you are

Elizabeth I: The Life of Gloriana, the Virgin Queen Schedule

Bonus talk - The Scandalous Death of Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley - available now

Claire interviewed Christine Hartweg, author of the excellent "Amy Robsart: A Life and Its End" about the death of Robert Dudley's wife, Amy (née Robsart) in September 1560. Her death caused a scandal with rumours that she'd been murdered, and it still causes controversy today. Learn more about Amy and Dudley from Christine and Claire in the interview.
Find out about Christine Hartweg.

Day 1 – Part 1 - The Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour Scandal
Dr Elizabeth Norton - Wednesday 7 September

Today, we kick off our event with pre-recorded talk on the Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour scandal, something which has recently been brought to life so vividly and uncomfortably in the Starz series, “Becoming Elizabeth”.
Historian Elizabeth Norton, author of “The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor”, which is a detailed study of this period of Elizabeth’s life, explores what we know about Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth in 1547 and 1548. What do we know about Elizabeth's relationship with Thomas Seymour? Did he sexually abuse her? Did he want to marry her?
You can find out about Elizabeth Norton here

Day 1 - Part 2 - Elizabeth's Early Life
Claire Ridgway - Wednesday 7 September

At 10pm UK/ 5pm New York, we have a live-streamed talk from me, Claire Ridgway, on Elizabeth's beginnings in our private Facebook group and YouTube channel. I will introduce you to Elizabeth I by exploring her background, her early life as first the heir to the throne and then bastard, her relationships with her four stepmothers and her father, and the people who surrounded her in her early years. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.
Find out about Claire here.

Day 2 – Elizabeth in Danger - Wyatt's Rebellion
Claire Ridgway - Thursday 8 September

In a pre-recorded talk, Claire will be exploring the events of early 1554 which led to Elizabeth being arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Why was Elizabeth implicated? What happened to her in the Tower? Why was she released? What was house arrest like for her? What happened next?
Q&A session in our chatroom with Elizabeth Norton at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.

Day 3 – Elizabeth’s Women: the hidden story of the Virgin Queen
Dr Tracy Borman – Friday 9 September

Based on her best selling book, Tracy Borman will explore the fascinating relationships that Elizabeth I had with the women who influenced her most. From her scandalous mother, Anne Boleyn, to her greatest rival, Mary Queen of Scots, and the ‘flouting wenches’ who served her at court, they show Elizabeth in a surprising new light.
Chatroom chat - Informal chat on all things Elizabeth I at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.
Find out about Tracy here.

Day 4 – Elizabeth and the Boleyns
Dr Owen Emmerson - Saturday 10 September

It is often said that Elizabeth I was happy to draw comparisons between herself and her father, calling herself "the lion's cub", and that she chose to distance herself from her mother, Anne Boleyn, but is that true? In his talk, Dr Owen Emmerson explores Elizabeth I's Boleyn connections and how she made reference to her Boleyn roots.
Find out about Owen here.
Chatroom chat - Informal chat on Elizabeth I books, TV and series at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.

Day 5 – Elizabeth and Dudley
Dr Elizabeth Goldring - Sunday 11 September

Did Robert Dudley have his wife killed so that he could marry Elizabeth I? Was the Virgin Queen really a virgin? Elizabeth Goldring separates fact from fiction, answering these and other questions as she tells the thrilling story of one of history's greatest romances.
Find out about Elizabeth Goldring here.
Q&A session in our chatroom with Owen Emmerson at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.

Day 6 – Elizabeth’s tumultuous and fascinating relationship with the French
Dr Estelle Paranque - Monday 12 September

During the course of her reign, Elizabeth had to deal with five different French kings and a powerful queen mother who saw herself as Elizabeth’s equal. From defiance to distrust to conspiracy to marriage propositions to unexpected friendships, Elizabeth developed her personal relationship with each monarch and their resident ambassadors. She showed preferences but in the end she always dealt with them with caution and respect and was more than a mere counterpart. She often became an advisor and a mediator.
Find out about Estelle here.
Q&A session in our chatroom with Elizabeth Goldring at 9pm UK/ 4pm New York.

Day 7 – Two Queens In One Isle: Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots
Dr Linda Porter - Tuesday 13 September

The rivalry between cousins Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots is one of the most famous in British history, the stuff of endless biographies, romantic novels, Hollywood films and frequent exhibitions. Yet there are different views among historians about the significance of this fraught relationship. In this talk, Dr Linda Porter will examine the upbringing of these two women, their experience as ruling queens, their attitudes to marriage and the importance of Mary’s fateful decision to seek Elizabeth’s help in regaining her Scottish throne. Linda will also consider who was the real victor of this deadly rivalry between two queens who never actually met.
Find out about Linda here.
Q&A session in our chatroom with Estelle Paranque at 9pm UK/ 4pm New York.

Day 8 – Elizabeth and the Men she Trusted
Claire Ridgway - Wednesday 14 September

As a female ruler in a male-dominated world, Elizabeth was surrounded by men who wanted to advise her and even control her. Who could she trust and who did she trust? In this video talk, Claire explores some of the men Elizabeth trusted and kept close to her.
Q&A session in our chatroom with Linda Porter at 8pm UK/ 3pm New York.

Day 9 – The Reign of Gloriana
Claire Ridgway - Thursday 15 September

Live-streamed video talk. Elizabeth I's reign has gone down in history as a Golden Age, but what made it so? Claire explores the many achievements of Elizabeth and her government before looking at the uglier side of the Elizabethan period, including the persecution of Catholics.
Talk followed by Q&A session at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.

Day 10 – Elizabeth I Myths
Claire Ridgway - Friday 16 September

Live-streamed video talk. Elizabeth I is surrounded by many myths and in this talk, Claire examines a few of them, including the Bisley Boy Legend, the idea that Elizabeth had illegitimate children, and the theory that she had "testicular feminization".
Talk followed by Q&A session at 10pm UK/ 5pm New York.

Bonus Day - Day 11
Dr Tracy Borman Q&A session - Monday 19 September

Q&A session in our chatroom with Tracy Borman at 9pm UK/ 4pm New York time.

What you got

10 days of video talks and livestreamed talks, and live Q&A sessions with EIGHT Tudor historians in September 2022

Membership of our private Facebook group where you can interact with Claire and others who are part of the event
Souvenir event e-book
Transcripts of all the chats and talks for you to enjoy
Bonus interview with Dudley family expert, Christine Hartweg, on Amy Robsart's death.
Recommended reading and resources list

The talks will have subtitles and be transcribed. The Q&A sessions will be a mix of livestreams and typed chats, each one being either recorded or transcribed for future reference.

Who is your host Claire Ridgway?

Historian Claire Ridgway is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the best-selling author of 12 history books, including "The Boleyns of Hever Castle" (co-written with Dr Owen Emmerson), "On This Day in Tudor History", "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown", "George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat" (co-written with Clare Cherry, "The Anne Boleyn Collection" and its two sequels, and "On This Day in Tudor History".

Claire is also the founder of The Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files blogs, The Tudor Society, and the popular Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel. She contributed to the recent BBC docudrama "The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family", has written for BBC History Extra and All About History Magazine, and been featured on a number of radio stations and podcasts internationally.

Claire loves sharing her research and bringing together Tudor history lovers worldwide.


Many thanks for this brilliant event as well as the gifts and all the work involved. I’ve enjoyed it so much.