• The first complete edition of Elizabeth Stuart’s letters ever published, highlighting her position as a key religious, political, and cultural figure in early-modern Europe
  • Includes keys to several cipher codes which decode the letters for the first time, and also allows the reader to use these codes for other correspondence
  • Extensive cross referencing in footnotes brings out parallels between subjects, letters, and events
  • Combined biographical and subject index gives a concise biographical overview of all historical figures mentioned
  • Identifies the original manuscript source and draws attention to the social and communicative context of the letters
  • Preserves the features of the seventeenth-century manuscripts using diplomatic transcriptions
  • Contains translations of all letters in French, making these more accessible while preserving the feel of the original prose

Volume I covers Elizabeth’s life as princess and consort in the years between 1603 and 1631. It includes letters exchanged with her brother, Henry Frederick, the courtship letters of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth’s experiences of both marital and court life in Heidelberg, especially her struggle with Germanic culture and her arguments with both her husband and mother-in-law over rights of precedence. From 1619 her letters become increasingly political as she begs her father, the Duke of Buckingham, and others for assistance in the desperate struggle for the Crown of Bohemia. Deposed in 1620, Elizabeth spends her time in exile devising ploys to gain further financial, moral, and military support from statesmen and military leaders such as Sir Dudley Carleton, the ‘Mad Halberstadter’ Christian of Brunswick, Count Ernest of Mansfeld, King Christian IV of Denmark, and Bethlen Gabor, Prince of Transylvania, her behaviour increasingly in defiance of her father’s wishes and demands.

Elizabeth’s letters evidence her slow transformation from political ingenue to independent stateswoman, a position cemented as her husband fell victim to the war they had precipitated. The diplomatic writing skills she developed in this period were to become her only weapon for securing both the inheritance of her many children and her own position as a key religious, political, and cultural figure in early-modern Europe.

“[A] detailed record of an active and articulate early modern queen, albeit one without a country.”–Renaissance Quarterly

“Akkerman’s editing standards are lofty indeed. […] Each [letter] is quoted in its original language and then, if necessary, translated in English. The edition also prints the letters to Elizabeth, which allow us to follow the epistolary exchanges…While the texts are impressive, the annotations are a marvel in their own right. Akkerman’s careful identification of all persons and events represents a running commentary on the history of several dozen states.”–English Historical Review