"I am a forgotten Princess. At times my father, King Henry VIII, needs to forget me. When the King needs to forget, the whole court follows suit and I am usually exiled to Hatfield. I don't mind. Hatfield is lovely. It is more of a mansion than a Palace, cozy, red brick with a huge forested hunting park. But when one is in exile, one is not treated the same. Everything is different."
Elizabeth I[2]

Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor is a historical fiction novel written by Kathryn Lasky. It is the first book in The Royal Diaries, and was followed by Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile. The book was published in 1999 by Scholastic. In 2000, a television film based on the book aired on HBO.

The book chronicles four years in the life of Princess Elizabeth, future Queen of England.

Book description

"November 10, 1544
I have been living with this constant fear of exile now for two days. So far I have heard nothing. Plans seem to proceed as normal for our move to Ashridge. This palace, too, is becoming quite filthy, what with all the banqueting and people and gaming between Michaelmas Feast and the feast of All Saints' Day. The roses bloom in our garden with such vigor, but the stench from the courtyard over the wall outside the kichens is unbearable. Kat is mumbling something about baths again. The woman is becoming a fanatic. I think we have had half a dozen baths since summer...

"It's 1544, and Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of ill-fated queen Anne Boleyn, has just been banished to yet another country house. Her step-sister hates her, and her father indulges and ignores her by turns. In and out of favour as her father's wives come and go, what does the future hold for an inconvenient, invisible princess...?"


Eleven-year-old princess, Elizabeth is the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded eight years prior by the King's orders. Throughout her childhood, Elizabeth languishes in exile at Hatfield with her governess, Kat Ashley. Elizabeth writes to her stepmother, Queen Catherine, who pleads her case to the king. He grants his permission and soon Elizabeth arrives back at Hampton Court.

Elizabeth reunites with her dear half-brother, Edward, good friend, Robin Dudley, and older half-sister, Mary, who resents Elizabeth. King Henry returns to court in time for Christmas, after laying siege to Boulogne, France. The next few months pass blissfully, until the threat of French invasion causes Henry to send his children away. In the hurry to leave, Elizabeth leaves her diary behind for nearly four months.

At Whitehall Palace, Elizabeth sees Mary with the scheming fiend, Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley. She and Robin surmise that they are plotting to have Mary married to the Earl of Arran, the regent of Mary, Queen of Scots. Their suspicions appear to be confirmed, when Lord Arran visits for Christmas. However, the Duchess of Lexford, who was seen flirting with the Lord, winds up poisoned, forcing everyone at court to flee to different places.

Several months later, back at court, Elizabeth worries about Catherine Parr, who has fallen out of favor with the King. Wriothesley plots to have Catherine arrested for heresy, but Elizabeth manages to warn her in time for Catherine to apologize to Henry. The following January, Elizabeth receives word that her father has passed away. Her brother, Edward is crowned King of England, and Elizabeth is safe for now.


Main article: List of Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor characters
  • Elizabeth I, the eleven-year-old daughter of Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn, who was executed by Henry's order. She lives in constant fear of exile, because of her father's frequent mood swings.
  • Henry VIII is the father of Elizabeth and King of England. His moods are unpredictable, often leaving Elizabeth feeling insecure in her position.



Elizabeth on VHS

Main article: The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I - Red Rose of the House of Tudor

Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor was adapted into a short television film. The film aired on HBO on September 18, 2000. It was released on video tape the same year and on DVD in 2008. Tamara Hope starred in the film as Elizabeth. The film follows the book for the most part, only omitting a few characters due to length.


Main article: Kathryn Lasky

Kathryn Lasky (born June 24, 1944 in Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American children's author. She is best known for her Guardians of Ga'Hoole. Lasky has written five books in The Royal Diaries, including Marie Antoinette, Mary, Queen of Scots, Jahanara, and Kazunomiya. She is also the author of four books in Dear America, three in My America, and one in My Name Is America.

Lasky spent numerous hours researching for the book, and particularly enjoyed learning the "gross details", such as "wig bugs and rats in the palace." She also said that she tried to "responsibly imagine the loneliness, the fears, and the joys of a Princess."



  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People (2000)[4]
  • IRA Young Adults' Choices Reading List (2001)


See also

v - e - dMy Story

The Hunger | Voyage on the Great Titanic | The Crystal Palace | Blitz | My Tudor Queen | Twentieth-Century Girl
The Great Plague | The '45 Rising | Civil War | Trafalgar | The Trenches | Battle of Britain | Mill Girl | Transported
Armada | Crimea | Bloody Tower | Indian Mutiny | Zulu War | Mayflower | Agincourt | Suffragette | Waterloo | Slave Girl
Flying Ace | Anne Boleyn and Me | D-Day | Victorian Workhouse | Spy Smuggler | Desert Danger | War Nurse
U-Boat Hunter | The Queen's Spies


Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Road to War | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Highway Girl | Sophie's Secret War
The Storm to Come | The Sweep's Boy | The Fall of the Blade | Pyramid of Secrets | Factory Girl | No Way Back
Wartime Princess | Berlin Olympics | Lady Jane Grey | Nowhere to Run | Codename Céline | Noor Inayat Khan

My Royal Story

Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

My True Story

What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote! | Dodger!

External links

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