This book is about the politics and political culture of the "last decade" of the reign of Elizabeth I, in effect the years 1585 to 1603. It takes a critical and provocative look at the declining Virgin Queen. Many teachers and their students have failed to consider the "last decade" in its own right, or have ignored it, having begun their accounts in 1558 and struggled on to the defeat of the Armada in 1588. Only two major political surveys have been attempted since 1926. Neither allots adequate space to Crown patronage, Puritanism and religion, society and the economy, political thought, and literature and drama. This book will be indispensable to a fuller understanding of the age.