Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII, reunited a nation divided by religious strife, faced down the Spanish Armada and, after an unprecedented 45-year reign, died one of England's best-loved monarchs. During her time as Queen, poets and playwrights wrote about her, artists painted her, composers dedicated their work to her, all contributing to the legend of the Virgin Queen. Elizabeth I looks beyond the myth, at the woman behind the crown. The woman subjected to a humiliating gynaecological examination when contemplating marriage to a French prince, to ensure she was still able to have children. The woman who ran a country and yet who wasn't allowed to marry the man she loved. The woman who, in her mid-fifties, conducted a passionate affair with a man half her age, a man whose arrogance led him to mount a desperate challenge for Elizabeth's throne. For Elizabeth, every personal decision was political. Aged 46, twenty years into her Protestant reign, Elizabeth is facing two huge challenges: the threat of attack from Catholic Spain, and the vexed problem of who will succeed her. This film gets beneath the opulence and formality of the English court to tell the intimate story of Britain's most famous queen during her fraught and passionate final years.