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Only the basic story is true: Elizabeth going from Tower prisoner in Mary's Protestant-persecuting reign, to being crowned Queen and dealing with conspirators like Norfolk, who gets executed. The rest is fiction. Several characters who opposed or burdened Elizabeth, like William Cecil and Sussex, were in fact loyal to the Queen. Cecil was never retired of his duties, remaining Elizabeth's chief advisor until his death in 1598. Although Elizabeth's relationship with Dudley is true, the two probably never had sexual relations (Elizabeth, believing she was dying at one point, confessed no such relations existed between them). Dudley never turned against her, and the two remained close until his death in 1588. The deaths of Sussex, Ambassador Quadra, and Mary of Guise were never orchestrated, all being natural deaths. Bishop Gardiner was dead before Elizabeth became Queen.
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