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Elizabeth I {1558-1603} | {Omnibus}

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Elizabeth I: Elizabeth I, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, ushered in 140 years of the Elizabethan Age.

Queen Elizabeth I ruled over England for an astonishing forty five years, until her death in 1603. She was a much loved queen. Some of her nicknames were Gloriana and Good Queen Bess. She was the last royal member of the Tudor family to take reign over England.

King Henry VIII, was the father of Elizabeth I. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, one of the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII who was beheaded just three years after Elizabeth was born. Born in September 1533, she did not have a happy or stable childhood. After her mother was beheaded, she was declared illegitimate. Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife was kind to her but she died when Elizabeth was six years old. After her father's death in 1547, Elizabeth had been taken in by Henry's sixth wife, Katherine Parr and her new husband Thomas Seymour. However, she had to leave their house when Katherine got jealous because Thomas was paying Elizabeth too much attention.

Elizabeth I was an unlikely heir to the throne, with both her brother Edward and half-sister Mary being in line before her. After the death of her father, her little brother Edward, who was only 10 years old,  became King Edward VI.

Both Edward and Elizabeth were brought up to be protestants, where as their half-sister followed a different faith, Roman Catholicism. In 1553, Edward died and the reign passed to Mary. Mary Tudor took the throne and changed the acceptable faith of England. She was so strict in her convictions that she had Elizabeth  imprisoned and put in the Tower of London. She also was insecure and thought Elizabeth was plotting to take the throne from her.

"Bloody" Mary died five years later. Queen Elizabeth I was then the next in line for the throne.

Her rule was the Golden Age and the glorious days of all royal history. One of the major successes from her rule was the introduction of the Church of England. This was a negotiation between both protestant and Roman catholic faiths. Many historians believe that it was the role of the Church of England that prevented many religious fuelled wars from starting.

The Virgin Queen was yet another nickname given to Elizabeth, as she refused to marry. At the beginning of her rule England was under threat from both Spain and France. She brought peace to the nation and allowed England to steadily regain the wealth that it had lost.

A bit of trivia on Elizabeth I

  • Elizabeth was short about 5'3 or 5'5 with brown eyes and red curly hair. She was afraid of mice. She had a bad temper and would throw things or threaten to send courtiers to the Tower if they upset her. She swore and spat when she was angry. Elizabeth's teeth were black with tooth decay. Her speech was sometimes difficult to understand because of missing teeth. Elizabeth was very superstitious and was afraid of black magic. She only bathed once every few weeks.

Elizabeth I's rule is remembered as the Golden Age of English history. Under her rule, England advanced in areas of foreign trade, exploration, literature, and the arts. During Elizabeth's reign the age of exploration began with explorers such as Francis Drake, claiming new lands for England and introducing new materials and foods. The American State, Virginia, is named after her.

She truly is a woman and Queen who deserves a place in our history. The Tudor period ended with the death of Queen Elizabeth I on 24th March 1603 after 45 years on the throne. She had no husband or children to succeed her.

Discovering Elizabeth I:

Who was Elizabeth I?

Who were Elizabeth's parents?

How did Elizabeth's youth give shape to her reign?
Young Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, beheaded her mother, Ann Boleyn, as well as his succeeding wives, the fifth of whom, Catherine Howard, Elizabeth had loved especially; these executions made Elizabeth cautious and wary about marriage. Periods of material deprivation (at least by a princesses' standards) developed her economic sense, and she later would be very frugal, even stingy. Overall, the dangers she faced as a young girl and in her teens made her prudent--though her reluctance to take decisive action caused problems at times.

What were Elizabeth's religious attitudes?
Although a religious Protestant, Elizabeth was no fanatic. Her primary concern was not to force adherence to a single religion, but simply to smooth over divisions in her realm; she considered the disputed issues between Catholics and Protestants to be "mere trifles" in the grand scheme of things. She knew that it was in her political interest to appeal to the Protestant majority, and acted accordingly; yet, nonetheless, her treatment of Catholics was relatively mild by the standards of the Reformation Era.

Why didn't Elizabeth ever marry?
Since her father, Henry VIII, had had several wives beheaded (including her own mother), Elizabeth had an understandable distaste for marriage. Furthermore, she loved getting presents, and getting married would have ended the constant stream of gifts she received from her suitors. However, most importantly, she liked to use her unmarried status as a negotiating tool: with everyone in Europe courting her and hoping to take England through marriage, they would be less likely to plan an invasion against the nation.

Why did some people think Mary Queen of Scots had a stronger claim to the throne of England than did Elizabeth?
Henry VIII had married Elizabeth's mother, Ann Boleyn, while still technically married to his first wife, the Catholic Catherine of Aragon, as the pope at the time delayed in performing the requested annulment. Moreover, Elizabeth had been conceived prior even to this unlawful marriage. Thus Catholics considered Elizabeth an illegitimate child of Henry. Yet despite this, the majority of English Catholics remained loyal to their queen.

Was the title "Virgin Queen" an accurate description of Elizabeth?
Probably not. Although she never married, she seems to have had several lovers. The most famous was Robert Dudley (named the Earl of Leicester in 1564). This passionate relationship created a huge international scandal, and when Dudley died in 1588, Elizabeth locked herself in her room for a lengthy period.




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