Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I of England

Overview
Elizabeth I was queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, cutting his half-sisters out of the succession.
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Timeline

1558   Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1559   Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London.

1568   Queen Elizabeth I of England orders the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1570   Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England.

1586   Mary, Queen of Scots, goes on trial for conspiracy against Elizabeth I of England.

1597   William Shakespeare's ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' is first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.

 
Quotations

Much suspected by me,Nothing proved can be, Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.

Written with a diamond on her window at Woodstock (1555), published in Acts and Monuments (1563) by John Foxe|John Foxe

This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Her reaction when she was told she was Queen (1558-11-17)

Kings were wont to honour philosophers, but if I had such I would honour them as angels that should have such piety in them that they would not seek where they are the second to be the first, and where the third to be the second and so forth.

Response to Parliament (October 1566)

Though I be a woman yet I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my father had. I am your anointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.

Response to Parliament (October 1566)

I will make you shorter by the head.

Response to Parliament (October 1566)

The use of the sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession thereof.

To the Spanish Ambassador (1580)

Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmiths.

Letter (1581)

I grieve and dare not show my discontent, I love and yet am forced to seem to hate, I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.

"On François, Duke of Anjou|Monsieur's Departure" (February 1582)

Must is not a word to be used to princes! Little man, little man, if your late father were here he would never dare utter such a word.

To Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury|Robert Cecil when he said, in her final illness (March 1603), that she must go to bed.
Encyclopedia
Elizabeth I was queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, cutting his half-sisters out of the succession. His will was set aside, Lady Jane Grey was executed, and in 1558 Elizabeth succeeded the Catholic Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel, and she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers led by William Cecil, Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

. One of her first moves as queen was the establishing of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement
Elizabethan Religious Settlement
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was Elizabeth I’s response to the religious divisions created over the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. This response, described as "The Revolution of 1559", was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England...

 later evolved into today's Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir so as to continue the Tudor line. She never did, however, despite numerous courtships. As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day.

In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see, and say nothing"). In religion she was relatively tolerant, avoiding systematic persecution. After 1570, when the pope declared her illegitimate and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life. All plots were defeated, however, with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, moving between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France and Ireland. In the mid-1580s, war with Spain could no longer be avoided, and when Spain finally decided to invade and conquer England in 1588, the defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 associated her with what is popularly viewed as one of the greatest victories in English history.

Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama
English Renaissance theatre
English Renaissance theatre, also known as early modern English theatre, refers to the theatre of England, largely based in London, which occurred between the Reformation and the closure of the theatres in 1642...

, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake. Some historians are more reserved in their assessment. They depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

tic performer and a dogged survivor, in an age when government was ramshackle and limited and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and eventually had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth's brother and sister, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.

Early life


Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace
Palace of Placentia
The Palace of Placentia was an English Royal Palace built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester in 1447, in Greenwich, on the banks of the River Thames, downstream from London...

 and was named after both her grandmothers, Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England....

 and Elizabeth Howard
Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire
Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire , born Lady Elizabeth Howard, was the eldest of the two daughters of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife Elizabeth Tilney. Through her marriage, she held the titles of Countess of Wiltshire, Countess of Ormond and Viscountess Rochford...

. She was the second child of Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 born in wedlock to survive infancy. Her mother was Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

. At birth, Elizabeth was the heiress presumptive to the throne of England. Her older half-sister, Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, had lost her position as a legitimate heir when Henry annulled his marriage to Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

, in order to marry Anne and sire a male heir to ensure the Tudor succession. Elizabeth was baptised on 10 September; Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from...

, the Marquess of Exeter
Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter
Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter, KG, PC was the eldest son of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon and Catherine of York, and grandson of King Edward IV of England.He was an older brother of Margaret Courtenay...

, the Duchess of Norfolk
Elizabeth Howard, Duchess of Norfolk
Elizabeth Howard was the eldest daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and the wife of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk...

 and the Dowager Marchioness of Dorset
Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset
Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset was the second wife of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and the mother of his children, including Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, with whom she engaged in many quarrels during his minority over money and his allowance...

 stood as her four godparents.

When Elizabeth was two years and eight months old her mother was executed on 19 May 1536. Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and deprived of the title of Princess. Eleven days after Anne Boleyn's death, Henry married Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of...

, but she died shortly after the birth of their son, Prince Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, in 1537. Edward now became the undisputed heir to the throne. Elizabeth was placed in Edward's household and carried the chrisom
Chrisom
Anciently, a chrisom was the face-cloth, or piece of linen laid over a child's head when he was baptized or christened. The term has come to refer to a child who died within a month after its baptism—so called for the chrisom cloth that was used as a shroud for it....

, or baptismal cloth, at his christening.

Elizabeth's first Lady Mistress, Margaret, Lady Bryant, wrote that she was “as toward a child and as gentle of conditions as ever I knew any in my life”. By the autumn of 1537, Elizabeth was in the care of Blanche Herbert, Lady Troy
Lady Troy
Blanche Herbert, Lady Troy, was the Lady Mistress in charge of the upbringing of Queen Elizabeth I, Edward VI and also of Queen Mary when she lived with the younger Tudor children...

 who remained her Lady Mistress until her retirement in late 1545 or early 1546. Catherine Champernowne, better known by her later, married name of Catherine “Kat” Ashley, was appointed as Elizabeth's governess in 1537, and she remained Elizabeth’s friend until her death in 1565, when Blanche Parry
Blanche Parry
Blanche Parry was a personal attendant of Queen Elizabeth I of England, Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth’s most honourable Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty’s jewels.-Early life:...

 succeeded her as Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. She clearly made a good job of Elizabeth’s early education: by the time William Grindal became her tutor in 1544, Elizabeth could write English, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, and Italian. Under Grindal, a talented and skilful tutor, she also progressed in French and Greek. She is also reputed to have spoken Cornish
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

. After Grindal died in 1548, Elizabeth received her education under Roger Ascham
Roger Ascham
Roger Ascham was an English scholar and didactic writer, famous for his prose style, his promotion of the vernacular, and his theories of education...

, a sympathetic teacher who believed that learning should be engaging. By the time her formal education ended in 1550, she was one of the best educated women of her generation.

Thomas Seymour


Henry VIII died in 1547; Elizabeth's half-brother, Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 became king at age 9. Catherine Parr
Catherine Parr
Catherine Parr ; 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him...

, Henry's widow, soon married Thomas Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

, Edward VI's uncle and the brother of the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

. The couple took Elizabeth into their household at Chelsea
Chelsea
Chelsea may refer to:* Chelsea , a carbonated, low-alcohol beverage* Chelsea boots* Chelsea bun, a cake* Chelsea chic-United Kingdom:* Chelsea, London** Chelsea tube station, a proposed railway station...

. There Elizabeth experienced an emotional crisis that some historians believe affected her for the rest of her life. Seymour, approaching age 40 but having charm and "a powerful sex appeal", engaged in romps and horseplay with the 14-year-old Elizabeth. These included entering her bedroom in his nightgown, tickling her and slapping her on the buttocks. Catherine Parr, rather than confront her husband over his inappropriate activities, joined in. Twice she accompanied him in tickling Elizabeth, and once held her while he cut her black gown "into a thousand pieces." However, after Catherine Parr discovered the pair in an embrace, she ended this state of affairs. In May 1548, Elizabeth was sent away.
Seymour continued scheming to control the royal family and tried to have himself appointed the governor of the King’s person. When Catherine Parr died after childbirth on 5 September 1548, he renewed his attentions towards Elizabeth, intent on marrying her. The details of his former behaviour towards Elizabeth emerged and for his brother and the council, this was the last straw. In January 1549, Seymour was arrested on suspicion of plotting to marry Elizabeth and overthrow his brother. Elizabeth, living at Hatfield House
Hatfield House
Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil...

, would admit nothing. Her stubbornness exasperated her interrogator, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who reported, "I do see it in her face that she is guilty". Seymour was beheaded on 20 March 1549.

Mary I's reign


Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 died on 6 July 1553, aged 15. His will swept aside the Succession to the Crown Act 1543, excluded both Mary and Elizabeth from the succession, and instead declared as his heir Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary, Duchess of Suffolk
Mary Tudor (queen consort of France)
Mary Tudor was the younger sister of King Henry VIII of England and queen consort of France through her marriage to Louis XII. The latter was more than 30 years her senior. Following his death, which occurred less than two months after her coronation as his third wife, she married Charles Brandon,...

. Lady Jane was proclaimed queen by the Privy Council, but her support quickly crumbled, and she was deposed after nine days. Mary rode triumphantly into London, with Elizabeth at her side.

The show of solidarity between the sisters did not last long. Mary, a devout Catholic, was determined to crush the Protestant faith in which Elizabeth had been educated, and she ordered that everyone attend Catholic Mass; Elizabeth had to outwardly conform. Mary's initial popularity ebbed away in 1554 when she announced plans to marry Prince Philip of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, the son of Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 and an active Catholic. Discontent spread rapidly through the country, and many looked to Elizabeth as a focus for their opposition to Mary's religious policies.

In January and February 1554, Wyatt's rebellion
Wyatt's rebellion
Wyatt's Rebellion was a popular uprising in England in 1554, named after Thomas Wyatt the younger, one of its leaders. The rebellion arose out of concern over Queen Mary I's determination to marry Philip II of Spain, which was an unpopular policy with the English...

 broke out; it was soon suppressed. Elizabeth was brought to court, and interrogated regarding her role, and on 18 March, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

. Elizabeth fervently protested her innocence. Though it is unlikely that she had plotted with the rebels, some of them were known to have approached her. Mary's closest confidant, Charles V's ambassador Simon Renard
Simon Renard
Simon Renard, sir de Bermont was an advisor of the Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain, overlords of the County of Burgundy and Counts of Burgundy.He was ambassador of Spain in France and England...

, argued that her throne would never be safe while Elizabeth lived; and the Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner was an English Roman Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I of England.-Early life:...

, worked to have Elizabeth put on trial. Elizabeth's supporters in the government, including Lord Paget
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert , was an English statesman and accountant who held prominent positions in the service of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.-Early life:...

, convinced Mary to spare her sister in the absence of hard evidence against her. Instead, on 22 May, Elizabeth was moved from the Tower to Woodstock
Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Woodstock is a small town northwest of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. It is the location of Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in 1874 and is buried in the nearby village of Bladon....

, where she was to spend almost a year under house arrest in the charge of Sir Henry Bedingfield. Crowds cheered her all along the way. King Philip had little role in England's governance, but he did help protect Elizabeth.
On 17 April 1555, Elizabeth was recalled to court to attend the final stages of Mary's apparent pregnancy. If Mary and her child died, Elizabeth would become queen. If, on the other hand, Mary gave birth to a healthy child, Elizabeth's chances of becoming queen would recede sharply. When it became clear that Mary was not pregnant, no one believed any longer that she could have a child. Elizabeth's succession seemed assured.

King Philip, who became King of Spain in 1556, acknowledged the new political reality and cultivated Elizabeth. She was a better ally than the chief alternative, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had grown up in France and was betrothed to the Dauphin of France
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

. When his wife Queen Mary fell ill in 1558, King Philip sent the Count of Feria to consult with Elizabeth. This interview was conducted at Hatfield House, where she had returned to live in October 1555. By October 1558, Elizabeth was already making plans for her government. On 6 November, Mary recognised Elizabeth as her heir. On 17 November 1558 Mary died and Elizabeth succeeded to the throne.

Accession


Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and Elizabeth declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology
Political theology
Political theology or public theology is a branch of both political philosophy and practical theology that investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking underlie political, social, economic and cultural discourses....

 of the sovereign's "two bodies": the body natural and the body politic
Body politic
A polity is a state or one of its subordinate civil authorities, such as a province, prefecture, county, municipality, city, or district. It is generally understood to mean a geographic area with a corresponding government. Thomas Hobbes considered bodies politic in this sense in Leviathan...

:

My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God's creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all ... to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.


As her triumphal progress
Royal Entry
The Royal Entry, also known by various other names, including Triumphal Entry and Joyous Entry, embraced the ceremonial and festivities accompanying a formal entry by a ruler or his representative into a city in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period in Europe...

 wound through the city on the eve of the coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth's open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were "wonderfully ravished". The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned and anointed by Owen Oglethorpe
Owen Oglethorpe
Owen Oglethorpe: Bishop of Carlisle was an English academic and bishop.-Childhood and Education:He was born in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, in approximately 1505-10 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was elected a fellow in 1526 and received his MA in 1529 and his DD in 1536...

, the Catholic bishop of Carlisle, at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. She was then presented for the people's acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

Church settlement



Elizabeth's personal religious convictions have been much debated by scholars. She was a Protestant, but kept Catholic symbols (such as the crucifix), and downplayed the role of sermons in defiance of a key Protestant belief.

In terms of public policy she favoured pragmatism in dealing with religious matters. The question of her legitimacy was a key concern: Although she was technically illegitimate under both Protestant and Catholic law, her retroactively declared illegitimacy under the English church was not a serious bar compared to having never been legitimate as the Catholics claimed she was. For this reason alone, it was never in serious doubt that Elizabeth would embrace Protestantism.

Elizabeth and her advisors perceived the threat of a Catholic crusade against heretical England. Elizabeth therefore sought a Protestant solution that would not offend Catholics too greatly while addressing the desires of English Protestants; she would not tolerate the more radical Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

s though, who were pushing for far-reaching reforms. As a result, the parliament of 1559 started to legislate for a church based on the Protestant settlement of Edward VI, with the monarch as its head, but with many Catholic elements, such as priestly vestments.

The House of Commons
House of Commons of England
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain...

 backed the proposals strongly, but the bill of supremacy met opposition in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, particularly from the bishops. Elizabeth was fortunate that many bishoprics were vacant at the time, including the Archbishopric of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. This enabled supporters amongst peers to outvote the bishops and conservative peers. Nevertheless, Elizabeth was forced to accept the title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

 rather than the more contentious title of Supreme Head
Supreme Head
Supreme Head of the Church of England was a title held by King Henry VIII of England signifying his leadership of the Church of England.-History:...

, which many thought unacceptable for a woman to bear. The new Act of Supremacy
Act of Supremacy 1559
The Act of Supremacy 1558 was an Act of the Parliament of England, passed under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It replaced the original Act of Supremacy 1534 issued by Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, which arrogated ecclesiastical authority to the monarchy, and which had been...

 became law on 8 May 1559. All public officials were to swear an oath of loyalty to the monarch as the supreme governor or risk disqualification from office; the heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 laws were repealed, to avoid a repeat of the persecution of dissenters practised by Mary. At the same time, a new Act of Uniformity
Act of Uniformity 1559
The Act of Uniformity set the order of prayer to be used in the English Book of Common Prayer. Every man had to go to church once a week or be fined 12 pence , a considerable sum for the poor. By this Act Elizabeth I made it a legal obligation to go to church every Sunday...

 was passed, which made attendance at church and the use of an adapted version of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 compulsory, though the penalties for recusancy
Recusancy
In the history of England and Wales, the recusancy was the state of those who refused to attend Anglican services. The individuals were known as "recusants"...

, or failure to attend and conform, were not extreme.

Marriage question


From the start of Elizabeth's reign, it was expected that she would marry and the question arose whom. She never did, although she received many offers for her hand; the reasons for this are not clear. Historians have speculated that Thomas Seymour had put her off sexual relationships, or that she knew herself to be infertile. She considered several suitors until she was about fifty. Her last courtship was with François, Duke of Anjou
François, Duke of Anjou
Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon was the youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.-Early years:...

, 22 years her junior. While risking possible loss of power like her sister, who played into the hands of King Phillip II of Spain, marriage offered the chance of an heir. However, the choice of a husband might also provoke political instability or even insurrection.

Lord Robert Dudley


In the spring of 1559 it became evident that Elizabeth was in love with her childhood friend Lord Robert Dudley
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

. It was said that Amy Robsart
Amy Robsart
Amy Dudley was the first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, favourite of Elizabeth I of England. She is primarily known for her death by falling down a flight of stairs, the circumstances of which have often been regarded as suspicious...

, his wife, was suffering from a "malady in one of her breasts", and that the Queen would like to marry Lord Robert in case his wife should die. By the autumn of 1559 several foreign suitors were vying for Elizabeth's hand; their impatient envoys engaged in ever more scandalous talk and reported that a marriage with her favourite
Favourite
A favourite , or favorite , was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In medieval and Early Modern Europe, among other times and places, the term is used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler...

 was not welcome in England: "There is not a man who does not cry out on him and her with indignation ... she will marry none but the favoured Robert". Amy Dudley died in September 1560 from a fall from a flight of stairs and, despite the coroner's inquest
Inquest
Inquests in England and Wales are held into sudden and unexplained deaths and also into the circumstances of discovery of a certain class of valuable artefacts known as "treasure trove"...

 finding of accident, many people suspected Dudley to have arranged her death so that he could marry the queen. Elizabeth seriously considered marrying Dudley for some time. However, William Cecil, Nicholas Throckmorton
Nicholas Throckmorton
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton was an English diplomat and politician, who was an ambassador to France and played a key role in the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.-Early years:...

, and some conservative peers
Peerage of England
The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain....

 made their disapproval unmistakably clear. There were even rumours that the nobility would rise if the marriage took place.

Despite several other marriage projects, Robert Dudley was regarded as a candidate for nearly another decade. Elizabeth was extremely jealous of his affections, even when she no longer meant to marry him herself. In 1564 Elizabeth created Dudley Earl of Leicester
Earl of Leicester
The title Earl of Leicester was created in the 12th century in the Peerage of England , and is currently a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, created in 1837.-Early creations:...

. He finally remarried in 1578, to which the queen reacted with repeated scenes of displeasure and lifelong hatred towards his wife
Lettice Knollys
Lettice Knollys , Countess of Essex and Countess of Leicester , was an English noblewoman and mother to the courtiers Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Lady Penelope Rich; through her marriage to Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, she incurred the Queen's undying...

. Still, Dudley always "remained at the centre of [Elizabeth's] emotional life", as historian Susan Doran
Susan Doran
Dr Susan Doran is a British historian whose primary studies surround the reign of Elizabeth I, in particular the theme of marriage and succession...

 has described the situation. He died shortly after the Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

, and after Elizabeth's own death, a note from him was found among her most personal belongings, marked "his last letter" in her handwriting.

Political aspects


Marriage negotiations constituted a key element in Elizabeth's foreign policy. She turned down Philip II's
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 own hand in 1559, and negotiated for several years to marry his cousin Archduke Charles of Austria. By 1569, relations with the Habsburgs had deteriorated, and Elizabeth considered marriage to two French Valois princes in turn, first Henri, Duke of Anjou
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

, and later, from 1572 to 1581, his brother François, Duke of Anjou
François, Duke of Anjou
Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon was the youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.-Early years:...

, formerly Duke of Alençon. This last proposal was tied to a planned alliance against Spanish control of the Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. Elizabeth seems to have taken the courtship seriously for a time, and wore a frog-shaped earring that Anjou had sent her.

In 1563, Elizabeth told an imperial envoy: "If I follow the inclination of my nature, it is this: beggar-woman and single, far rather than queen and married". Later in the year, following Elizabeth's illness with smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, the succession question became a heated issue in Parliament. They urged the queen to marry or nominate an heir, to prevent a civil war upon her death. She refused to do either. In April she prorogued the Parliament, which did not reconvene until she needed its support to raise taxes in 1566. Having promised to marry previously, she told an unruly House:
I will never break the word of a prince spoken in public place, for my honour's sake. And therefore I say again, I will marry as soon as I can conveniently, if God take not him away with whom I mind to marry, or myself, or else some other great let happen.

By 1570, senior figures in the government privately accepted that Elizabeth would never marry or name a successor. William Cecil was already seeking solutions to the succession problem. For her failure to marry, Elizabeth was often accused of irresponsibility. Her silence, however, strengthened her own political security: she knew that if she named an heir, her throne would be vulnerable to a coup; she remembered that the way "a second person, as I have been" had been used as the focus of plots against her sister, Queen Mary.

Elizabeth's unmarried status inspired a cult of virginity. In poetry and portraiture, she was depicted as a virgin or a goddess or both, not as a normal woman. At first, only Elizabeth made a virtue of her virginity: in 1559, she told the Commons, "And, in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin". Later on, poets and writers took up the theme and turned it into an iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 that exalted Elizabeth. Public tributes to the Virgin by 1578 acted as a coded assertion of opposition to the queen's marriage negotiations with the Duc d'Alençon.

Putting a positive spin on her marital status, Elizabeth insisted she was married to her kingdom and subjects, under divine protection. In 1599, Elizabeth spoke of "all my husbands, my good people".

Mary, Queen of Scots


Elizabeth's first policy toward Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 was to oppose the French presence there. She feared that the French planned to invade England and put Mary, Queen of Scots, who was considered by many to be the heir to the English crown, on the throne. Elizabeth was persuaded to send a force into Scotland to aid the Protestant rebels, and though the campaign was inept, the resulting Treaty of Edinburgh
Treaty of Edinburgh
The Treaty of Edinburgh was a treaty drawn up on 5 July 1560 between the Commissioners of Queen Elizabeth I with the assent of the Scottish Lords of the Congregation, and French representatives in Scotland to formally conclude the Siege of Leith and replace the Auld Alliance with France with a new...

 of July 1560 removed the French threat in the north. When Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 to take up the reins of power, the country had an established Protestant church and was run by a council of Protestant nobles supported by Elizabeth. Mary refused to ratify the treaty.

In 1563 Elizabeth proposed her own suitor, Robert Dudley, as a husband for Mary, without asking either of the two people concerned. Both proved unenthusiastic, and in 1565 Mary married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stewart or Stuart, 1st Duke of Albany , styled Lord Darnley before 1565, was king consort of Scotland and murdered at Kirk o'Field...

, who carried his own claim to the English throne. The marriage was the first of a series of errors of judgement by Mary that handed the victory to the Scottish Protestants and to Elizabeth. Darnley quickly became unpopular in Scotland and then infamous for presiding over the murder of Mary's Italian secretary David Rizzio
David Rizzio
Davide Rizzio, sometimes written as Davide Riccio or Davide Rizzo , was an Italian courtier, born close to Turin, a descendant of an ancient and noble family still living in Piedmont, the Riccio Counts de San Paolo et Solbrito, who rose to become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots...

. In February 1567, Darnley was murdered by conspirators almost certainly led by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Shortly afterwards, on 15 May 1567, Mary married Bothwell, arousing suspicions that she had been party to the murder of her husband. Elizabeth wrote to her:

How could a worse choice be made for your honour than in such haste to marry such a subject, who besides other and notorious lacks, public fame has charged with the murder of your late husband, besides the touching of yourself also in some part, though we trust in that behalf falsely.


These events led rapidly to Mary's defeat and imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence...

. The Scottish lords forced her to abdicate in favour of her son James
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, who had been born in June 1566. James was taken to Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep...

 to be raised as a Protestant. Mary escaped from Loch Leven
Loch Leven
Loch Leven is a fresh water loch in Perth and Kinross council area, central Scotland.Roughly triangular, the loch is about 6 km at its longest. The burgh of Kinross lies at its western end. Loch Leven Castle lies on an island a short way offshore...

 in 1568 but after another defeat fled across the border into England, where she had once been assured of support from Elizabeth. Elizabeth's first instinct was to restore her fellow monarch; but she and her council instead chose to play safe. Rather than risk returning Mary to Scotland with an English army or sending her to France and the Catholic enemies of England, they detained her in England, where she was imprisoned for the next nineteen years.

Mary and the Catholic cause



Mary was soon the focus for rebellion. In 1569 there was a major Catholic rising in the North
Rising of the North
The Rising of the North of 1569, also called the Revolt of the Northern Earls or Northern Rebellion, was an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic nobles from Northern England to depose Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.-Background:When Elizabeth I succeeded her...

; the goal was to free Mary, marry her to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal was an English nobleman.Norfolk was the son of the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. He was taught as a child by John Foxe, the Protestant martyrologist, who remained a lifelong recipient of Norfolk's patronage...

, and put her on the English throne. After the rebels' defeat, over 750 of them were executed on Elizabeth's orders. In the belief that the revolt had been successful, Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 issued a bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 in 1570, titled Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis was a papal bull issued on 25 February 1570 by Pope Pius V declaring "Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime" to be a heretic and releasing all her subjects from any allegiance to her and excommunicating any that obeyed her orders.The bull, written in...

, which declared "Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime" to be excommunicate and a heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, releasing all her subjects from any allegiance to her. Catholics who obeyed her orders were threatened with excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. The papal bull provoked legislative initiatives against Catholics by Parliament, which were however mitigated by Elizabeth's intervention. In 1581, to convert English subjects to Catholicism with "the intent" to withdraw them from their allegiance to Elizabeth was made a treasonable offence
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

, carrying the death penalty. From the 1570s missionary priests
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 from continental seminaries came to England secretly in the cause of the "reconversion of England". Many suffered execution, engendering a cult of martyrdom.

Regnans in Excelsis gave English Catholics a strong incentive to look to Mary Stuart as the true sovereign of England. Mary may not have been told of every Catholic plot to put her on the English throne, but from the Ridolfi Plot
Ridolfi plot
The Ridolfi plot was a plot in 1570 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. The plot was hatched and planned by Roberto di Ridolfi, an international banker who was able to travel between Brussels, Rome and Madrid to gather support without attracting...

 of 1571 (which caused Mary's suitor, the Duke of Norfolk, to lose his head) to the Babington Plot
Babington Plot
The Babington Plot was a Catholic plot in 1586 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant, and put Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic, on the English throne. It led to the execution of Mary. The long-term goal was an invasion by the Spanish forces of King Philip II and the Catholic league in...

 of 1586, Elizabeth's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham
Francis Walsingham
Sir Francis Walsingham was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security...

 and the royal council keenly assembled a case against her. At first, Elizabeth resisted calls for Mary's death. By late 1586 she had been persuaded to sanction her trial and execution on the evidence of letters written during the Babington Plot. Elizabeth's proclamation of the sentence announced that "the said Mary, pretending title to the same Crown, had compassed and imagined within the same realm divers things tending to the hurt, death and destruction of our royal person." On 8 February 1587, Mary was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle
Fotheringhay Castle
Fotheringhay Castle was in the village of Fotheringhay 3½ miles to the north of the market town of Oundle, Northamptonshire .King Richard III was born here in 1452 and it was also where Mary, Queen of Scots, was tried and executed in 1587....

, Northamptonshire.

Wars and overseas trade


Elizabeth's foreign policy was largely defensive. The exception was the English occupation of Le Havre
Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total...

 from October 1562 to June 1563, which ended in failure when Elizabeth's Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 allies joined with the Catholics to retake the port. Elizabeth's intention had been to exchange Le Havre for Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

, lost to France in January 1558. Only through the activities of her fleets did Elizabeth pursue an aggressive policy. This paid off in the war against Spain, 80% of which was fought at sea. She knighted Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

 after his circumnavigation
Circumnavigation
Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.- Global circumnavigation :...

 of the globe from 1577 to 1580, and he won fame for his raids on Spanish ports and fleets. An element of piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 and self-enrichment drove Elizabethan seafarers, over which the queen had little control.

Netherlands expedition


After the occupation and loss of Le Havre
Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total...

 in 1562–1563, Elizabeth avoided military expeditions on the continent until 1585, when she sent an English army to aid the Protestant Dutch rebels
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 against Philip II. This followed the deaths in 1584 of the allies William the Silent
William the Silent
William I, Prince of Orange , also widely known as William the Silent , or simply William of Orange , was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of...

, Prince of Orange, and François, Duke of Anjou
François, Duke of Anjou
Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon was the youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.-Early years:...

, and the surrender of a series of Dutch towns to Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
Alexander Farnese was Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1586 to 1592, and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1578 to 1592.-Biography:...

, Philip's governor of the Spanish Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. In December 1584, an alliance between Philip II and the French Catholic League
Catholic League (French)
The Catholic League of France, sometimes referred to by contemporary Roman Catholics as the Holy League, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, was formed by Duke Henry of Guise in 1576...

 at Joinville
Treaty of Joinville
The Treaty of Joinville was signed in secret in December 31, 1584 by the French Catholic League, led by France's first family of Catholic nobles, the Guises, and Habsburg Spain. In this treaty, Philip II, King of Spain, agreed to finance the Catholic League...

 undermined the ability of Anjou's brother, Henry III of France
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

, to counter Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 domination of the Netherlands. It also extended Spanish influence along the channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 coast of France, where the Catholic League was strong, and exposed England to invasion. The siege of Antwerp in the summer of 1585 by the Duke of Parma necessitated some reaction on the part of the English and the Dutch. The outcome was the Treaty of Nonsuch
Treaty of Nonsuch
The Treaty of Nonsuch was signed by Elizabeth I of England and the Netherlands on 10 August 1585 at Nonsuch Palace in Surrey.-Background:The treaty was provoked by the signing of the Treaty of Joinville in 1584 between Philip II of Spain and the Catholic League in France in which Philip II promised...

 of August 1585, in which Elizabeth promised military support to the Dutch. The treaty marked the beginning of the Anglo-Spanish War, which lasted until the Treaty of London in 1604.

The expedition was led by her former suitor, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Elizabeth from the start did not really back this course of action. Her strategy, to support the Dutch on the surface with an English army, while beginning secret peace talks with Spain within days of Leicester's arrival in Holland, had necessarily to be at odds with Leicester's, who wanted and was expected by the Dutch to fight an active campaign. Elizabeth on the other hand, wanted him "to avoid at all costs any decisive action with the enemy". He enraged Elizabeth by accepting the post of Governor-General from the Dutch States-General
States-General of the Netherlands
The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...

. Elizabeth saw this as a Dutch ploy to force her to accept sovereignty over the Netherlands, which so far she had always declined. She wrote to Leicester:

We could never have imagined (had we not seen it fall out in experience) that a man raised up by ourself and extraordinarily favoured by us, above any other subject of this land, would have in so contemptible a sort broken our commandment in a cause that so greatly touches us in honour....And therefore our express pleasure and commandment is that, all delays and excuses laid apart, you do presently upon the duty of your allegiance obey and fulfill whatsoever the bearer hereof shall direct you to do in our name. Whereof fail you not, as you will answer the contrary at your utmost peril.


Elizabeth's "commandment" was that her emissary read out her letters of disapproval publicly before the Dutch Council of State, Leicester having to stand nearby. This public humiliation of her "Lieutenant-General" combined with her continued talks for a separate peace with Spain, irreversibly undermined his standing among the Dutch. The military campaign was severely hampered by Elizabeth's repeated refusals to send promised funds for her starving soldiers. Her unwillingness to commit herself to the cause, Leicester's own shortcomings as a political and military leader and the faction-ridden and chaotic situation of Dutch politics were reasons for the campaign's failure. Leicester finally resigned his command in December 1587.

Spanish Armada


Meanwhile, Sir Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

 had undertaken a major voyage against Spanish ports and ships to the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 in 1585 and 1586, and in 1587 had made a successful raid
Singeing the king of Spain's beard
Drake's 1587 expedition took place in the Bay of Cádiz, in April and May 1587. The English privateer, Francis Drake, led a military expedition against the Spanish naval forces assembling at Cádiz. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed, and substantial supplies were destroyed or captured. There...

 on Cadiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, destroying the Spanish fleet of war ships intended for the Enterprise of England: Philip II had decided to take the war to England at last.

On 12 July 1588, the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

, a great fleet of ships, set sail for the channel, planning to ferry a Spanish invasion force under the Duke of Parma to the coast of southeast England from the Netherlands. A combination of miscalculation, misfortune, and an attack of English fire ships on 29 July off Gravelines
Gravelines
Gravelines is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies at the mouth of the river Aa 15 miles southwest of Dunkirk. There is a market in the town square on Saturdays. The "Arsenal" approached from the town square is home to an extensive and carefully displayed art collection....

 which dispersed the Spanish
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 ships to the northeast defeated the Armada. The Armada straggled home to Spain in shattered remnants, after disastrous losses on the coast of Ireland (after some ships had tried to struggle back to Spain via the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, and then back south past the west coast of Ireland). Unaware of the Armada's fate, English militias mustered to defend the country under the Earl of Leicester's command. He invited Elizabeth to inspect her troops at Tilbury
Tilbury
Tilbury is a town in the borough of Thurrock, Essex, England. As a settlement it is of relatively recent existence, although it has important historical connections, being the location of a 16th century fort and an ancient cross-river ferry...

 in Essex on 8 August. Wearing a silver breastplate over a white velvet dress, she addressed them in one of her most famous speeches
Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
The Speech to the Troops at Tilbury was delivered on 9 August Old Style, 19 August New Style 1588 by Queen Elizabeth I of England to the land forces earlier assembled at Tilbury in Essex in preparation of repelling the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada....

:
My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people ... I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any Prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm.


When no invasion came, the nation rejoiced. Elizabeth's procession to a thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral
Old St Paul's Cathedral
Old St Paul's Cathedral is a name used to refer to the medieval cathedral of the City of London which until 1666 stood on the site of the present St Paul's Cathedral. Built between 1087 and 1314 and dedicated to St Paul, the cathedral was the fourth church on the site at Ludgate Hill...

 rivalled that of her coronation as a spectacle. The defeat of the armada was a potent propaganda victory, both for Elizabeth and for Protestant England. The English took their delivery as a symbol of God's favour and of the nation's inviolability under a virgin queen. However, the victory was not a turning point in the war, which continued and often favoured Spain. The Spanish still controlled the Netherlands, and the threat of invasion remained. Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

 claimed after her death that Elizabeth's caution had impeded the war against Spain:

If the late queen would have believed her men of war as she did her scribes, we had in her time beaten that great empire in pieces and made their kings of figs and oranges as in old times. But her Majesty did all by halves, and by petty invasions taught the Spaniard how to defend himself, and to see his own weakness.


Though some historians have criticised Elizabeth on similar grounds, Raleigh's verdict has more often been judged unfair. Elizabeth had good reason not to place too much trust in her commanders, who once in action tended, as she put it herself, "to be transported with an haviour of vainglory".

Supporting Henry IV of France



When the Protestant Henry IV
Henry IV of France
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....

 inherited the French throne in 1589, Elizabeth sent him military support. It was her first venture into France since the retreat from Le Havre in 1563. Henry's succession was strongly contested by the Catholic League
Catholic League (French)
The Catholic League of France, sometimes referred to by contemporary Roman Catholics as the Holy League, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, was formed by Duke Henry of Guise in 1576...

 and by Philip II, and Elizabeth feared a Spanish takeover of the channel ports. The subsequent English campaigns in France, however, were disorganised and ineffective. Lord Willoughby
Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby
thumb|Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby de EresbyPeregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby was the son of Catherine Willoughby, 12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, and Richard Bertie. Bertie was Lady Willoughby de Eresby's second husband, the first being Charles Brandon, Duke of...

, largely ignoring Elizabeth's orders, roamed northern France to little effect, with an army of 4,000 men. He withdrew in disarray in December 1589, having lost half his troops. In 1591, the campaign of John Norreys
John Norreys
Sir John Norreys , also frequently spelt John Norris, was an English soldier of a Berkshire family of court gentry, the son of Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys a lifelong friend of Queen Elizabeth....

, who led 3,000 men to Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, was even more of a disaster. As for all such expeditions, Elizabeth was unwilling to invest in the supplies and reinforcements requested by the commanders. Norreys left for London to plead in person for more support. In his absence, a Catholic League army almost destroyed the remains of his army at Craon, north-west France, in May 1591. In July, Elizabeth sent out another force under Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

, to help Henry IV in besieging Rouen
Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

. The result was just as dismal. Essex accomplished nothing and returned home in January 1592. Henry abandoned the siege in April. As usual, Elizabeth lacked control over her commanders once they were abroad. "Where he is, or what he doth, or what he is to do," she wrote of Essex, "we are ignorant".

Ireland


Although Ireland was one of her two kingdoms, Elizabeth faced a hostile—and in places virtually autonomous—Irish population that adhered to Catholicism and was willing to defy her authority and plot with her enemies. Her policy there was to grant land to her courtiers and prevent the rebels from giving Spain a base from which to attack England. In the course of a series of uprisings, Crown forces pursued scorched-earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics, burning the land and slaughtering man, woman and child. During a revolt in Munster
Munster
Munster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the south of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes...

 led by Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Desmond
Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond
Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond was an Irish nobleman and leader of the Desmond Rebellions of 1579.-Life:...

, in 1582, an estimated 30,000 Irish people starved to death. The poet and colonist Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

 wrote that the victims "were brought to such wretchedness as that any stony heart would have rued the same". Elizabeth advised her commanders that the Irish, "that rude and barbarous nation", be well treated; but she showed no remorse when force and bloodshed were deemed necessary.

Between 1594 and 1603, Elizabeth faced her most severe test in Ireland during the Nine Years War
Nine Years' War (Ireland)
The Nine Years' War or Tyrone's Rebellion took place in Ireland from 1594 to 1603. It was fought between the forces of Gaelic Irish chieftains Hugh O'Neill of Tír Eoghain, Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Tír Chonaill and their allies, against English rule in Ireland. The war was fought in all parts of the...

, a revolt that took place at the height of hostilities with Spain, who backed the rebel leader, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. In spring 1599, Elizabeth sent Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Essex in Ireland
Essex in Ireland refers to the military campaign pursued in Ireland in 1599 by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, during the Nine Years War and the Anglo-Spanish War....

, to put the revolt down. To her frustration, he made little progress and returned to England in defiance of her orders. He was replaced by Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy
Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire
Charles Blount , 8th Baron Mountjoy and 1st Earl of Devonshire was an English nobleman and soldier who served as Lord Deputy of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth I, then as Lord Lieutenant under King James I.-Early life:...

, who took three years to defeat the rebels. O'Neill finally surrendered in 1603, a few days after Elizabeth's death. Soon after a peace treaty was signed between England and Spain.

Russia



Elizabeth continued to maintain the diplomatic relations with the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 originally established by her deceased brother. She often wrote to its then ruler, Tsar Ivan IV, on amicable terms, though the Tsar was often annoyed by her focus on commerce rather than on the possibility of a military alliance. The Tsar even proposed to her once, and during his later reign, asked for a guarantee to be granted asylum in England should his rule be jeopardised.
Upon Ivan's death, he was succeeded by his simple-minded son Feodor
Feodor I of Russia
Fyodor I Ivanovich 1598) was the last Rurikid Tsar of Russia , son of Ivan IV and Anastasia Romanovna. In English he is sometimes called Feodor the Bellringer in consequence of his strong faith and inclination to travel the land and ring the bells at churches. However, in Russian the name...

. Unlike his father, Feodor had no enthusiasm in maintaining exclusive trading rights with England. Feodor declared his kingdom open to all foreigners, and dismissed the English ambassador Sir Jerome Bowes, whose pomposity had been tolerated by the new Tsar's late father. Elizabeth sent a new ambassador, Dr. Giles Fletcher, to demand from the regent Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov
Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles.-Early years:...

 that he convince the Tsar to reconsider. The negotiations failed, due to Fletcher addressing Feodor with two of his titles omitted. Elizabeth continued to appeal to Feodor in half appealing, half reproachful letters. She proposed an alliance, something which she had refused to do when offered one by Feodor's father, but was turned down.

Barbary states, Ottoman Empire



Trade and diplomatic relations developed between England and the Barbary states during the rule of Elizabeth. England established a trading relationship with Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 in opposition to Spain, selling armour, ammunition, timber, and metal in exchange for Moroccan sugar, in spite of a Papal
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 ban. In 1600, Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud
Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud
Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun was principal secretary to the Moroccan ruler "Muly Hamet" , and ambassador to the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1600, to promote the establishment of an Anglo-Moroccan alliance....

, the principal secretary to the Moroccan ruler Mulai Ahmad al-Mansur, visited England as an ambassador to the court of queen Elizabeth I, in order to negotiate an Anglo-Moroccan alliance
Anglo-Moroccan alliance
The Anglo-Moroccan alliance was established at the end of the 16th century and the early 17th century between the kingdoms of England and Morocco. Commercial agreements had been reached by Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Moroccan leader Ahmad al-Mansur on the basis of a mutual enmity to the...

 against Spain. Elizabeth "agreed to sell munitions supplies to Morocco, and she and Mulai Ahmad al-Mansur talked on and off about mounting a joint operation against the Spanish". Discussions however remained inconclusive, and both rulers died within two years of the embassy.

Diplomatic relations were also established with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 with the chartering of the Levant Company
Levant Company
The Levant Company, or Turkey Company, was an English chartered company formed in 1581, to regulate English trade with Turkey and the Levant...

 and the dispatch of the first English ambassador to the Porte, William Harborne
William Harborne
William Harborne of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk was a diplomat, businessman, and English Ambassador to the Ottoman empire, appointed by Queen Elizabeth I of England.-Establishment of the English Embassy in Constantinople:...

, in 1578. For the first time, a Treaty of Commerce was signed in 1580. Numerous envoys were dispatched in both directions and epistolar exchanges occurred between Elizabeth and Sultan Murad III
Murad III
Murad III was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death.-Biography:...

. In one correspondence, Murad entertained the notion that Islam and Protestantism had "much more in common than either did with Roman Catholicism, as both rejected the worship of idols", and argued for an alliance between England and the Ottoman Empire. To the dismay of Catholic Europe, England exported tin and lead (for cannon-casting) and ammunitions to the Ottoman Empire, and Elizabeth seriously discussed joint military operations with Murad III during the outbreak of war with Spain in 1585, as Francis Walsingham was lobbying for a direct Ottoman military involvement against the common Spanish enemy.

Later years


The period after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 brought new difficulties for Elizabeth that lasted the fifteen years until the end of her reign. The conflicts with Spain and in Ireland dragged on, the tax burden grew heavier, and the economy was hit by poor harvests and the cost of war. Prices rose and the standard of living fell. During this time, repression of Catholics intensified, and Elizabeth authorised commissions in 1591 to interrogate and monitor Catholic householders. To maintain the illusion of peace and prosperity, she increasingly relied on internal spies and propaganda. In her last years, mounting criticism reflected a decline in the public's affection for her.

One of the causes for this "second reign" of Elizabeth, as it is sometimes called, was the different character of Elizabeth's governing body, the privy council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

 in the 1590s. A new generation was in power. With the exception of Lord Burghley, the most important politicians had died around 1590: The Earl of Leicester in 1588, Sir Francis Walsingham in 1590, Sir Christopher Hatton
Christopher Hatton
Sir Christopher Hatton was an English politician, Lord Chancellor of England and a favourite of Elizabeth I of England.-Early days:...

 in 1591. Factional strife in the government, which had not existed in a noteworthy form before the 1590s, now became its hallmark. A bitter rivalry between the Earl of Essex and Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, son of Lord Burghley, and their respective adherents, for the most powerful positions in the state marred politics. The queen's personal authority was lessening, as is shown in the affair of Dr. Lopez, her trusted physician. When he was wrongly accused by the Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

 of treason out of personal pique, she could not prevent his execution, although she had been angry about his arrest and seems not to have believed in his guilt (1594).

Elizabeth, during the last years of her reign, came to rely on granting monopolies as a cost-free system of patronage rather than ask Parliament for more subsidies in a time of war. The practice soon led to price-fixing
Price fixing
Price fixing is an agreement between participants on the same side in a market to buy or sell a product, service, or commodity only at a fixed price, or maintain the market conditions such that the price is maintained at a given level by controlling supply and demand...

, the enrichment of courtiers at the public's expense, and widespread resentment. This culminated in agitation in the House of Commons during the parliament of 1601. In her famous "Golden Speech" of 30 November 1601, Elizabeth professed ignorance of the abuses and won the members over with promises and her usual appeal to the emotions:

Who keeps their sovereign from the lapse of error, in which, by ignorance and not by intent they might have fallen, what thank they deserve, we know, though you may guess. And as nothing is more dear to us than the loving conservation of our subjects' hearts, what an undeserved doubt might we have incurred if the abusers of our liberality, the thrallers of our people, the wringers of the poor, had not been told us!


This same period of economic and political uncertainty, however, produced an unsurpassed literary flowering in England. The first signs of a new literary movement had appeared at the end of the second decade of Elizabeth's reign, with John Lyly
John Lyly
John Lyly was an English writer, best known for his books Euphues,The Anatomy of Wit and Euphues and His England. Lyly's linguistic style, originating in his first books, is known as Euphuism.-Biography:John Lyly was born in Kent, England, in 1553/1554...

's Euphues and Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

's The Shepheardes Calender
The Shepheardes Calender
The Shepheardes Calender was Edmund Spenser's first major poetic work, published in 1579. In emulation of Virgil's first work, the Eclogues, Spenser wrote this series of pastorals to begin his career. However, Spenser's models were rather the Renaissance eclogues of Mantuanus. M. Y. Hughes. Virgil...

in 1578. During the 1590s, some of the great names of English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 entered their maturity, including William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

. During this period and into the Jacobean era
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

 that followed, the English theatre reached its highest peaks. The notion of a great Elizabethan age
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

 depends largely on the builders, dramatists, poets, and musicians who were active during Elizabeth's reign. They owed little directly to the queen, who was never a major patron of the arts.

As Elizabeth aged her image gradually changed. She was portrayed as Belphoebe
Belphoebe
Belphoebe or Belphebe is a huntress in The Faerie Queene, based on Queen Elizabeth, conceived of, however, as a pure, high-spirited maiden, rather than a queen. It is suggested that she is a member of Poseidon's family, and it is known that she is a virgin huntress, possibly resembling the...

 or Astraea, and after the Armada, as Gloriana
Gloriana
Gloriana is an opera in three acts by Benjamin Britten to an English libretto by William Plomer, based on Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey...

, the eternally youthful Faerie Queene of Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

's poem. Her painted portraits became less realistic and more a set of enigmatic icons
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 that made her look much younger than she was. In fact, her skin had been scarred by smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 in 1562, leaving her half bald and dependent on wigs and cosmetics. Sir Walter Raleigh called her "a lady whom time had surprised". However, the more Elizabeth's beauty faded, the more her courtiers praised it.

Elizabeth was happy to play the part, but it is possible that in the last decade of her life she began to believe her own performance. She became fond and indulgent of the charming but petulant young Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who was Leicester's stepson and took liberties with her for which she forgave him. She repeatedly appointed him to military posts despite his growing record of irresponsibility. After Essex's desertion of his command in Ireland in 1599, Elizabeth had him placed under house arrest and the following year deprived him of his monopolies. In February 1601, the earl tried to raise a rebellion in London. He intended to seize the queen but few rallied to his support, and he was beheaded on 25 February. Elizabeth knew that her own misjudgements were partly to blame for this turn of events. An observer reported in 1602 that "Her delight is to sit in the dark, and sometimes with shedding tears to bewail Essex".

Death


Elizabeth's senior advisor, Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, died on 4 August 1598. His political mantle passed to his son, Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, who soon became the leader of the government. One task he addressed was to prepare the way for a smooth succession. Since Elizabeth would never name her successor, Cecil was obliged to proceed in secret. He therefore entered into a coded negotiation
Secret correspondence of James VI
The secret correspondence of James VI of Scotland was communication between the Scottish King and administrators of Elizabeth I of England between May 1601 and the Queen's death in March 1603. In this period it was settled that James VI would succeed Elizabeth as James I of England, but the...

 with James VI of Scotland
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, who had a strong but unrecognised claim. Cecil coached the impatient James to humour Elizabeth and "secure the heart of the highest, to whose sex and quality nothing is so improper as either needless expostulations or over much curiosity in her own actions". The advice worked. James's tone delighted Elizabeth, who responded: "So trust I that you will not doubt but that your last letters are so acceptably taken as my thanks cannot be lacking for the same, but yield them to you in grateful sort". In historian J. E. Neale's view, Elizabeth may not have declared her wishes openly to James, but she made them known with "unmistakable if veiled phrases".

The Queen's health remained fair until the autumn of 1602, when a series of deaths among her friends plunged her into a severe depression. In February 1603, the death of Catherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham, the niece of her cousin and close friend Catherine, Lady Knollys, came as a particular blow. In March, Elizabeth fell sick and remained in a "settled and unremovable melancholy". She died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace was a Thameside royal residence on the right bank of the river, upstream of the Palace of Westminster, to which it lay 9 miles SW of as the crow flies. It it was erected c. 1501 within the royal manor of Sheen, by Henry VII of England, formerly known by his title Earl of Richmond,...

, between two and three in the morning. A few hours later, Cecil and the council set their plans in motion and proclaimed James VI of Scotland
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 as king of England.

Elizabeth's coffin was carried downriver at night to Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

, on a barge lit with torches. At her funeral on 28 April, the coffin was taken to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on a hearse
Hearse
A hearse is a funerary vehicle used to carry a coffin from a church or funeral home to a cemetery. In the funeral trade, hearses are often called funeral coaches.-History:...

 drawn by four horses hung with black velvet. In the words of the chronicler John Stow
John Stow
John Stow was an English historian and antiquarian.-Early life:The son of Thomas Stow, a tallow-chandler, he was born about 1525 in London, in the parish of St Michael, Cornhill. His father's whole rent for his house and garden was only 6s. 6d. a year, and Stow in his youth fetched milk every...

:
Westminster was surcharged with multitudes of all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads and gutters, that came out to see the obsequy
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

, and when they beheld her statue lying upon the coffin, there was such a general sighing, groaning and weeping as the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man.


Elizabeth was interred in Westminster Abbey in a tomb she shares with her half-sister, Mary. The Latin inscription on their tomb, "Regno consortes & urna, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis", translates to "Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection".

Legacy and memory



Elizabeth was lamented by many of her subjects, but others were relieved at her death. Expectations of King James started high but then declined, so by the 1620s there was a nostalgic revival of the cult of Elizabeth. Elizabeth was praised as a heroine of the Protestant cause and the ruler of a golden age. James was depicted as a Catholic sympathiser, presiding over a corrupt court. The triumphalist image that Elizabeth had cultivated towards the end of her reign, against a background of factionalism and military and economic difficulties, was taken at face value and her reputation inflated. Godfrey Goodman
Godfrey Goodman
Godfrey Goodman was the Anglican Bishop of Gloucester, and a member of the Protestant Church. He was the son of Godfrey Goodman and Jane Croxton, landed gentry living in Wales...

, Bishop of Gloucester, recalled: "When we had experience of a Scottish government, the Queen did seem to revive. Then was her memory much magnified." Elizabeth's reign became idealised as a time when crown, church and parliament had worked in constitutional balance.
The picture of Elizabeth painted by her Protestant admirers of the early 17th century has proved lasting and influential. Her memory was also revived during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, when the nation again found itself on the brink of invasion. In the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, the Elizabethan legend was adapted to the imperial ideology of the day, and in the mid-20th century, Elizabeth was a romantic symbol of the national resistance to foreign threat. Historians of that period, such as J. E. Neale
J. E. Neale
Sir John Ernest Neale, FBA was a British historian who specialised in Elizabethan and Parliamentary history.-Academic career:...

 (1934) and A. L. Rowse
A. L. Rowse
Alfred Leslie Rowse, CH, FBA , known professionally as A. L. Rowse and to friends and family as Leslie, was a British historian from Cornwall. He is perhaps best known for his work on Elizabethan England and his poetry about Cornwall. He was also a Shakespearean scholar and biographer...

 (1950), interpreted Elizabeth's reign as a golden age of progress. Neale and Rowse also idealised the Queen personally: she always did everything right; her more unpleasant traits were ignored or explained as signs of stress.

Recent historians, however, have taken a more complicated view of Elizabeth. Her reign is famous for the defeat of the Armada, and for successful raids against the Spanish, such as those on Cádiz in 1587 and 1596, but some historians point to military failures on land and at sea. In Ireland, Elizabeth's forces ultimately prevailed, but their tactics stain her record. Rather than as a brave defender of the Protestant nations against Spain and the Habsburgs, she is more often regarded as cautious in her foreign policies. She offered very limited aid to foreign Protestants and failed to provide her commanders with the funds to make a difference abroad.

Elizabeth established an English church that helped shape a national identity and remains in place today. Those who praised her later as a Protestant heroine overlooked her refusal to drop all practices of Catholic origin from the Church of England. Historians note that in her day, strict Protestants regarded the Acts of Settlement and Uniformity of 1559
Elizabethan Religious Settlement
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was Elizabeth I’s response to the religious divisions created over the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. This response, described as "The Revolution of 1559", was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England...

 as a compromise. In fact, Elizabeth believed that faith was personal and did not wish, as Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 put it, to "make windows into men's hearts and secret thoughts".

Though Elizabeth followed a largely defensive foreign policy, her reign raised England's status abroad. "She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island," marvelled Pope Sixtus V, "and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, by all". Under Elizabeth, the nation gained a new self-confidence and sense of sovereignty, as Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 fragmented. Elizabeth was the first Tudor to recognise that a monarch ruled by popular consent. She therefore always worked with parliament and advisers she could trust to tell her the truth—a style of government that her Stuart successors failed to follow. Some historians have called her lucky; she believed that God was protecting her. Priding herself on being "mere English", Elizabeth trusted in God, honest advice, and the love of her subjects for the success of her rule. In a prayer, she offered thanks to God that:

[At a time] when wars and seditions with grievous persecutions have vexed almost all kings and countries round about me, my reign hath been peacable, and my realm a receptacle to thy afflicted Church. The love of my people hath appeared firm, and the devices of my enemies frustrate.

Ancestry





See also

  • Early modern Britain
    Early Modern Britain
    Early modern Britain is the history of the island of Great Britain, roughly corresponding to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Major historical events in Early Modern British history include the English Renaissance, the English Reformation and Scottish Reformation, the English Civil War, the...

  • English Renaissance
    English Renaissance
    The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century; like most of northern...

  • Portraiture of Elizabeth I of England
    Portraiture of Elizabeth I of England
    The portraiture of Elizabeth I of England illustrates the evolution of English royal portraits in the Early Modern period from the representations of simple likenesses to the later complex imagery used to convey the power and aspirations of the state, as well as of the monarch at its head.Even the...

  • Protestant Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

  • Royal Arms of England
  • Royal eponyms in Canada – Queen Elizabeth I
  • Royal Standards of England
  • Tudor period
    Tudor period
    The Tudor period usually refers to the period between 1485 and 1603, specifically in relation to the history of England. This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII...


Further reading


  • Beem, Charles. The Foreign Relations of Elizabeth I (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Jones, Norman. The Birth of the Elizabethan Age: England in the 1560s (Blackwell, 1993)
  • MacCaffrey Wallace T. Elizabeth I (1993), political biography summarizing his multivolume study:
    • MacCaffrey Wallace T. The Shaping of the Elizabethan Regime: Elizabethan Politics, 1558-1572 (1969)
    • MacCaffrey Wallace T. Queen Elizabeth and the Making of Policy, 1572-1588 (1988)
    • MacCaffrey Wallace T. Elizabeth I: War and Politics, 1588-1603 (1994)
  • McLaren, A. N. Political Culture in the Reign of Elizabeth I: Queen and Commonwealth, 1558-1585 (Cambridge University Press, 1999) excerpt and text search
  • Palliser, D. M. The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors, 1547-1603 (1983) survey of social and economic history
  • Ridley, Jasper
    Jasper Ridley
    Jasper Godwin Ridley was a British writer, known for historical biographies. He received the 1970 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography Lord Palmerston....

    . Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue. New York : Fromm International, 1989. ISBN 0-88064-110-X.

Primary sources and early histories

  • Elizabeth I: The Collected Works Leah S. Marcus, Mary Beth Rose & Janel Mueller (eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. ISBN 0-226-50465-4 excerpt and text search
  • Susan M. Felch, ed. Elizabeth I and Her Age (Norton Critical Editions) (2009); 700pp; primary and secondary sources, with an emphasis on literature
  • Camden, William.
    William Camden
    William Camden was an English antiquarian, historian, topographer, and officer of arms. He wrote the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England.- Early years :Camden was born in London...

     History of the Most Renowned and Victorious Princess Elizabeth. Wallace T. MacCaffrey (ed). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, selected chapters, 1970 edition. OCLC 59210072.
  • William Camden.
    William Camden
    William Camden was an English antiquarian, historian, topographer, and officer of arms. He wrote the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England.- Early years :Camden was born in London...

     Annales Rerum Gestarum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabetha. (1615 and 1625.) Hypertext edition, with English translation. Dana F. Sutton (ed.), 2000. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  • Clapham, John. Elizabeth of England. E. P. Read and Conyers Read (eds). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1951. OCLC 1350639.

Historiography and memory

  • Carlson, Eric Josef. "Teaching Elizabeth Tudor with Movies: Film, Historical Thinking, and the Classroom," Sixteenth Century Journal, Summer 2007, Vol. 38 Issue 2, pp 419-440
  • Collinson, Patrick. "Elizabeth I and the verdicts of history," Historical Research, Nov 2003, Vol. 76 Issue 194, pp 469-91
  • Doran, Susan, and Thomas S. Freeman, eds. The Myth of Elizabeth.(2003). 280 pp.
  • Greaves, Richard L., ed. Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1974), excerpts from historians
  • Haigh, Christopher, ed. The Reign of Elizabeth I (1984), essays by scholars
  • Howard, Maurice. "Elizabeth I: A Sense Of Place In Stone, Print And Paint," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Dec 2004, Vol. 14 Issue 1, pp 261-268
  • Hulme, Harold. "Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments: The Work of Sir John Neale," Journal of Modern History Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sept. 1958), pp. 236-240 in JSTOR
  • Montrose, Louis. The Subject of Elizabeth: Authority, Gender, and Representation. (2006). 341 pp.
  • Watkins, John. Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England: Literature, History, Sovereignty (2002) 264pp
  • Watson, Nicola J., and Michael Dobson. England's Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy (2002) ISBN 0-19-818377-1.
  • Woolf, D.R. "Two Elizabeths? James I and the Late Queen's Famous Memory," Canadian Journal of History, Aug 1985, Vol. 20 Issue 2, pp 167-91

External links



  • Tudor and Elizabeth Portraits. Tudor and Elizabethan portraits and other works of art, provided for research and education. Retrieved 15 December 2007.