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Tudors - Queen Elizabeth I

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Queen Elizabeth I
Name: Queen Elizabeth I
Father: Henry VIII
Mother: Anne Boleyn
Born: September 7, 1533 at Greenwich Palace
Ascended to the throne: November 17, 1558 aged 25 years
Crowned: January 15, 1559 at Westminster
Married: Never married
Died: March 24, 1603 at Richmond Palace, surrey, aged 69 years, 6 months, and 15 days
Buried at: Westminster Abbey

500th Anniversary of Henry VIII's accession - Tudor and Mary Rose Royal Mail stamp covers

Queen of England (1558–1603), the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Through her Religious Settlement of 1559 she enforced the Protestant religion by law. She had Mary Queen of Scots executed in 1587. Her conflict with Roman Catholic Spain led to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Elizabethan age was expansionist in commerce and geographical exploration, and arts and literature flourished. The rulers of many European states made unsuccessful bids to marry Elizabeth, and she used these bids to strengthen her power. She was succeeded by James I.

Elizabeth 1 Book available hereElizabeth was born at Greenwich, London on 7 September 1533. She was well educated in several languages. During her Roman Catholic half-sister Mary's (Mary I) reign, Elizabeth's Protestant sympathies brought her under suspicion, and she lived in seclusion at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, until on Mary's death she became queen. Her first task was to bring about a broad religious settlement. Many unsuccessful attempts were made by Parliament to persuade Elizabeth to marry or settle the succession. She found courtship a useful political weapon, and she maintained friendships with, among others, the courtiers Leicester, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Essex. She was known as the Virgin Queen.

The arrival in England in 1568 of Mary Queen of Scots and her imprisonment by Elizabeth caused a political crisis, and a rebellion of the feudal nobility of the north followed in 1569. Friction between English and Spanish sailors hastened the breach with Spain. When the Dutch rebelled against Spanish tyranny Elizabeth secretly encouraged them; Philip II retaliated by aiding Catholic conspiracies against her. This undeclared war continued for many years, until the landing of an English army in the Netherlands in 1585 and Mary's execution in 1587, brought it into the open. Philip's Armada (the fleet sent to invade England in 1588) met with total disaster.

The war with Spain continued with varying fortunes to the end of the reign, while events at home foreshadowed the conflicts of the 17th century. Among the Puritans discontent was developing with Elizabeth's religious settlement, and several were imprisoned or executed. Parliament showed a new independence, and in 1601 forced Elizabeth to retreat on the question of the crown granting manufacturing and trading monopolies. Yet her prestige remained unabated, as shown by the failure of Essex's rebellion in 1601.

Queen Elizabeth I's Signature

Signature of Queen Elizabeth I

View Movie Trailer
Title: Elizabeth I: The Golden Age
Starring: Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I
Released: 2007
Production: Universal Pictures


‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too’ – Queen Elizabeth I (speech as the Spanish Armada approached)

‘I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the kingdom of England’ – Queen Elizabeth I (on being pressed by Parliament to marry)

‘There is no marvel in a woman learning to speak, but there would be in teaching her to hold her tongue’ – Queen Elizabeth I (on being praised for her linguistic skills by the French ambassador)

‘Better beggar woman and single than Queen and married’ – Queen Elizabeth I (her father Henry VIII had executed her mother Anne Boleyn) 



 Elizabeth becomes Queen on the death of her half-sister, Mary. 


 Elizabeth is crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey in January. 


 Mary Queen of Scots in Paris declares herself Queen of France, Scotland and England when her husband Francis becomes King of France. He dies a year later and Mary returns to Scotland. 


 Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity restore the Protestant Church in England and make Elizabeth Head of the Church of England. 


 The Revised Prayer Book of Elizabeth I is issued. It is less extreme than its predecessors 


 Elizabeth founds Westminster School 


 Hawkins and Drake make first slave-trading voyage to America. 


 Elizabeth gives aid to the Protestant Huguenots in the French Wars of Religion. English troops occupy Dieppe and Le Havre.  


 John Foxe’s The Book of Martyrs, the story of religious persecution, is published in England. 


 -1564 17,000 die of the Plague in London which is believed to have been brought back by troops returning from Le Havre. 


 Peace made between England and France at Troyes. 


 Sir Walter Raleigh brings potatoes and tobacco from the New World 


 Elizabeth forbids Parliament to discuss her marriage prospects. 


 Mary Queen of Scots, flees to England from Scotland and is imprisoned by Elizabeth. 


 Elizabeth I approves Sunday sports 


 Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth from the Catholic Church. 


 - 1580 Francis Drake sails around the world in the Golden Hind


 Francis, Duke of Alencon, secretly comes to England to try and marry Elizabeth. 


 Francis Drake knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the deck of The Golden Hind


 Sir Walter Raleigh founds the first American colony and names it Virginia after Elizabeth the Virgin Queen 


 Oakham School founded by Archdeacon Robert Johnson 


 William Shakespeare leaves Stratford for London to become an aspiring playwright 


 Babington Catholic plot to assassinate Elizabeth I 


 Mary Queen of Scots, who had fled from Scotland to England, is implicated in the Babington plot and is sent to trial. 


 Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed at Fotheringhay Castle on charges of treason. 


 Drake attacks the Spanish fleet in Cadiz. 


 Raleigh's second expedition to New World lands in North Carolina. Drake destroys the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.  


 Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and a favourite of Elizabeth, dies. 


 A Spanish Armada of 130 ships sailing against England is defeated by bad weather and the English fleet under Admiral Drake and John Hawkins using fireships. Many were wrecked trying to return by sailing round the north of the British Isles. The English dominance of the sea leaves the way open for English trade and colonisation of America and India. 


 Earl of Essex leads an expedition to Ireland. 


 John Harrington invents the first flushing water closet at his house at Kelston, Bath. He calls it 'Ajax' a pun on the Elizabethan slang word 'Jakes' for a privy. Elizabeth I orders a Harrington WC to be installed at Richmond Palace. 


 Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream


 15,000 Londoners die of the Plague. All theatres are closed for one year. Playwright Christopher Marlow is murdered.  


 Sir Walter Raleigh makes his first expedition to the South American continent. He explores 300 miles of the Orinoco searching for El Dorado. 


 Earl of Tyrone leads a rebellion against the English in Ireland. 


 The Globe Theatre is opened in London. 


 East India Company founded 


 Earl of Essex is executed for leading a revolt against Elizabeth. 


 Poor Law is passed introducing a poor relief rate on property owners. 


 First performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 


 Elizabeth I dies at Richmond Palace, Surrey. 

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