“… Or let me live with some more sweet content,
or die and so forget what love ere meant…”
These soulful lines were written by one of the most celebrated women of all time. Hailed as the Virgen Queen, Elizabeth I was perhaps the most powerful, revolutionary queen to ever rule Englan. During the 45 years of Elizabeth’s reign, England flourished in all aspects from economics to education. In fact Elizabeth I initiated so many successful improvements that this period came to be known as simply – The Elizabethan Age. In order to gain a bit more insight into the rather complex Queen Elizabeth, let’s examine her early childhood and youth, her ascent to the throne, and the accomplishments she had as queen.
Elizabeth I was the daughter of the rather infamous King Henry VIII and his second of six wives, Anne Boleyn. When Elizabeth was just three years old, her father, King Henry, falsely accused her mother, Anne Boleyn, of treason and adultery and had her beheaded. King Henry was so disappointed that his only child from that marriage was female, that he had young Elizabeth banished from his sight to a little home in the country while he perused his never-ending quest for a male heir. Even at such a young age, Elizabeth was keenly aware of her father’s disappointment of her. She had everything a little girl could ever want but lacked the one thing she truly desired- her father’s love and acceptance. Faced with such loneliness and heartache, Elizabeth took comfort in her one pleasure in life- her studies.
... his book ‘The Life and Times of King Henry VIII’: “Good wife, though she was Catherine ... of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He was born on June 28th 1491, was crowned king in ... christened Mary (who was later known as Queen Mary I). There were several more pregnancies, but ... wasting the money his father left.” How the French Ambassador described Henry between 1509-1511. The French ...
Elizabeth was a brilliant student and had the finest tutors England had to offer. By the age of six, Elizabeth’s reading and writing skills were far more advanced than many adults twice her age. She adored literature, particularly poetry. She even composed several poems of her own. Elizabeth excelled in geography, mathematics, and science and could read, write, and even speak over nine different languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Spanish. Elizabeth soon grew into a beautiful woman – elegant, witty, and serenely composed and a delight to the court on the rare chances she visited. In time, the pain of her father’s rejection ebbed; and Elizabeth was able to devote herself to her first love- the pursuit of knowledge.
Even though King Henry’s temperament was relatively mellowed by the birth of his male heir- Edward VI, Elizabeth still feared her father and avoided the court life whenever possible. Even after her father died and young Edward was crowned King of England, Elizabeth continued to avoid the court life. She preferred instead the tranquility of her own country life. Then, in 1547, young King Edward died. Surprisingly, it was Lady Jane Grey, a distant cousin, and not Elizabeth or even her older half-sister Mary who was named queen of England. Elizabeth elected to honor Edward’s decision, but Mary absolutely refused to acknowledge Lady Grey as her queen. In August of 1553, Mary gathered an army, overthrew lady Grey and became Queen of England. During her reign she imprisoned Elizabeth for 2 months in the tower of London and later had her banished to the country.
In November 1558, Mary died, and Elizabeth was finally crowned Queen of England. The first 30 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign were relatively peaceful. Then in 1588 she had to defeat King Phillip’s Spanish Armada for control of the high seas. Under Elizabeth’s firm, steady hand England slowly began to transform from the proverbial ugly duckling to a majestic swan, Elizabeth encouraged her royal navy to explore and conquer in the name of England. The literature world flourished during her reign. William Shakespeare himself was said to have performed several of his plays before her. She also helped to pass hundreds of reform laws on trade, agriculture, industry, etc. These laws went on to shape England into the nation it is today.
In 1554, Queen Mary I attempted to restore Catholicism as a single faith in England. Under Mary's reign, Protestants were either executed or they fled abroad. Despite the fact that Elizabeth had supported Mary's accession and attended Catholic services, Mary believed Elizabeth was leading Protestant conspiracies to take the power. Before her death, Mary tried to convince Elizabeth to defend the ...
In Conclusion, Queen Elizabeth I’s reign helped to mold England into a powerful nation. Queen Elizabeth herself was the strongest woman to ever ascend to the English throne. She overcame stifling pain of her father’s rejection to groom herself into a beautiful woman. After years of living in fear and solitude, Elizabeth was finally able to ascend to the throne. England flourished splendidly during her reign. Before her death, Queen Elizabeth was able to lat the foundation that gave rise to England, one of the mightiest nations in the world.