Elisabeth I (1533-1603)

Elisabeth I

1533 On September 7th, at Greenwich Palace, England, Elisabeth I was born. She was the Queen of England, being considered by many people the most important monarch of England. She was that who brought stability to the country after hard periods of former reigns and who founded the policy for English-speaking states.

1554 She was kept in London Tower by her step-sister, Queen Mary.

Elisabeth was the only child of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, even if Henry hoped to have a boy as his heir. For the sake of the marriage, Henry had divorced Catherine of Aragon and had run to Rome. Anne Boleyn was executed. Then, Henry married to Jane Seymour, who made a boy for him, the one who would have become Edward VI. Princess Elisabeth got a wonderful scholar education, but her position at the court was in danger many times. During her brother’s reign, Edward VI got close to ambitious Lord Seymour, but during her sister’s reign, Mary, she became the banner around which Protestant opposition raised.

1558 On September 17th, Elisabeth ascended the throne, becoming an expert in administration and in leading a state. At the beginning, she was helped by her adviser, Sir William Cecil, and then by Lord Burghley.

     The first and maybe the more sustainable realization of her was the founding of Church of England, by separating it from Papist Church. Her cousin, Queen Mary of Scotland (Jacob’s I mother, Elisabeth’s successor), was catholic and supported all catholic people, while moderation showed to Elisabeth made her enough unpopular between the most bigoted protestants.

Except Cecil, another markedly figure at the beginning of her reign was Lord Robert Dudley, whom she created the title of Count of Leicester and who was the true love of her life. But Leicester had been accused for killing his wife and that is why he was not a suitable contender for the Queen. Thus, during the first decades of her reign, Elisabeth tried many times to get married her actions were very well elaborated and wise.

Both internally and externally, Elisabeth’s policy was characterised by luck and caution and, in the same time, by a laudable reluctance to sacrifice human being. She supported with enough restraint Henry IV, protestant king of France, and also Protestants from Netherlands to fight against the domination oh Philip II of Spain.

1568 Her cousin, Mary of Scotland, ran to England.

1570 She was excommunicated by Pope Pius V.

1584 Sir Walter Raleigh got the right to colonize America.

1587 Queen Mary was executed.

1588 Spanish army was defeated.

1601 Her favourite, Count of Essex, outraged and was executed.

1603 On March 24th, Elisabeth I died at Richmond. The last decade of her reign was marked by a weakness, fatigue because of a declining economy provoked by several poor revolts and by ruinous spending made during military campaigns waged to conquer Ireland.

Elisabeth was very scholar and an exceptional linguist.  The period of her reign was considered a Golden Age. In the same time, the queen was a little interested in theatre, but histories which speak about a potential relation between Elisabeth and Shakespeare are, a big part of them, apocryphal. Many of the plays were written by the famous writer after her death.

Elisabeth was known by people for the easily she ordered the executions. Maybe this feature was inherited from her father, Henry VIII, but she had never used executions as a political tool.



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