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La regina Elisabetta I muore

La regina Elisabetta I muore



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Dopo 44 anni di governo, la regina Elisabetta I d'Inghilterra muore e il re Giacomo VI di Scozia sale al trono, unendo Inghilterra e Scozia sotto un unico monarca britannico.

Figlia del re Enrico VIII e di Anna Bolena, Elisabetta salì al trono nel 1559 alla morte della sorellastra, la regina Maria. Le due sorellastre, entrambe figlie di Enrico VIII, ebbero una relazione burrascosa durante i cinque anni di regno di Maria. Maria, che fu allevata come cattolica, promulgò una legislazione filo-cattolica e si sforzò di riportare il papa alla supremazia in Inghilterra. Ne seguì una ribellione protestante e la regina Maria imprigionò Elisabetta, una protestante, nella Torre di Londra con l'accusa di complicità. Dopo la morte di Maria, Elisabetta sopravvisse a diversi complotti cattolici contro di lei; sebbene la sua ascesa fu accolta con approvazione dalla maggior parte dei signori d'Inghilterra, che erano in gran parte protestanti e speravano in una maggiore tolleranza religiosa sotto una regina protestante. Sotto la guida del Segretario di Stato Sir William Cecil, Elisabetta abrogò la legislazione filo-cattolica di Maria, istituì una Chiesa protestante d'Inghilterra permanente e incoraggiò i riformatori calvinisti in Scozia.

LEGGI ANCHE: Le diverse infanzie di Elisabetta I e Maria Regina di Scozia

Negli affari esteri, Elisabetta praticò una politica volta a rafforzare gli alleati protestanti dell'Inghilterra e a dividere i suoi nemici. Elisabetta fu osteggiata dal papa, che rifiutò di riconoscere la sua legittimità, e dalla Spagna, nazione cattolica che era all'apice della sua potenza. Nel 1588, la rivalità anglo-spagnola portò a una fallita invasione spagnola dell'Inghilterra in cui l'Armada spagnola, la più grande forza navale del mondo all'epoca, fu distrutta dalle tempeste e da una determinata marina inglese.

Con la crescente dominazione inglese in mare, Elisabetta incoraggiò i viaggi di scoperta, come la circumnavigazione del mondo di Sir Francis Drake e le spedizioni di Sir Walter Raleigh sulla costa nordamericana.

Il lungo regno di Elisabetta, che divenne nota come la "Regina Vergine" per la sua riluttanza a mettere in pericolo la sua autorità attraverso il matrimonio, coincise con la fioritura del Rinascimento inglese, associato ad autori famosi come William Shakespeare. Alla sua morte nel 1603, l'Inghilterra era diventata una grande potenza mondiale sotto ogni aspetto e la regina Elisabetta I passò alla storia come uno dei più grandi monarchi d'Inghilterra.


Meghan Markle, il principe Harry ha registrato nomi di dominio per Lilibet prima della nascita

Secondo quanto riferito, la nuova vedova, la regina Elisabetta II, ha sofferto ancora un altro dolore al cuore: la morte di uno dei cuccioli che le è stato dato per fermare la sua sensazione di sentirsi giù e sola nel castello.

Fergus, uno dei due cuccioli che il principe Andrea ha dato a sua madre di 95 anni quando suo marito, il principe Filippo, si è ammalato all'inizio di quest'anno ed è morto durante il fine settimana, hanno riferito fonti al Sun.

La croce bassotto-corgi — conosciuta come “dorgi” — aveva solo circa 5 mesi, ha detto l'outlet. Nessuna causa di morte è stata data.

"La regina è assolutamente devastata", ha detto al giornale un membro del Castello di Windsor.

“I cuccioli sono stati portati dentro per tirarla su di morale durante un periodo molto difficile.

"Tutti gli interessati sono sconvolti perché questo accade così presto dopo che ha perso suo marito", ha detto la fonte di Philip, che è morto il 9 aprile a soli due mesi dal suo centesimo compleanno.

"Inoltre, ci sono stati i problemi con suo nipote, Harry", ha detto la fonte, riferendosi agli attacchi in corso del duca del Sussex contro la sua famiglia e l'istituzione della monarchia stessa.

La regina Elisabetta II e il principe Andrea partecipano ai funerali del principe Filippo al Castello di Windsor il 17 aprile 2021 a Windsor, in Inghilterra. Yui Mok-WPA Piscina/Immagini Getty

La regina — ben nota per il suo amore per i cani, secondo quanto riferito, aveva rinunciato ad averne di più dopo la morte del suo corgi, Vulcan, lo scorso ottobre.

Ma Andrew, segnato dallo scandalo, “ha sorpreso sua madre con due nuovi cuccioli quando si è sentita giù e sola nel castello – quando Philip si è ammalato per la prima volta, una fonte in precedenza ha detto al giornale britannico.

Una vecchia foto della regina Elisabetta con i suoi corgi. Alamy Foto Stock

Fergus prende il nome dallo zio della regina, il capitano Fergus Bowes-Lyon, che morì a soli 26 anni nel 1915 quando guidò un attacco alle linee tedesche nella battaglia di Loos in Francia durante la prima guerra mondiale, ha detto il Sun.

La regina Elisabetta è una nota amante dei cani, avendo molti cuccioli durante il suo regno. Alamy Foto Stock

Ha ancora l'altro cucciolo di Andrew, Muick, che prende il nome da un luogo di bellezza a Balmoral, dove la regina ha la sua tenuta scozzese.

Ha anche un “dorgi più vecchio,” Candy, l'ultimo discendente vivente di un corgi che la regina ha ricevuto per il suo diciottesimo compleanno, secondo il rapporto.

Il principe Filippo e la regina Elisabetta II lasciano il servizio militare il 13 marzo 2015. Chris Jackson/Getty Images


Contenuti

La discendenza dalle due figlie di Enrico VII che raggiunsero l'età adulta, Margherita e Maria, fu il primo e principale problema della successione.

Affermazione di Lennox Modifica

Maria I d'Inghilterra era morta senza riuscire a far nominare dal parlamento il suo successore preferito e primo cugino, Margaret Douglas, contessa di Lennox. Margaret Douglas era una figlia di Margaret Tudor e visse fino al 1578, ma divenne una figura marginale nelle discussioni sulla successione a Elisabetta I, che in nessun momento chiarì le questioni dinastiche della linea Tudor. [2] Quando nel 1565 il figlio maggiore di Margaret Douglas, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, sposò Mary, regina di Scozia, la "rivendicazione di Lennox" fu generalmente considerata consolidata nella "rivendicazione di Stuart". [3]

Stuart pretendenti Modifica

Giacomo VI era figlio di due nipoti di Margaret Tudor. Arbella Stuart, l'altro contendente più serio alla fine del XVI secolo, era la figlia di Margaret Douglas, il figlio minore della contessa di Lennox, Charles Stuart, I conte di Lennox.

La madre di Giacomo VI, Maria, regina di Scozia, era considerata una plausibile successore al trono inglese. All'inizio del regno di Elisabetta inviò ambasciatori in Inghilterra quando fu convocato un parlamento, anticipando un ruolo per il parlamento nel regolare la successione in suo favore. [4] Maria era cattolica romana e la sua vicinanza alla successione fu un fattore nel complotto, rendendo la sua posizione un problema politico per il governo inglese, alla fine risolto con mezzi giudiziari. Fu giustiziata nel 1587. In quell'anno il figlio di Maria, Giacomo, raggiunse l'età di ventuno anni, mentre Arbella ne aveva solo dodici.

Suffolk pretendenti Modifica

Mentre la linea Stuart di James e Arbella avrebbe avuto sostegno politico, nel 1600 i discendenti di Mary Tudor erano teoricamente rilevanti e per motivi legali non potevano essere scontati. Frances Grey, duchessa di Suffolk, ed Eleanor Clifford, contessa di Cumberland, ebbero entrambe figli in linea di successione. Frances ed Eleanor erano le figlie di Mary Tudor dal suo secondo marito, Charles Brandon, I duca di Suffolk. Frances sposò Henry Grey, primo duca di Suffolk, ed ebbero tre figlie, Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554), Lady Catherine Grey (1540-1568) e Lady Mary Grey (1545-1578). Di questi, i due più giovani vissero nel regno della regina Elisabetta.

Il primo matrimonio di Caterina con il giovane Henry Herbert, II conte di Pembroke, un matrimonio politico, fu annullato e non ci furono figli. Sposò segretamente Edward Seymour, I conte di Hertford nel 1560. La coppia fu imprigionata separatamente nella Torre di Londra dopo che Catherine rimase incinta. C'erano due figli del matrimonio, ma entrambi furono decisi dalla Chiesa d'Inghilterra stabilita come illegittimi. Dopo la morte di Catherine nel 1568, Seymour fu rilasciato. Il ragazzo più grande divenne Edward Seymour, il visconte Beauchamp il più giovane si chiamava Thomas. La "pretesa Beauchamp" è stata più insistentemente sostenuta da Thomas, facendo affidamento su una difesa contro la sentenza di illegittimità a sua disposizione, ma non al fratello maggiore. Morì nel 1600. Le voci dopo la morte di Elisabetta mostrarono che l'affermazione di Beauchamp non era stata dimenticata. [5]

Lady Mary Grey sposò, senza permesso reale, Thomas Keyes, e non ebbe figli. Le mancava completamente l'interesse per le pretese reali. [6]

Della famiglia di Eleanor Clifford si è parlato più spesso in relazione alla successione. Una figlia Margaret Stanley, contessa di Derby visse per avere due figli, Ferdinando Stanley, V conte di Derby e William Stanley, VI conte di Derby. Nel periodo in cui Margaret Stanley poteva essere considerata una candidata alla successione, il suo nome era solitamente "Margaret Strange", basato sul titolo di cortesia del marito di Lord Strange. Il suo sostegno cattolico è stato attirato dall'affermazione di Stuart. [3] Poco prima della sua morte nel 1593, tuttavia, la pretesa di suo marito Henry Stanley, IV conte di Derby era stata promossa da Sir William Stanley e William Allen. [7]

La posizione di Ferdinando nella successione portò poi al suo approccio nel superficiale complotto di Hesketh per prendere il potere, nel settembre 1593. [7] Sua figlia Anne Stanley, contessa di Castlehaven, ebbe un ruolo nelle discussioni legalistiche e ipotetiche della successione.

All'inizio del regno della regina Elisabetta c'era un certo interesse per un pretendente della Casa di York. Henry Hastings, III conte di Huntingdon, poteva avanzare una pretesa solo sulla base dell'idea che Enrico VII fosse un usurpatore, piuttosto che un re legittimo, ma aveva alcuni sostenitori, prima delle linee Tudor, Stuart e Suffolk. [8] Margaret Pole, contessa di Salisbury, sopravvissuta ai Plantageneti, era la sua bisnonna (da parte di madre), e suo nonno paterno era Riccardo, duca di York. Il diplomatico spagnolo Álvaro de la Quadra, sul cui resoconto sono stati ricostruiti i primi intrighi intorno alla successione, riteneva che Robert Dudley, cognato di Hastings, spingesse la regina nel marzo 1560 a nominare Hastings suo successore, contro la sua volontà . [9] C'erano anche alcune pretese dai suoi parenti nella famiglia polacca. [10]

La principale questione politica del regno di Riccardo II d'Inghilterra, che suo zio, il magnate Giovanni di Gaunt, avrebbe rivendicato il trono e quindi ribaltato il principio di primogenitura, fu riproposta nel contesto della successione elisabettiana, dopo sette generazioni. La figlia maggiore di Giovanni di Gaunt essendosi sposata con la Casa portoghese di Aviz, uno dei suoi discendenti fu l'Infanta di Spagna, Isabella Clara Eugenia. La legittimità dell'affermazione di Isabella è stata seriamente avanzata, dal lato cattolico dell'argomento. Una ragione data per la ribellione di Essex era che l'affermazione dell'Infanta aveva guadagnato terreno con Elizabeth e i suoi consiglieri. [11] [12]

Il Succession to the Crown Act 1543 fu il terzo atto di questo tipo del regno di Enrico VIII. [13] Ha approvato le disposizioni del testamento di Enrico (qualunque cosa fossero) nell'assegnare l'ordine di successione, dopo la morte di Elisabetta. Di conseguenza sostenne in termini parlamentari le pretese di successione di Lady Catherine Grey, protestante e nata in Inghilterra, su quelle di Maria, regina di Scozia. [14] Inoltre, significava che i pretendenti Stuart erano svantaggiati, rispetto ai pretendenti Suffolk, sebbene Giacomo VI discendesse dalla figlia maggiore di Enrico VII. [5]

Mettere da parte il testamento avrebbe, infatti, minacciato le prospettive di Giacomo VI, aprendo un nuovo fronte legale. Si specificava infatti la preferenza per i discendenti di Maria, piuttosto che per Margherita. Tuttavia, in sua assenza, la questione della successione non potrebbe essere trattata come una questione ai sensi della legge. Se fosse lasciato al diritto comune, la questione di come James, un alieno, potrebbe ereditare potrebbe essere sollevata in una forma più seria. [15]

Non esisteva un atto del Parlamento paragonabile ai tempi di Elisabetta. Non seguì il precedente stabilito da suo padre nel consentire il dibattito parlamentare sul tema della successione, ma cercò invece attivamente di chiuderlo durante tutto il suo regno. Paul Wentworth ha sfidato esplicitamente la sua posizione sulla questione nelle domande poste alla Camera dei Comuni nel 1566. [16]

Nel 1563, William Cecil elaborò un disegno di legge che prevedeva che il Consiglio Privato avesse ampi poteri se la regina fosse morta senza eredi, ma non lo presentò. [17] Il Parlamento chiese alla regina di nominare il suo successore, ma lei non lo fece. [18] Un disegno di legge fu approvato dal Parlamento nel 1572, ma la regina rifiutò il suo assenso. [19] All'inizio degli anni 1590, Peter Wentworth tentò di sollevare nuovamente la questione, ma il dibattito si chiuse bruscamente. La questione è emersa principalmente nel dramma. [20]

La discussione sulla successione fu fortemente scoraggiata e divenne pericolosa, ma non fu del tutto soppressa. Durante gli ultimi due decenni del secolo, il Privy Council è stato attivo contro gli opuscoli e la letteratura circolata privatamente sull'argomento. [21] John Stubbs, che pubblicò sulla questione strettamente correlata del matrimonio della regina, evitò l'esecuzione nel 1579 ma ebbe una mano tagliata e rimase nella Torre di Londra fino al 1581. In quell'anno, il Parlamento approvò la legge contro le parole sediziose e Voci pronunciate contro l'Eccellentissima Maestà della Regina. [22] La pubblicazione di libri ritenuti sediziosi divenne reato. [23]

Gran parte della scrittura era quindi anonima in forma manoscritta o, nel caso di argomenti cattolici, introdotta clandestinamente nel paese. Alcuni sono stati pubblicati in Scozia. Il Commonwealth di Leicester (1584), per esempio, un opuscolo diffuso illegalmente che attaccava il favorito della regina, Robert Dudley, conte di Leicester, dedicò gran parte del suo spazio alla difesa dei diritti di successione di Maria Regina di Scozia. [24]

Un certo numero di trattati, o "tratti di successione", circolarono. Da un'ampia letteratura sulla questione, Edward Edwards ha scelto cinque dei trattati che erano i maggiori contributi. Quello di Hales rifletteva una visione puritana (è stato considerato derivato da John Ponet) [25] e in larga misura stabiliva i termini del dibattito successivo. Gli altri quattro hanno sviluppato i casi per i successori cattolici. [26]

Il tratto di Hales Modifica

John Hales scrisse un discorso da pronunciare alla Camera dei Comuni nel 1563 [27] era un partigiano del conte di Hertford, in ragione di sua moglie, l'ex Lady Catherine Grey. [26] Era legato agli sforzi di Lord John Grey, zio e tutore di Lady Catherine Grey, che cercò di sostenere che lei era l'erede reale all'inizio del regno di Elisabetta, incorrendo nell'ira della regina. Questo manoscritto ha portato alla questione il vecchio statuto De natis ultra mare. E 'stato influente nel dibattito successivo, ma l'interpretazione dello statuto è diventata importante. [28] Ha anche causato furore e accuse di complotto. Hales poteva solo essere portato a dire che aveva mostrato una bozza a John Grey, William Fleetwood, l'altro membro del parlamento per lo stesso distretto, e John Foster, che era stato uno dei membri per Hindon. [29] Walter Haddon chiamò l'arresto di Hales e il successivo litigio il Tempestas Halesiana. Quello che Hales stava facendo era piuttosto complesso, usando argomenti legali per escludere i pretendenti scozzesi e anche affidandosi alla ricerca all'estero di Robert Beale per riaprire la questione del matrimonio di Hertford. [30] Francis Newdigate, che aveva sposato Anne Seymour, duchessa di Somerset, fu coinvolto nelle indagini, ma non fu imprigionato Hales. [31] Trascorse un anno nella prigione della flotta e nella Torre di Londra, e per il resto della sua vita fu agli arresti domiciliari. [27]

Il caso di un successore cattolico Edit

I primi tratti Modifica

John Lesley ha scritto per conto di Maria, regina di Scozia. [26] Una difesa dell'onore dell'alta, potente e nobile principessa Marie (1569) la sua stampa londinese fu impedita da Lord Burghley. Sollevò, in particolare, le tensioni tra l'atto di successione del 1543 e gli effettivi testamenti lasciati da Enrico VIII. Elisabetta non avrebbe accettato il grado implicito di controllo parlamentare della successione. Ulteriori discussioni sulla successione furono proibite dallo statuto, dal 1571. [32] Un'opera correlata, di Thomas Morgan (come supposto), [26] o Morgan Philipps (presunta), per Maria, regina di Scozia, fu un'altra stampa di Lesley's lavoro, nel 1571. [33] Le argomentazioni di Lesley infatti risalgono a Edmund Plowden, ed erano state semplificate da Anthony Browne. [34]

Il tratto Doleman Modifica

Gli argomenti naturalmente cambiarono dopo l'esecuzione della regina Mary. È stato notato che i sostenitori protestanti di Giacomo VI hanno ripreso i punti di discussione precedentemente utilizzati dai suoi sostenitori mentre i cattolici hanno impiegato alcuni argomenti che erano stati impiegati dai protestanti. [35]

Un passo significativo è stato compiuto in Robert Highington's Trattato sulla successione, a favore della linea attraverso la Casa del Portogallo. Lo pseudonimo di Robert Persons Conferenza sulla prossima successione alla Corona d'Inghilterra, di R. Doleman (che comprende forse coautori, 1595), era contrario alla pretesa di Giacomo VI. [26] Ha citato gli argomenti di Highington, contro quelli di Hales e Sir Nicholas Bacon. [36] Questo lavoro ha fatto uno sforzo apparente per discutere equamente i candidati, inclusa l'Infanta di Spagna, Isabella Clara Eugenia. Alcuni in Inghilterra hanno ritenuto che la morte di Elisabetta potesse portare alla guerra civile. Una prefazione suggeriva che Robert Devereux, II conte di Essex, potesse avere un'influenza decisiva. La circostanza si rifletteva male nell'Essex con la regina. [37] Ha anche cercato di minare Burghley suggerendo che fosse un partigiano di Arbella Stuart, e si è occupato in modo acuto delle questioni Lancaster/York. [38]

La trama di Gorboduc (1561) è stato spesso visto come un contributo al dibattito sulla successione. [39] Questo punto di vista, come esposto da Axton, ha portato a molti ulteriori dibattiti. Il gioco è stato dato per la regina nel 1562, e successivamente pubblicato. Stephen Alford sostiene che si tratta di un "testo di successione" generalizzato, con temi di cattivo consiglio e guerra civile. [40] Dal punto di vista della critica letteraria elisabettiana e giacobina, è stato sostenuto che è significativo sapere quando la successione fu "viva" come una questione di interesse pubblico, fino al regno di Giacomo I, e in quale forma il dramma, in particolare, potrebbe esprimere commenti su di esso. In particolare, Hopkins sottolinea che Macbeth e re Lear, entrambi relativi alla legittimità e alla politica dinastica, furono scritti nei primi anni del regno di Giacomo. [41]

Il termine "spettacolo di successione" è ora ampiamente applicato ai drammi del periodo che si riferiscono a una successione reale. Le opere citate in questo modo includono, tra le altre opere di Shakespeare, Frazione [42] Enrico V [43] Sogno di una notte di mezza estate attraverso l'allegoria e la figura di Titania [44] e Riccardo II come un caso atipico. [45] Un'altra commedia successiva che potrebbe essere letta in questo modo è Perkin Warbeck (1634) di John Ford. [46]

Il poeta Michael Drayton ha alluso alla successione in Epistole eroiche dell'Inghilterra (1597), in un modo ora visto come dilettarsi in politica con la mano pesante. [47] In esso, lettere immaginarie in distici sono scambiate da personaggi storici accoppiati. [48] ​​Hopkins vede l'opera come una "catena genealogica" che porta alla questione della successione, e sottolinea la discussione dettagliata della pretesa Yorkista, nelle annotazioni alle epistole tra Margherita d'Angiò e Guglielmo de la Pole, I Duca di Suffolk (che ai tempi di Drayton si pensava fossero amanti). [49] [50]

Le teorie sulla presunta successione dovevano essere riviste costantemente dalla fine degli anni 1590. Le speculazioni erano ampie e il cast di personaggi ha cambiato il loro status. [51]

Il Doleman tract del 1594 suggeriva una soluzione alla questione della successione: il pretendente del Suffolk William Stanley, VI conte di Derby avrebbe dovuto sposare l'Infanta di Spagna e avere successo. Stanley, tuttavia, si sposò l'anno successivo. [52] Carlo Emanuele I, duca di Savoia, genero di Filippo II di Spagna, rimase vedovo nel 1597. L'opinione cattolica suggeriva che avrebbe potuto sposare una pretendente, Lady Anne Stanley (nipote del conte), se non Arbella Stuart. [51]

Thomas Wilson ha scritto in un rapporto Lo Stato d'Inghilterra, Anno Domini 1600 che c'erano 12 "concorrenti" per la successione. Il suo conteggio includeva due Stuart (James e Arbella), tre dei Suffolk (due pretendenti di Beauchamp e il conte di Derby) e George Hastings, IV conte di Huntingdon, fratello minore del terzo conte menzionato sopra. Gli altri sei erano: [53]

    via Giovanni di Gaunt [i] via Edmund Crouchback , nipote di Enrico, re del Portogallo, via Giovanni di Gaunt [ii] e con relative rivendicazioni [iii]
  • L'Infanta di Spagna.

Questi sei potrebbero essere stati tutti presi come candidati cattolici (Percy non era infatti un cattolico, sebbene di famiglia cattolica). Wilson al momento della stesura (circa 1601) aveva lavorato su questioni di intelligence per Lord Buckhurst e Sir Robert Cecil. [54]

Di questi presunti pretendenti, Thomas Seymour e Charles Neville morirono nel 1600. Nessuna delle pretese iberiche arrivò a nulla. Il Duca di Parma fu oggetto delle stesse speculazioni del Duca di Savoia [51] ma si sposò nel 1600. Arbella Stuart era alle cure di Bess of Hardwick, [55] e Edward Seymour alle cure di Richard Knightley, il cui la seconda moglie Elizabeth era una delle sue sorelle. [56]


La vita amorosa della regina Elisabetta I

Elisabetta I iniziò il suo regno il 17 novembre 1558 come una giovane donna di soli 25 anni. Tuttavia, quando Elisabetta tenne il suo primo discorso al Parlamento all'inizio del 1559, dichiarò che sarebbe stato "sufficiente" per lei "vivere e morire vergine". all'età di 69 anni. Pertanto, all'interno di questo articolo analizzerò diversi eventi chiave prima della successione di Elisabetta per suggerire perché era "sufficiente" per una giovane donna di 25 anni fare una dichiarazione così audace nei mesi successivi, specialmente quando il suo stesso ruolo di monarca doveva sposarsi e produrre un erede.

Per decifrare la percezione di Elizabeth del matrimonio, è probabilmente meglio guardare prima l'esempio dato all'interno della sua famiglia immediata. Il padre di Elisabetta, Enrico VIII, si sposò in totale sei volte e, come recita la famosa filastrocca mnemonica, divorziarono, furono decapitati, morirono, divorziarono, decapitati e sopravvissero. Di quelli decapitati per tradimento e adulterio fu quello di sua madre, Anna Bolena, il 19 maggio 1536, quando Elisabetta non aveva ancora tre anni. Tuttavia, sebbene Elisabetta fosse troppo giovane per comprendere la "velocità e crudeltà della caduta della regina Anna", era pienamente consapevole dell'esecuzione della sua matrigna Catherine Howard il 13 febbraio 1542, quando aveva otto anni. Una volta che Catherine fu arrestata, suo padre "si rifiutò anche di lasciarla perorare in sua difesa". Delle sue altre quattro matrigne, due furono divorziate e messe da parte, una morì di parto e l'altra sopravvisse a malapena a causa di un'implicazione di sospetta eresia, mesi prima della morte di suo padre. Pertanto, le opinioni di Elisabetta sul matrimonio per quanto riguarda i matrimoni di suo padre possono essere state collegate solo all'alienazione o alla morte, sia per parto che per decapitazione.

La sorellastra maggiore di Elisabetta, Maria I, se la passò poco meglio nel suo matrimonio con il futuro Filippo II di Spagna, che sposò il 25 luglio 1554. Il matrimonio però non ebbe successo, "perché sebbene Maria si innamorò profondamente di Filippo, egli l'ha trovata repellente.” Non sorprende che il matrimonio non abbia prodotto figli, nonostante le speranze di Mary durante le sue gravidanze fantasma che avrebbe prodotto l'agognato erede cattolico. Filippo tornò presto in Spagna e Maria non lo vide mai più.

Quando Elisabetta alla fine successe il 17 novembre 1558, fu Filippo il primo a offrire la sua mano in matrimonio, anche se sarebbe stata necessaria una dispensa per Elisabetta per sposare il marito della sorella defunta. Tuttavia, Elisabetta fu attenta a non commettere lo stesso disastroso errore di sua sorella, quello di sposare un principe straniero cattolico. Al tempo della successione di Elisabetta "il paese fu impoverito dalle guerre sconsiderate della Spagna e umiliato dalla perdita di Calais", con il risultato che il Tesoro era praticamente vuoto. Fu questo il motivo, che i suoi consiglieri usarono in seguito nel 1579, quando Elisabetta pensò di sposare il principe cattolico francese, Frances, duca di Alencon. Le loro paure xenofobe erano molto popolari all'interno del paese, poiché gli inglesi "erano sempre diffidenti nei confronti degli uomini stranieri e dei loro modi continentali".

Anche la prima esperienza d'amore di Elisabetta fece ben poco per raccomandarla allo stato matrimoniale. Infatti, dopo la morte di suo padre il 28 gennaio 1547, Elisabetta fu affidata alle cure della matrigna, Catherine Parr, dove presto ottenne le attenzioni del nuovo marito della matrigna, Thomas Seymour. Quando all'inizio del 1548 Catherine Parr, incinta, si accorse dell'inadeguatezza della condotta civettuola del marito e della figliastra, Elizabeth fu debitamente mandata via. Nel giro di pochi mesi, Caterina morì di parto il 5 settembre 1548 e Thomas era ora libero di sposare la principessa quindicenne. Tuttavia, Thomas fu presto coinvolto in una lotta per il potere con suo fratello, il Lord Protettore Edward Seymour, e fu "condannato a morte con l'accusa di tradimento il 20 marzo 1549". il suo sospetto piano di sposare Elizabeth, ma non è stata trovata alcuna prova contro di loro. Questo primo incontro con l'amore e il flirt, e tutti i pericoli che ne derivarono, furono un primo segno per Elizabeth di come il matrimonio potesse portare all'autodistruzione.

Ovviamente, Elizabeth ebbe diverse possibilità di sposarsi durante il suo regno, in particolare con Robert Dudley (nella foto con Elizabeth, sopra), il suo grande favorito. Tuttavia, la morte sospetta della moglie di Robert, Amy Robsart, l'8 settembre 1560, pose effettivamente fine a questa possibilità. Elizabeth era ormai un politico abbastanza abile da sapere che il suo popolo si sarebbe ribellato se avesse sposato Dudley, a causa della credenza popolare che avesse "istigato la morte della sua scomoda moglie". Maria, regina di Scozia, sposò James, IV conte di Bothwell, che gli scozzesi credevano avesse ucciso il suo secondo marito Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, solo poche settimane prima. Di conseguenza, gli scozzesi si ribellarono e Maria fu costretta ad abdicare e "cedere il trono a suo figlio di tredici mesi, ora Giacomo VI". Questa drammatica serie di eventi in Scozia mostra in sé la saggezza di Elisabetta nel non sposare Robert Dudley nel 1560.

Per concludere, direi che Elisabetta aveva già deciso sulla sua successione che avrebbe "vissuto e morto vergine" a causa delle varie esperienze di matrimonio che aveva già incontrato all'interno della sua famiglia. I suoi flirt con Robert Dudley, l'amore della sua vita, all'inizio del suo regno furono rovinati dalla morte sospetta di sua moglie. Questo è servito a ricordare a Elizabeth quanto potesse essere pericoloso l'amore, specialmente dopo il suo incontro giovanile con Thomas Seymour. La scelta disastrosa di Maria, regina di Scozia nei mariti e la conseguente perdita del suo trono e della sua libertà indicarono anche a Elisabetta che un sovrano, in particolare una sovrana, doveva essere più attento nella scelta di una consorte. Elisabetta quindi doveva dimostrare che una donna monarca poteva governare efficacemente, nonostante quei contemporanei come "l'aggressivo divino calvinista, John Knox", pubblicizzassero testi scettici sul "Monstrous Regiment of Women" d'Europa. il dubbio nella mente di Elisabetta sull'opportunità di sposarsi, molto probabilmente confermò la sua decisione iniziale presa all'inizio del 1559 che era più saggio 'vivere e morire vergine'.

Scott Newport è nato nel 1984 a Reading, Berkshire e vive con sua moglie Katherine a Whitchurch, Hampshire. È stato un appassionato storico dilettante fin dalla giovane età ed è specializzato nell'era Tudor e Stuart.


L'armata spagnola si ritorce contro e lancia la potenza dell'Inghilterra

Il ritorno di Elisabetta al protestantesimo e il suo ristabilimento della Chiesa d'Inghilterra fu uno dei motivi per il lancio dell'Armada spagnola da parte di Filippo II di Spagna, anche se si può dire che ciò avvenne molto più tardi durante il regno di Elisabetta, cioè nel 1588. Il piano spagnolo era quello di invadere l'Inghilterra, rovesciare la regina e ristabilire il cattolicesimo romano in Inghilterra. L'invasione fu un fallimento e un duro colpo per il prestigio della Spagna, che a quel tempo era una superpotenza.

D'altra parte, la sconfitta della presunta invincibile Armada è stata una grande spinta morale, non solo per l'Inghilterra, ma anche per altri paesi protestanti in Europa. Sebbene la Spagna abbia continuato a dominare l'Europa per i decenni successivi, ora aveva un rivale in mare e vedeva gli inizi dell'Inghilterra come un attore importante nella politica europea.

Le navi da fuoco inglesi vengono lanciate contro l'armata spagnola al largo di Calais (Eastfarthingan / Public Domain)


Fatti sulla vita matrimoniale di Elisabetta

Il fatto che la regina Elisabetta fosse celibe, ed era anche conosciuta come la regina vergine, ha portato la questione del suo successore in prima linea nel mezzo della sua condizione distesa. Non aveva mai dichiarato chiaramente il nome della persona a cui voleva fare il suo successore.

Si ritiene che durante i suoi ultimi giorni avesse menzionato che Giacomo I (Giacomo VI) di Scozia le sarebbe successo. È stato anche detto che il governo della regina ha svolto un ruolo essenziale nel suo diventare il re d'Inghilterra. La regina Elisabetta morì nel sonno nelle prime ore del 24 marzo 1603. È interessante notare che l'ultimo monarca della dinastia Tudor morì lo stesso giorno di suo padre e di sua sorella.


Elisabetta I -Ultimo monarca dei Tudor

Elisabetta I fu regina d'Inghilterra dal 1558 fino alla sua morte nel 1603. Her Regno è stato chiamato l'età elisabettiana, un'esperienza molto eccitante e glorioso periodo della storia inglese, in cui l'Inghilterra divenne un'importante potenza mondiale.

Nacque vicino a Londra nel 1533. Suo padre era Enrico VIII e sua madre Anna Bolena, la seconda delle sei mogli del re. Quando Elizabeth aveva 3 anni sua madre aveva decapitato perché lei era accusato di avere una relazione con qualcun altro. Elisabetta aveva un Sambuco la sorellastra Mary e un fratellastro minore Edward.

Re Enrico VIII rotto con la Chiesa cattolica romana perché il papa non glielo permise divorzio la sua prima moglie. Henry allora fondato la Chiesa d'Inghilterra e fece protestare il suo paese.

Sebbene Henry curato molto poco di Elizabeth durante la sua infanzia lei ricevuto una buona educazione ed è stato insegnato bene in storia e filosofia. Ha imparato molte lingue, Compreso francese, italiano e latino.

Quando Henry morì nel 1547, il suo unico figlio, Edward, divenne re, ma il re ragazzo morì sei anni dopo. Maria divenne regina e fece di nuovo l'Inghilterra un paese cattolico. Elizabeth non le piaceva e pensava che lo fosse tramando contro di lei. Ha mandato la sua sorellastra in prigione nella Torre di Londra per due mesi. Quando lei era rilasciato , doveva vivere in campagna.

Maria morì nel 1558 ed Elisabetta successo sua. È diventata molto popolare e molte persone pensavano che avrebbe riportato la pace e stabilità in tempo di conflitto. Elisabetta era una cauto e intelligente regina di cui sapeva molto economia e mi sono trovata bene consiglieri . Tornò l'Inghilterra al protestantesimo, ma non era una... radicale riformatore religioso.

Elisabetta I

Sebbene c'erano molti giovani che volevano sposarla, Elisabetta rimase sola e non ebbe figli. Questo è stato un minaccia alla monarchia inglese perché senza figli sua cugina Mary, regina di Scozia, sarebbe ereditare il trono . Era cattolica e amica della Francia. Elisabetta era consapevole di questo pericolo e fece mandare Maria in prigione per molti anni. Lei era eseguito nel 1587.

Elizabeth ha dato molto al suo paese fiducia in se stessi . durante lei reign it built up its sea power and ships sailed across the seas to commercio in the New World. At that time Spain controlled much of the commercio in the New World. Elizabeth sent Sir Francis Drake and other sea captains to raid Spanish ships and seize gold and other treasures that the Spanish had catturato .

This was too much for Philip II of Spain so he deciso a attacco England. After years of preparation he put together a strong fleet of ships called the Spanish Armada. In 1588 the Armada sailed into the English Channel . Nel battaglia that lasted for nine days the British sconfitto il spagnoli because their ships were smaller and faster. Only a few of them managed to get back to Spain. Elizabeth had celebre the greatest victory of her reign .

The Elizabethan Age was also an age of arte and culture. Many musicians, scholars and writers came to her palace. William Shakespeare was the greatest writer of the period and wrote some of the world&rsquos finest plays and poems. (Elizabethan Theatre)

The last years of Elizabeth&rsquos reign erano troubled by scandals and revolts . Parliament started to criticize the queen and health problems made her weaker. She died on March 24, 1603 at the age of 69. At her wish, Mary Stuart&rsquos son, James VI of Scotland became king of England and the two countries were unito .


Queen Elizabeth I: Death & Funeral Information & Facts

‘She is certainly a great Queen and were she only a Catholic she would be our dearly beloved. Just look how well she governs! She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all…. Our children would have ruled the whole world.’ Pope Sixtus V describes Elizabeth, c1588

When news of the execution of Mary, queen of Scots reached Europe, it gave Philip II of Spain yet another reason to look askance at his former sister-in-law. English harassment of Spanish shipping and their support of rebellions against his rule had long angered him. He had tried diplomacy it had been successful enough until Elizabeth’s Protestant councilors grew suspicious of his motives and angry over his treatment of continental Protestants. After diplomacy came a gradual cooling between the countries Philip even tried his hand at encouraging Irish rebellions against Elizabeth. And Philip grew increasingly pious as the years passed, and thus more inclined to take the excommunication of 1570 more seriously.

Serious consequences were avoided for the first thirty years of Elizabeth’s rule due to her own prevarication and Philip’s more pressing problems. But as the 1580s began, it was clear that something must give. Philip could no longer afford the blatant piracy of the English, publicly disavowed but privately approved by Elizabeth (who always received the largest share of profits.) She had even gone so far as to knight her greatest pirate, Sir Francis Drake, in 1581. Four years later, the English openly supported the Netherlands when it revolted against Philip, a dangerous but popular policy for Elizabeth. Furthermore, Philip had long claimed the throne of Portugal but had only recently seized it by force of arms. If he wished to maintain control, he needed to defend the rich and wide-ranging Portuguese colonies.

Philip also needed to end the Protestant menace to Europe. He supported plans to free Mary, queen of Scots and place her on the English throne. His ambassador Mendoza had been peripherally involved in the Babington Plot and was expelled from England as a result. Many of Elizabeth’s councilors, most importantly the influential Robert Dudley, had advocated a tougher approach to Spanish meddling. But always the queen, mindful of her treasury and always desiring peace, had held back. She would send a few troops and some money, but little else. Philip, however, had less love of peace and a more pressing piety. England would be brought back into the Catholic fold, as the pope had commanded in 1570. The execution of Mary, queen of Scots in early 1587 gave him added impetus to act. The English had sought to publicize Mary’s various crimes, but most Europeans, even the Scots who had applauded her overthrow years ago, preferred the more tragic image of an innocent queen trapped by Elizabeth’s wily councilors.

Philip spent much of 1587 finally preparing his long-rumored ‘Armada’ against England. While Elizabeth’s council had long warned her of this possibility, Philip’s own advisors believed he could ill afford this new battle. The Spanish fleet and army had fought too long and hard over the years. They comprised the largest and best-prepared army and navy in the world they had been successful against the Turks, had watched their traditional enemy, France, succumb to internal religious turmoil, had seized Portugal, and fought throughout the Low Countries. But victories could be as tiresome and expensive as defeats. Morale was low and leadership was lacking.

Philip’s advisors consistently stressed the expense of the proposed battle. But for the king, expenses were driving him to fight. He needed to stop the English from seizing Spanish ships filled with precious coin and goods. Each loss was a further blow to a nearly empty treasury. There was no better time to fight than now, he declared, for the murder of Mary Stuart had at last united European opinion against Elizabeth. In July 1587, he received official approval from the pope for the invasion, provided England returned to Catholicism. The pope even agreed to allow Philip to choose the next English ruler. It would in all likelihood be the Spanish king himself for he claimed descent from the famous Edward III.

As further impetus to Philip, even as he negotiated approval of the invasion with the pope, Drake led an expedition into Spain itself, seizing and destroying many vessels. Elizabeth protested that Drake had acted without her knowledge this may have been true. Certainly the queen had no desire for war. But her protestations did not matter. It was an audacious act which could not go unpunished.

Elizabeth, of course, knew of the Spanish army lodged in the Low Countries, so close to English shores and able to intercept English shipping. When word came that these forces were being steadily increased and an armada of Spanish ships was being prepared for battle, she could no longer debate and hesitate. The impending threat was too obvious to ignore.

Yet what could England do against the great Spanish fleet? All of Europe, and many Englishmen, believed England could not withstand the overwhelming Spanish force.

‘Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects… 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…’ from Elizabeth I’s speech to the troops at Tilbury, 1588

The Armada which sailed against England is sometimes called ‘The Invincible Armada’, but its correct name is La Armada Grande. Its supreme commander was the duke of Medina Sidonia, a nobleman who had done all he could to avoid this appointment. He spent hours urging Philip, in the most polite and obsequious way possible, to find someone else, pointing out his own lack of experience in naval matters. But the king would not listen. Spain’s greatest naval commander Don Alvaro de Bazan the elder, the marquess of Santa Cruz, had died and there had been a long, fruitless search for a suitable replacement. The conscientious Medina Sidonia was Philip’s choice, much to the duke’s everlasting regret.

The Armada sailed from Lisbon on 20 May 1588, a grand procession of 130 ships and over 30,000 men. However, half of the vessels were transport ships and the majority of men were soldiers, not sailors. Medina Sidonia was to sail to Flanders, where he would join the prince of Parma who waited with more soldiers and transports. But the Armada stopped first in Corunna for some repair work and Medina Sidonia wrote to Philip, asking for the invasion to be postponed indefinitely. The king was adamant, however, and the fleet sailed to Flanders.

Their arrival was expected and observed by the English. Under the command of Lord Howard, they set out from Plymouth, under cover of night. They managed to destroy some of the chief Spanish ships so that, with reinforcements, their numbers roughly equaled the Spanish. More importantly, in terms of command and gunnery, the English had a far superior advantage. By the time of the great battle off Gravelines, each fleet had roughly sixty warships. The Spaniards fought heroically, but Howard was relentless. The English ships were more agile and their commanders more inventive. They did not allow the Spanish time to regroup and refit. Only one Spanish ship was captured but several sank or ran ashore. Medina Sidonia decided to lead the remaining fleet home, sailing along the north of Scotland and Ireland. They met constant storms and rough seas, and not one pilot remained in the whole fleet. Each passing storm destroyed more ships until, when the Armada finally limped home in the mid-September, half the fleet and most of its men were gone.

The defeat of the Armada was justly celebrated in Elizabeth’s time. It continues to be one of the most famous naval victories in history. There is an engaging aspect to the whole story – the English fleet taking on the greatest naval power in the world and, against all odds, winning a stunning victory. The psychological effect upon both nations was enormous.

Yet, upon closer inspection, the victory was neither as unexpected or immediately successful as is often believed. The English navy had always been superior in tactics and gunnery than the Spanish, but had suffered from Elizabeth’s penny-pinching support. They simply never had enough money to build the ships and pay the sailors needed to become a world-class naval power. The Spanish took so long to rebuild their navy that England finally had their opportunity, and they seized it with enthusiasm. England would become the undisputed master of the seas.

But Spain was not nearly finished as a world power. Barely two years after the Armada, they were virtually omnipotent in European affairs. The religious turmoil in France had weakened their traditional enemy to such an extent that Spain stood unchallenged until 1598, when Henri of Navarre converted to Catholicism. The balance of power in Europe was thus restored. But Spain’s army continued to grow until their dominance of land warfare equaled England’s naval power.

For Elizabeth, of course, the most important development was the most immediate – a brilliant victory over her greatest enemy, whose threats to invade had haunted most years of her reign. She could breathe a much-deserved sigh of relief. And she deserved no small credit for the success. Her speech to the troops at Tilbury, rallying them to fight, remains justly famous it is among her most stirring:

My loving people, We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. 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 to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.
She enjoyed a renaissance of sorts among her people after the Armada. She had already ruled for thirty years. Those years of peace and general prosperity had led to an inevitable resentment amongst her subjects, particularly the young noblemen who now dominated her court. They wanted adventure, glory, grand military exploits they were fervent nationalists who wanted England to finally challenge the great powers of Europe they believed themselves capable of anything. And Elizabeth, nearing sixty, would regard them with either amusement or anger. They did not know the price of war, she would complain they did not understand how difficult it had been to bring peace and security to England. They had not lived through the tumultuous reigns of her father and siblings. They did not remember the bitter religious divide, which even now she only bridged with her inestimable charm and intellect. England was at peace and her young courtiers chafed at peace. But for the queen, peace was her greatest gift to her ‘loving people.’ She knew its importance, the dear price it had cost her. ‘To be a King and wear a crown is a thing more pleasant to them that see it, than it is pleasant to them that bear it,’ she remarked in her Golden Speech of 1601.

But she also knew those young courtiers disagreed, however much they fawned over her, pretending she was still the young queen of thirty. Elizabeth was content to play the game for her vanity would not allow otherwise. To grow old was a curse to her, she remarked ‘I am not sick, I feel no pain, yet I pine away.’ To have a young mind in an old body was another common lament. She felt the loss of her youth keenly and did what she could to create a timeless role for herself. She wore wigs and heavy make-up and still dressed in the opulent gowns of a maid, a fetching style when she was younger but now merely a reminder of her lack of marriage and family. Her older subjects understood her melancholy of the younger ones, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Bacon were clever enough to guess its cause. But most did not.

And the queen no longer had the comfort of loyal Cecil and her beloved Dudley. Though Dudley had commanded the troops at Tilbury, he had died barely a month afterwards. Cecil was now very old and had ceded much of his influence to his ambitious son Robert and Sir Francis Walsingham, who died in 1590. The queen thus turned to another favorite, a young man who was a last link to Dudley. His name was Robert Devereux, earl of Essex he was Dudley’s stepson and his mother was Elizabeth’s cousin, Lettice Knollys.

Essex remains one of the more interesting courtiers of Elizabeth’s later years. He was the mortal enemy of Raleigh (who found him arrogant and overbearing) and close friends with Bacon. He became the great favorite of Elizabeth’s later years because, for a while, he was the ablest flirt and wit at court. But his ambitions went far beyond being the queen’s ‘wild-horse’. In this, he was encouraged by his flighty mother and sycophantic admirers.

Essex believed in the primacy of the nobility at Elizabeth’s court and disliked the influence of Cecil and his son, Robert, and other ‘upstarts’ such as Raleigh. He was too proud, which the queen – depending upon her mood – found endearing or infuriating. And he dreamed of military glory, badgering the queen to send him to Ireland to quell rebellions or with the navy to harass Spanish ships. Elizabeth often refused she genuinely enjoyed his company and would not risk his life. And when she did succumb, Essex performed disastrously. Though a daring and brave soldier, he was a terrible commander and his exploits cost the frugal queen dearly.

His worst offense, however, was a slip of the tongue. Elizabeth would respond to Essex’s tantrums by banishing him to the country until he begged forgiveness. Once, he decided to pretend illness instead. When news of his condition reached Elizabeth, she sent a letter asking after his health – but nothing more. Someone mentioned the queen’s conditions for letting him return. Infuriated, Essex cried out, ‘Her conditions! Her conditions are as crooked as her carcase.’ Those words reached the queen and she never forgot them.

Essex did return to court. But his subsequent behavior was outlandish and insulting he even dared to turn his back on Elizabeth during a council meeting. The final blow came when he led a rebellion against the queen. With his friend, the earl of Southampton, he planned to gather a small army and seize the queen and throne. When captured, as inevitably he was, for his supporters were few and even those deserted him, Essex declared he only meant to save the queen from evil counsel. But Elizabeth, who had so often vacillated over executions, only hesitated once with Essex. He was executed on 25 February 1601.

Despite scurrilous gossip, Elizabeth’s affection for Essex was more maternal than romantic. She had no choice but to sign his death-warrant but it broke her heart. When her godson, Sir John Harington, visited in the winter of 1602, he found her taste for old pleasures gone. Harington read some of his rhymes and Elizabeth, with a little smile, remarked, ‘When thou dost feel creeping time at thy gate, these fooleries will please thee less I am past my relish for such matters.’ To the earl of Nottingham, mourning the loss of his wife, she said, ‘ I am tied with a chain of iron about my neck. I am tied, I am tied, and the case is altered with me.’

She mentioned Essex at times, but this was merely a symptom of her awareness that all of the work and struggle of her reign had ended in solitude. She had often remarked on the essential loneliness of the crown but she felt it most deeply now.

Her council, led by Robert Cecil, whose father had died in 1601, watched her slow decline while preparingportrait of Elizabeth I in old age for the future. Elizabeth still had not named a successor. She had always understood its dangerous implications. Yet there was no real doubt that she meant for James VI of Scotland, son of Mary queen of Scots, to succeed her. He had married a Protestant princess and was already a father. And he had long since made his peace with Elizabeth, exchanging frequent letters and accepting her political advice.

Elizabeth retired to Richmond Palace, her ‘warm, snug box’ in March 1603. Her death was preceded by physical weakness and mental depression, but there were no overt causes. She was almost seventy years old, ancient for her time. She rested in a low chair by the fire, refusing to let doctors examine her. As the days passed, her condition slowly worsened. She stood for hours on end until, finally, she was persuaded to lay upon cushions on the floor. She rested there for two days, not speaking. A doctor ventured close and asked how she could bear the endless silence. She replied simply, ‘I meditate.’ For the third and fourth day, she continued to rest in silence, with a finger often in her mouth. Her attendants were terrified they must move her but she refused. The younger Cecil visited and said, ‘Your Majesty, to content the people, you must go to bed.’ Elizabeth replied, with some of her old spirit, ‘Little man, little man, the word must is not used to princes.’

Finally, she grew so weak that they could carry her to bed. She asked for music and, for a time, it brought some comfort. Her councilors assembled did she have any instructions regarding the succession? She made a sign when Cecil mentioned the king of Scotland. It was enough. He returned to his office to begin the paperwork for a new ruler.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Whitgift, whom she once called her ‘little black husband’, arrived to pray. He was old and his knees ached terribly, but he knelt at the royal bedside until she finally slept. She slept on into the early hours of 24 March until, at last, as the courtiers watched and waited, the steady breathing stopped. ‘Her Majesty departed this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from the tree,’ John Manningham was told.

That same morning, the chief councilors rode to Whitehall where Cecil drafted the proclamation of the queen’s death and James’s succession. He read it aloud first at Whitehall and then at St Paul’s and finally Cheapside cross. The councilors then formally demanded entrance to the Tower of London in the name of King James I of England. Elizabeth’s maids and ladies were still waiting in the Coffer Room at Richmond Palace. When news of the peaceful transition of power came, they began to prepare for Elizabeth’s funeral.

The new king received the news of his accession on 27 March, for the ambitious Robert Carey had ridden at top speed to Edinburgh his journey was so quick that its speed would not be matched until 1832. But while James was initially welcomed peacefully and happily, his reign would quickly turn sour. It was not long before even Robert Cecil, who became the most powerful statesman of James’s reign, wrote to Harington:

You know all my former steps: good knight, rest content, and give heed to one that hath sorrowed in the bright lustre of a court, and gone heavily even on the best-seeming fair ground. Tis a great task to prove one’s honesty, and yet not spoil one’s fortune. You have tasted a little hereof in our blessed Queen’s time, who was more than a man and, in troth, sometimes less than a woman. I wish I waited now in her Presence Chamber, with ease at my foot, and rest in my bed. I am pushed from the shore of comfort, and know not where the winds and waves of a court may bear me.

And the common people realized their loss as well, as Godfrey Goodman, bishop of Gloucester wrote:

After a few years, when we had experience of a Scottish government, the Queen did seem to revive then was her memory much magnified: such ringing of bells, such public joy and sermons in commemoration of her, the picture of her tomb painted in many churches, and in effect more solemnity and joy in memory of her coronation than was for the coming-in of King James.

Elizabeth’s funeral procession, composed of more than a thousand mourners, began on 28 April. It was a stirring tribute to the queen, never forgotten by those who witnessed its passing. But her tomb, paid for by the new king, was less impressive than that provided to his disgraced mother, and cost far less. It can still be visited in Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth rests alongside her half-sister Queen Mary I.


What is Elizabeth I remembered for?

Elizabeth is often remembered as a powerful and clever monarch, known for her sumptuous costumes, sparkling jewellery, beautiful appearance and magnificent portraits. She reigned England at a time when religious opinion was divided, yet, for the most part, she managed to maintain peace and prosperity, and reign over a ‘Golden Age’.

She’s also remembered for being a different kind of queen. She was only the second queen in English history to rule in her own right (the first was her half-sister, Mary) – during a time when people believed that women weren’t able to rule as well as men. But Elizabeth didn’t let that stop her! She was clever and cunning and proved that women can be just as powerful as men!

Her refusal to marry lead to her being remembered as the ‘Virgin Queen.’ She knew that marriage would mean sharing power with her husband, and even becoming the less powerful of the two. There were rumours of Elizabeth having relationships with men at court, but none were ever proven true – making her even more of a mystery!

Lastly, she is arguably the most famous child of Henry VIII. Desperate for a male heir, Henry disowned Elizabeth as a child and beheaded her mother – and in the process, hugely underestimated his daughter’s potential to become one of the most influential queens in British history.


The truth behind the reign of Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I presented a reign filled with progress, riches and happiness but behind the scenes, things were far from joyous. Did Elizabeth I used public relations, political strategies and personal games to present a united front to both her subjects and her enemies?

Queen Elizabeth I and indeed the whole Elizabethian age appeared to leave behind an extraordinary image of a dazzling era of excitement and achievement, nearly superhuman heroes and daring deeds. And with it all the Queen, larger than life, radiating inspiration at the centre of it all.

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When her namesake, Queen Elizabeth II, came to the throne in 1952, her subjects hoped that another “golden age” was at hand. That the British would once again stun the world with their brilliance and panache, just as the English had done in the days of the first. The second Elizabethan age never transpired, not only because the expectation was unreasonable, but because the first age of Elizabeth never existed as it has long been perceived.

The reality behind the mask of Elizabeth I

The misperception was deliberately created to hide the crucial weaknesses in 16th-century England and its vulnerable Queen. The House of Tudor, of which Elizabeth became the fifth and last monarch, excelled at propaganda, and Elizabeth I needed favourable press.

When she came to the throne on 17th November 1558, she quickly realized she had inherited a poor, ill-equipped country highly vulnerable to attack. Religious upheavals over the previous 30 years had deeply divided her exhausted subjects. The Queen’s own status was just as depressing.

Much of Europe regarded her as an illegitimate child of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn since the Pope had not sanctioned Henry’s divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. As a bastard, Elizabeth had no right to the English throne. Furthermore, her father’s break from the Roman Catholic Church made her anathema to Catholics both in and outside England who regarded her distant cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, as the rightful sovereign.

Especially in the early years of Elizabeth’s reign, England always faced the danger of attack from the great Roman Catholic powers, Spain and France, egged on by the Pope. Against these perils, the Queen could rely only on her own wits, her gambler’s instinct, and above all, her talent for creating a cult of personality.

Elizabeth's PR strategy

Elizabeth secured her position creating a glorious public image that overwhelmed religious differences and appealed directly to English patriotism. In order to win her subjects over, she needed to be visible and, in an age of slow communications, that meant undertaking many royal “progresses.”

“We princes,” Elizabeth told the English Parliament, “are set as it were upon stages in the sight and view of the world.” Elizabeth’s progress, accordingly, resembled travelling theatre. Every summer of the first 20 years of her reign saw her moving in splendid procession through the major towns and cities of England. The centrepiece was, of course, the Queen herself.

A dazzling figure almost submerged in the jewels, brocade, and ornaments of her dress, she was more like a living icon than a human being. The layers of this theatrical front Elizabeth presented to the outside world have hidden the real person within from historians seeking a truer understanding of the Queen. Much about her personal as well as her public life remains mysterious, and this is probably just what she wanted.

However, if she herself was the chief author of this persona, Elizabeth had backup of the highest order. Poets, playwrights, painters, the creators of water pageants and masques at court, propagandists, pamphleteers, and ballad-makers all conspired to intensify the image of Elizabeth as “Gloriana,” the Virgin Queen or the “Faerie Queene” of Edmund Spenser’s fantasy. Artists also promoted Elizabeth in all her bejewelled glamour, surrounded by a glittering court full of lusty young men whose dauntless deeds she inspired.

Elizabeth as a political strategist

Through most of her life, and certainly in her early years as Queen, Elizabeth lived dangerously so that she and England could survive. England’s principal enemies, France and Spain, enjoyed far greater wealth, influence, and military might. England had little chance of resisting a direct onslaught from them. Elizabeth relied, therefore, on guile, smokescreens, and confusion. She deliberately exploited the enmity between France and Spain, hinting at aid for one against the other, never committing herself, but always holding out hope. As long as she kept her enemies guessing, she could be reasonably sure that neither would risk a war on two fronts by attacking England.

Elizabeth always drew back from courses of action that might provoke her enemies. At the same time, she kept her options open and never gave in to pressure. When her reign began, for instance, Elizabeth hinted to Henri II of France that she would break with King Philip of Spain if Henri would restore Calais to England. (Calais, a former English possession, had been taken by France in January 1558.) At the same time, she persuaded Philip that she would be willing to marry him and so ally England with Spain. As a result, Elizabeth gained compensation for Calais while Philip went on living in hope.

The Queen confounded even the Pope with her wiles. He watched England closely to see whether Elizabeth would reverse the policy of her Roman Catholic half-sister and predecessor, Queen Mary I, and turn her realm into a fully Protestant state. Try as he might, though, the Pope was never able to decide whether she would or would not.

On the one hand, Elizabeth kept the Catholic mass in her own private chapel and sent an ambassador to the Papal Court. On the other, the Queen and her advisors slowly steered legislation through Parliament that gave first place to the Protestant faith, with concessions to make the religious settlement palatable to Catholics. Then again, Elizabeth allowed outrageous fun to be made of the Roman church at court mummeries, where crows were dressed up as cardinals and asses as bishops. However, she made it clear that she would force no one’s conscience to conform to the Protestant faith and make no one a martyr in the cause of religion.

Elizabeth took blatant advantage of the fact that her enemies expected a woman to be indecisive. She took care, of course, to conceal the devious mind, keen political instinct, and strong urge to survive that lay at the root of her protean proceedings. All that showed on the outside was a monarch who offered hope and then backtracked, gave half a promise and then denied it.

Elizabeth's search for a successor

Where she could not follow such an indeterminate course, Elizabeth fell back on the royal prerogative to decide important matters unilaterally. Very often, when no safer option presented itself, that meant doing nothing. This was certainly true when it came to naming the successor to her throne. If she named a Catholic heir she would alienate her Protestant subjects - they remembered only too well the fires that had consumed those Mary had considered heretics. The other choice, a Protestant heir, would inevitably lead to the foreign invasion and conquest Elizabeth feared. She chose no one until the last possible moment when she was dying in 1603.

A third alternative, one constantly urged on her, was for Elizabeth to marry and produce her own heir. There was no shortage of applicants from Philip of Spain to the heir to the Swedish throne. From assorted foreign dukes and English nobles to the spectacularly squat and ugly Due d’Alençon, whom Elizabeth called her “frog.” Elizabeth kept the Duke dangling for years, and he was still seriously, but hopelessly, wooing her when she was in her mid-forties. Meanwhile, of course, Elizabeth could avoid considering marriage with anyone else.

Why Elizabeth would never marry

Political and economic opportunism motivated many of these suits, as was common with royal unions in Elizabeth’s time. None of her suitors realized, though, that while Elizabeth kept them dangling as it suited her, she had no intention of marrying any of them. Most likely, she truly loved only one man, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who according to rumour almost succeeded in getting her to the altar. However, when she and Dudley were both about nine years old, she had told him she would never take a husband. This was no piece of childish melodrama. Elizabeth knew from personal experience that royal marriage was dangerous.

Robert Dudley, who Elizabeth called her “sweet Robin”. (© Heritage Image Partnership Ltd / Alamy)

The marital history of her father, the six-times-married King Henry VIII, had been a nightmarish lesson. He had hounded his first wife, Catherine, to death executed two others, including Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn and terrorized three of the other four. Elizabeth watched from the sidelines and drew her own conclusions.

After she became Queen, the dangers of marriage took on another aspect. A husband would not have occupied a secondary position, like Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, or Prince Philip, who married the second Elizabeth in 1947. At the time of Elizabeth I, the husband of a reigning Queen could claim the Crown Matrimonial and rule as King during her lifetime. In the case of a foreign husband, this meant the one thing Elizabeth’s subjects most hated: foreign influence in English affairs. If, on the other hand, she opted to marry an English noble, she would make him an “overmighty subject” with more power than any subject ought to possess.

This situation had a particular poignancy in 16th-century England. The Tudors had claimed the throne in 1485 after the Wars of the Roses, a struggle for control that had laid waste to many an English noble. Elizabeth would not risk a repeat performance and so resolved to keep her nobles from access to royal power. One of her most famous assertions - that she was wedded to her kingdom - was another way of saying that England was the only “husband” she could have who would not prove a danger to her.

Elizabeth's sensitivity around her image

Of all the many aspects of Elizabeth’s public image perhaps the most obvious, and in some ways the most sensitive, was the face depicted by her many portraitists. Painting an image of the Queen was a task fraught with many difficulties, particularly as her half-century-long reign wore on. By the time she reached her 65th birthday, one contemporary wrote that “Her face is oblong, fair but wrinkled her eyes small, yet black … she wore false hair, and that red.”

In addition, when Elizabeth was 29 she contracted small-pox, which left her face permanently blemished. To cover the marks, she took to wearing white lead makeup. The effectiveness of her efforts to hide her scars and advancing age may be judged from the fact that towards the end of her life she would not allow mirrors in her rooms.

This concern over her outward appearance extended to the portraits made of her. Just where was the line to be drawn between accuracy and deferential flattery? Commenting on this delicate matter. Sir Robert Cecil, her Secretary of State, wrote: “Many painters have done portraits of the Queen but none has sufficiently shown her looks or charms. Therefore Her Majesty commands all manner of persons to stop doing portraits of her until a clever painter has finished one which all other painters can copy. Her Majesty, in the meantime, forbids the showing of any portraits which are ugly until they are improved.”

While there was surely some simple vanity in the Queen’s command, her concern for projecting the proper image - one of a strong monarch unimpaired by the passage time - was also a matter of political propaganda.

The Spanish question

There were, of course, limits to just how far Elizabeth could go in masking her intentions. It was one thing to keep suitors in suspense, quite another to challenge the Spaniards in America and Europe without incurring their wrath. The Spaniards believed their American empire was God-given. Their astounding achievements in exploring, conquering, and settling this huge area brought Spain so much wealth in gold, silver, and jewels that the currency of Europe had to be revised to take account of it.

Spain’s growing wealth obviously worried Elizabeth. Philip had never ruled out a war against England, and a potential flashpoint lay just across the English Channel. The Spanish Netherlands, heavily militarized by Philip, was Protestant territory and a possession as important for its own product - cloth - as the New World was for gold and silver.

Portrait of Elizabeth I of England in Parliament robes

The Dutch “sea-beggars” used English harbours as havens when the Netherlands finally rebelled against its Spanish masters. Even Elizabeth’s prevarication could not stop Philip realizing that the English sympathized with the rebels, and that English privateers had cast greedy eyes on Spanish America. Philip had initially allowed his colonies to conduct a certain amount of trade with England, but in 1567 Spain closed its American colonies to all foreigners, and the English Protestant heretics in particular.

The ambitious English, however, dearly wanted to muscle in on the wealth of the New World to build up England’s resources, and if legal trade came to an end, piracy would do. In 1572, Francis Drake sailed the Atlantic to Panama, where the Spanish marshalled their treasure fleets. With characteristic daring, Drake hijacked the latest shipment and returned to England, his ships’ holds stuffed with booty. Five years later Drake carried out a thoroughgoing series of raids against several Spanish settlements and again returned home loaded with treasure. For good measure, Drake sailed around the world, the first Englishman to do so.
King Philip complained about the English pirates, but Elizabeth parried the protests, claiming Drake’s activities were his own private business. Even so, when Drake returned triumphant in 1580, she went down to greet him when he stepped ashore at Deptford. There on the quayside, with the Spanish ambassador glowering nearby, she drew a sword and knighted Drake.

Thus far, Philip had been too preoccupied in Europe to consider a serious attack on England and its impudent Queen. He had contented himself with fomenting plots against Elizabeth among the English Catholics. However, incidents like the knighting of Drake, as well as the failure of the plot to unseat Elizabeth, and English interference in the Netherlands greatly raised the temperature of Anglo-Spanish rivalry. In 1587, when Mary, Queen of Scots’ involvement in the most serious conspiracy against Elizabeth resulted in her execution, the enmity escalated, and a course was set for war.

However, Drake forced the Spanish to delay their attack on England by launching his most outrageous strike yet, against the Armada Philip was gathering at Cadiz. The effect was only temporary. Within a year, Philip had replaced the ships and stores. The invasion force left Spain in the early summer of 1588, bound for the Netherlands where it planned to embark a large army.

The embarkation never took place. Philip’s Armada failed, partly through the wild, destructive weather in the English Channel, partly because of the deadly firepower of the new-style English galleons. Channel storms tore at the lumbering Spanish vessels, and English guns pounded their timbers, reducing the much-vaunted Armada to a mass of wallowing, leaking hulks. The survivors did not return to Spain until the end of 1588, having sailed around the British Isles and out into the Atlantic. At least half the surviving Spanish ships wrecked or sank on the way.
The news that tiny, pipsqueak England had laid low the mighty fleet and pride of Spain stunned Europe. The English felt both triumph and relief. The genius of her seamen, aided by phenomenal good luck, had saved England. But, as always where Elizabeth was concerned, it had been a very close thing.

By this time, Elizabeth had been Queen of England for 30 years—a long time to wait for some security. Though the war with Spain lasted in desultory fashion for another 15 years, the worst perils Elizabeth and England would face were behind them.

Elizabeth's legacy

When Elizabeth died in 1603, England was an expanding power with a rich and growing trade in the Netherlands, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and even Russia. In addition, the groundwork had been laid for the first English settlement in the New World, established in Virginia in 1607. Though still early in the day, the realm Elizabeth preserved against great odds was on its way to its later status as a prime world power, while the sun of Spain was slowly sinking. This, rather than the overblown image of a celebrity Queen and her “golden age,” was the real source of lustre in the reign of the first Elizabeth and her country.


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