The Early Years
Elizabeth was born on September 7, 1533 to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which of course helped lead to a very unhappy childhood. Henry accused Anne of having adultery and incest with her brother and had her executed when Elizabeth was only 2 years old. Anne had not provided Henry with a boy and he had become tired of her and instead of divorcing her, he made up several lies so that he could have her beheaded. After which he declared that Elizabeth was his illegitimate daughter and had her removed from the castle. This lost her the title of Princess and she would now be known as Lady Elizabeth. Henry would go on and marry several more times having yet another wife beheaded. But his last wife, Katherine of Aragon, helped to reconcile the family and bring Elizabeth, along with her half-sister Mary, back to the castle. Katherine had never really wanted to marry Henry; she had actually had her eye on Thomas Seymour who was the brother of one of the King’s previous wives. When Henry died, Katherine because Queen and married Thomas. Elizabeth would once again be expelled from the castle during Katherine’s reign. No one is absolutely sure what happened, but some say that Thomas and Elizabeth may have been found kissing or even in bed together. Katherine was pregnant at the time of this scandal and would die shortly after giving birth. Knowing that King Henry’s only son was too young to become King at the time, Thomas set his eye on marrying Elizabeth. When Elizabeth and her father had reconciled, he had put it in his will that she would be in line to become Queen. Elizabeth wasn’t interested in marrying Thomas though and soon Thomas would be executed because of his plans to kidnap King Edward, who was only in his early teens at the time. Elizabeth’s young brother King Edward VI would eventually die of consumption (what we now know as TB), leaving the castle open once more. Elizabeth would not become Queen though, her half-sister Mary would. This wasn’t a popular decision though; the people of England wanted Elizabeth to rule. Fear of being overthrown, especially after her marriage to the Prince of Spain, Mary threw Elizabeth into the Tower of London. There she would remain for 2 months. Elizabeth was only released when Mary was thought to be pregnant and would die from the pregnancy. Mary and her husband thought they were going to have a boy and there was no way Elizabeth would end up ruling. It would turn out that Mary wasn’t pregnant, even though her stomach had swelled. It is thought that she must have had ovarian cancer which caused her stomach to swell leading her to believe that she were pregnant. Knowing that his wife was dying, Prince Phillip decided to try and befriend Elizabeth knowing that she would be next in line to rule England.
Being a Queen
When Elizabeth found out about Mary’s death she is reported to have said, “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” She said this in Latin. Elizabeth was a very smart woman and could speak or read six different languages. When Mary died the people of England rejoiced. They would now have their beloved Elizabeth as their Queen. Elizabeth was very serious about politics and running the country. While she ruled England, the country changed for the better. They once again would be a powerful and rich country. But she also had a less serious side. She loved sports, loved to ride horses, loved music, and loved to read. She was also passionate about her Protestant faith, but never wanted to punish others for not being of the same faith as her. Often times she was forced to punish these people though and it was very upsetting to her.
Elizabeth’s cousin Mary Queen of Scots was forced to leave her country and was being protected in the English castle, but after many attempted plots to have Elizabeth murdered so she could become Queen of England Elizabeth had to have her executed. This really troubled Elizabeth and there was a time when many thought she wouldn’t go through with it, but she did.
Elizabeth never did marry though she had many proposals. She played along with many of them so she could either get gifts that would help make England rich again or to befriend another country. She did fall in love with Robert Dudley, but was unable to marry him. His wife had died of mysterious causes and although Robert was cleared of the charges, marrying him would cause a scandal. She did keep in touch with him and when he died she kept his last letter in her desk drawer and had written on the envelope, “His Last Letter.”
The Queen would reign until her death on March 24, 1603. She is still remembered as being one of the greatest monarchs England ever had. She was very concerned about what happened to her country and did everything she could to make it better. She succeeded. England was now one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world and still is.
Elizabeth I of England. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_I. Accessed on 17 April, 2006.
Elizabeth I (1558-1603 AD). Britannia.
Available at http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon45.html. Accessed on 17 April, 2006.
Elizabeth I Biography. Elizabeth I.
Available at http://www.elizabethi.org/us/biography.html. Accessed on 17 April, 2006.
ELIZABETH I. TudorHistory.org.
Available at http://tudorhistory.org/elizabeth/. Accessed on 17 April, 2006.