Queen Elizabeth the first was unlike any male author or monarch of her time. The speeches she wrote for her people and the parliament, as well as the poetry and letters she wrote for herself (and others in her close knit circle) were well known during her life. In her heart, she carried the weight of an empire and her people. She was careful to show her public side to the populace and kept her private life closely guarded. Throughout her reign, she was faced with disease, pressure to marry the countless suitors thrust upon her, invasions from other countries, and all the while, she used her station as queen to thrust herself into the hearts and minds of the English people through her writings.
Publicly, Queen Elizabeth catered to the sensibilities of the common person. Having been welcomed by them and treated well as a prisoner in the Tower of London, Elizabeth understood the needs and desires of the common man and woman. She appealed to their sense of patriotism whenever she could. Her voice was the voice of her God, her people, and her country. She was selfless and loving. “My heart was never set on any worldly goods, but only for my subjects’ good.” (Speech) Though she needed to convince both parliament and the public she was a fine prince of , the means she had were limited to speeches and public appearances. “Elizabeth inherited a tattered realm: dissension between Catholics and Protestants tore at the very foundation of society” (Britannia) which also threatened an invasion early in her reign as well as numerous plots to assassinate her. Elizabeth, however, used her words, wit, and charismatic nature to unify the battling religions of her country.
Her love for and its people is obvious to most since the study of her writings has become a lengthy topic of discussion. To the public, she portrays herself as a weak woman whose passion for her people take precedence over her own happiness. Though courted by several men over the course of her life, Elizabeth never married. “I happily chose this kind of life in which I yet live.” (Marriage) By remaining an unwed woman, the Virgin Queen was able to show that her life was dedicated to an it’s people. Elizabeth did not want foreign influence as part of her reign, nor did she wish to remain in the background as the wife of an English man who would claim the throne as King. Though her public persona was one of humble origins, Elizabeth was quick witted and shrewd in her approached on national topics. She helped to define and shape her own image through speeches, commissioned portraits, and appearances among the public.
In her private life, Elizabeth allowed very few people in her circle to see the depth and womanly thoughts that consumed her mind. Her poems, psalms, as well as her letters, showed her to be a strong and independent woman with forward thinking thoughts of the world around her. Elizabeth’s faith in God helped her find strength of self she needed to rule . “At all times God is with the just, because they put in him their trust,” (Psalm) is a blessing she believed and passed on to others.
Though the majority of her poetry proclaimed her continued faith, love, and protection of her people, it showed a softer yet strong aspect of Elizabeth’s personality. She was a servant to the people of , giving up the life of a normal woman. She grieved internally most of her life as she lived in solitude with no family of her own. In On Monsieur’s Departure, she said, “I love and yet I am forced to seem to hate,” because her own desires and wants were set aside for that of and its people.
Eventually, Elizabeth was able to rely more on her own thoughts an opinions when making decisions for her country. She no longer needed the council of men for she had convinced the majority of the people and parliament that her one and only care was for her them. Even though Elizabeth’s public and private life somewhat fed off one another (to those close within her circle of the trusted), with the constant talk of her finding a husband and producing an heir, the queen used words as her most powerful weapon all throughout her reign. She died at an old age, and is still considered on of the greatest monarchs of English history. Elizabeth proved to be one of the most popular monarchs in English or British history. Wikipedia’s Online Encyclopedia states: She placed seventh in the 100 Greatest Britons poll, which was conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 2002, outranking all other British monarchs. Whether it was her strong will, speeches, poetry, or her courageous virtue to think before acting, Elizabeth’s legacy will carry forward for all time.