Born: September 7, 1533 at Greenwich Palace.
Parents: Henry VII and Anne Boleyn.
House of: Tudor.
Ascended to the throne: November 17, 1558 aged 25 years old.
Died: March 24, 1603 at Richmond Palace.
Reigned for: 44 years, 4 months and 5 days.
Elizabeth was named after both her grandmothers, Elizabeth Howard and Elizabeth of York. She was reddish-gold haired and was attractive rather than beautiful. She had a strong personality, a lively intelligence and a fiery temper; she had received a very good education and she could speak French, Latin and Italian with ease, and above all she was a political genius of the first rank. The queen ruled wisely through her Privy Council of about twenty members. She moved around her country on royal journeys, staying with the principal noblemen, so that a great deal of her people could see her. In her court there was an extraordinary flowering of literature and music. It has rumored that Elizabeth I wrote some of William Shakespeare’s plays.
The major concern
A youth spent between blood and intrigue, always with the risk of being murdered. A tragic atmosphere marks the great Elizabeth from earliest childhood. It has a little over 2 years old when her mother, Anne Boleyn, is done to execute by her husband Henry VIII, the man of the break with the Catholic Church. The charge of infidelity, addressed to the unfortunate queen, affects the daughter. His father therefore, rejects her as illegitimate. His major concern was thereafter to defend herself against the threat of riots and attacks. Attempts were mainly from the Church and the Pope, the aristocracy of her court and the royal houses in Europe, such as Spain and France. One of the most common examples, is the poison in the food.
“I will never marry”
These are the words that she reputedly told her friend Robert Dudley after her step mother Catherine Howard’s execution. What are the reasons?
The first reason could be political: thinking she was sterile, if she was married she would have lost her freedom and divided her wealth with her husband. Other suppositions suggest she had a physical defect that she wouldn’t show, probably scars left by smallpox. Some historians think that she has suffered a physical violence because of a childhood relationship with Lord Seymour and because of that she was afraid to trust men. At last she secretly loved Sir Dudley, who was married. Shortly after the start of their relationship, he was accused of uxoricide. So marry him would have been a scandal.
It is said that “The queen was married to her people”
- At the age of seventy years old, she was the oldest ruler.
- Elisabeth was buried in Westminster Abbey along side her sister Mary I. the inscription on the tomb reads : “ Companions in the throne and in the tomb”.
- She wore a locket ring which contained a miniature of herself along with a miniature of her mother.
- Elizabeth I’s motto was “Semper Eadem”, meaning “Always the Same”.
- Her favorite dress colors were white and black which symbolized purity.
- She was very superstitious and consulted astronomers and astrologers.
- It was the first queen to wear a watch.