Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I
Darnley stage 3.jpg
The "Darnley Portrait" of Elizabeth I (c. 1575)
Queen of England and Ireland (more...)
Reign17 November 1558 –
24 March 1603
Coronation15 January 1559
PredecessorsMary I and Philip
SuccessorJames I
Born7 September 1533
Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England
Died24 March 1603 (aged 69)
Richmond Palace, Surrey, England
Burial28 April 1603
Westminster Abbey
FatherHenry VIII of England
MotherAnne Boleyn
SignatureElizabeth I's signature

Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603)[1] was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last monarch of the House of Tudor.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two-and-a-half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey and ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, Elizabeth and the Roman Catholic Mary, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside and Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel.[2] She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir to continue the Tudor line. She never did, despite numerous courtships. As she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult grew around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day.

In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been.[3] One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see but say nothing").[4] In religion, she was relatively tolerant and avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, manoeuvring between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain. England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated Elizabeth with one of the greatest military victories in English history.

Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler,[5] who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle and limited, and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth's half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.[3]

Early life

Elizabeth was the only child of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who did not bear a male heir and was executed less than three years after Elizabeth's birth.

Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace and was named after both her grandmothers, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Howard.[6] She was the second child of Henry VIII of England born in wedlock to survive infancy. Her mother was Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn. At birth, Elizabeth was the heir presumptive to the throne of England. Her older half-sister, Mary, had lost her position as a legitimate heir when Henry annulled his marriage to Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne, with the intent to sire a male heir and ensure the Tudor succession.[7][8] She was baptised on 10 September 1533; Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the Marquess of Exeter, the Duchess of Norfolk and the Dowager Marchioness of Dorset stood as her godparents. A canopy was carried at the ceremony over the three-day old child by George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey, Lord Thomas Howard, and William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham.[9]

Elizabeth was two years and eight months old when her mother was beheaded on 19 May 1536,[10] four months after Catherine of Aragon's death from natural causes. Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and deprived of her place in the royal succession.[11] Eleven days after Anne Boleyn's execution, Henry married Jane Seymour, who died shortly after the birth of their son, Prince Edward, in 1537. From his birth, Edward was undisputed heir apparent to the throne. Elizabeth was placed in his household and carried the chrisom, or baptismal cloth, at his christening.[12]

The Lady Elizabeth in about 1546, by an unknown artist. Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.

Elizabeth's first governess (or Lady Mistress), Margaret Bryan, wrote that she was "as toward a child and as gentle of conditions as ever I knew any in my life".[13] By the autumn of 1537, Elizabeth was in the care of Blanche Herbert, Lady Troy, who remained her Lady Mistress until her retirement in late 1545 or early 1546.[14] Catherine Champernowne, better known by her later, married name of Catherine "Kat" Ashley, was appointed as Elizabeth's governess in 1537, and she remained Elizabeth's friend until her death in 1565, when Blanche Parry succeeded her as Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber.[15] Champernowne taught Elizabeth four languages: French, Flemish, Italian and Spanish.[16] By the time William Grindal became her tutor in 1544, Elizabeth could write English, Latin, and Italian. Under Grindal, a talented and skilful tutor, she also progressed in French and Greek.[17] After Grindal died in 1548, Elizabeth received her education under Roger Ascham, a sympathetic teacher who believed that learning should be engaging.[18]

By the time her formal education ended in 1550, Elizabeth was one of the best educated women of her generation.[19] At the end of her life, Elizabeth was also believed to speak Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish in addition to the languages mentioned above. The Venetian ambassador stated in 1603 that she "possessed [these] languages so thoroughly that each appeared to be her native tongue".[20] Historian Mark Stoyle suggests that she was probably taught Cornish by William Killigrew, Groom of the Privy Chamber and later Chamberlain of the Exchequer.[21]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Elisabeth I.
አማርኛ: 1 ኤልሳበጥ
azərbaycanca: I Elizabet
Bân-lâm-gú: Elizabeth 1-sè
башҡортса: Елизавета I
беларуская: Лізавета I
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Лізавета I
български: Елизабет I
Чӑвашла: Елизавета I
čeština: Alžběta I.
Deutsch: Elisabeth I.
Հայերեն: Եղիսաբեթ I
hrvatski: Elizabeta I.
Bahasa Indonesia: Elizabeth I, Ratu Inggris
íslenska: Elísabet 1.
ქართული: ელისაბედ I
қазақша: I Елизавета
latviešu: Elizabete I
Lëtzebuergesch: Elizabeth I. vun England
lietuvių: Elžbieta I
Livvinkarjala: Elisabeth I
македонски: Елизабета I
മലയാളം: എലിസബത്ത് I
Baso Minangkabau: Elizabeth I dari Inggirih
монгол: I Элизабет
нохчийн: Елизавета I
norsk nynorsk: Elisabeth I av England
پنجابی: الزبتھ I
Plattdüütsch: Elisabeth I. (Tudor)
Runa Simi: Elisabeth I
русский: Елизавета I
संस्कृतम्: एलिजबेथ् प्रथमा
Simple English: Elizabeth I of England
slovenščina: Elizabeta I. Angleška
српски / srpski: Елизабета I Тјудор
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Elizabeta I
suomi: Elisabet I
татарча/tatarça: Yelizaveta I patşabikä
Türkçe: I. Elizabeth
українська: Єлизавета I
Vahcuengh: Elizabeth I
vepsän kel’: Elizavet I
Tiếng Việt: Elizabeth I của Anh
žemaitėška: Elžbieta I
Lingua Franca Nova: Elizabeth 1