Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth I. born Elizabeth Tudor and known as The Virgin Queen or The Maiden Queen(the virgin queen), was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603 and led the country to seapower after the fight against Spain.


Origin and teenage years:

Elisabeth was born on September 7, 1533 as the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in Greenwich Palace on the Thames.

At the age of 3, she witnessed her mother being sentenced to death for adultery and high treason. The execution took place on May 19, 1536 by beheading. Subsequently, Elisabeth was excluded from the throne with her older half-sister Maria, because her father wanted to have a son as his successor.
Only by the 6th wife of Henry VIII, Catherine Parr, could by a parliamentary resolution in 1544 Elizabeth again be included in the throne.

Elisabeth grew up after the execution of her mother with Katherine Champernowne, from 1547 after the death of her father at the court of Catherine Parr. There, the new husband of Catherine, Thomas Seymour, Elisabeth have made clear allusions. When Catherine caught her husband and Elisabeth in such a situation, Elisabeth had to leave the farm. After the death of Catherine in September 1548 Thomas Seymour now officially courted Elisabeth and held out her hand, which the State Council prohibited. By marrying Thomas probably wanted to put politically in a better situation. However, through his machinations against his lord protector Edward Seymour, the guardian Henry VIII son and heir to the throne Eduard VI., Thomas Seymour was arrested in January 1549, locked in the Tower of London and executed on March 20, 1549.

In 1553 Elisabeth's half-brother and new king of England, Edward VI, died. with only 15 years. A claim to the throne then raised Henry's niece Jane Gray, after Eduard had chosen her as his successor on the deathbed and had excluded his half-sisters Maria and Elizabeth. Jane Gray, however, had only nine days the royal crown before Mary could enforce her rightful claim and on August 3, 1553 in London to ascend the throne.



Elisabeth mit 13 Jahren

Elisabeth with 13 years



Due to the different faiths of the two sisters, Mary was a Catholic and Elisabeth belonged to the Protestants, it was only a matter of time before disputes became apparent. In particular, the marriage plans of Maria with the Spanish heir to the throne Philip II of Spain burdened the relationship that ended in the later Wyatt conspiracy. This was about Thomas Wyatt who wanted to marry Elizabeth with her cousin Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon to put Edward on the throne. Through torture Thomas Wyatt was later brought to testify against Elisabeth and thus to be able to condemn them by participating in a plot against the queen. Elisabeth was then, especially at the urging of the Spanish side under Emperor Charles V, locked up in the Tower of London. During the execution of the death sentence against Thomas Wyatt, he revoked the allegations against Elisabeth. Nonetheless, she remained detained for some time until she was released due to lack of evidence and placed under house arrest in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Shortly thereafter, Maria married the Spanish heir to the throne Philip II of Spain. However, the marriage remained childless and Maria died in 1558. After his coronation as King of Spain, Philipp Elizabeth made several marriage proposals, but they were rejected by her. On January 15, 1559 Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England and Ireland in Westminster Abbey.




The beginning of her regency:

The first years of their reign were marked by laws, the containment of the Catholic faith by the subordination of the church to the crown and economic reforms. In addition, England was still at war with France, which could be resolved by the Peace of Cateau - Cambrésis on 3 April 1559 by England finally renounced his possessions on the French mainland and was financially compensated by France. With this money, Elisabeth also managed to repay the debt of the state and thus to revive the economy.

In the 60s of the 16th century, under the leadership of Sir John Hawkins, the English navy was significantly expanded. This paved the way for England's claim as a major naval power.




Relations with Robert Dudley and Maria Stuart:

A special role in the reign of Elisabeth played her childhood friend Robert Dudley and the Scottish Queen Maria Stuart.



Lord Robert Dudley

Lord Robert Dudley



The exact relationship between Elisabeth and Robert can not be clarified today. However, it is believed that the two had a relationship, since Elisabeth had great feelings for the man. When Robert's wife Amy Robsart fell ill, there was even speculation about a marriage between the two, which was considered by consultants as very negative and Elisabeth was strongly advised against it. In 1560 Amy was found dead on the stairs of her house, speculation about a death with the help of Robert made the rounds, although no evidence could be found, the incident, however, nullified wedding plans between Robert and Elizabeth.

When in October 1562 Elisabeth herself fell ill with smallpox and no one could foresee whether the queen would survive the disease, disputes over the succession to the throne erupted. Elisabeth was neither married nor had children before. In addition, she was the last member of the Tudor family that was still alive, so there was no legitimate successor. When Elisabeth awoke from the coma for a short time, she ordered that Robert Dudley should rule England as Lord Protector and her successor would be a death. Shortly thereafter, however, Elisabeth recovered from the disease and was able to continue on her own. While she was strongly advised to get married and have children, she ignored them skillfully.

In order to settle her throne succession, Elisabeth suggested in 1563 the Scottish Queen Maria Stuart, to marry Robert Dudley. As a special incentive for the wedding, Elisabeth Maria assured that at a wedding and a child the throne succession should be transferred to this. After initial skepticism, Maria finally agreed. Nevertheless, a marriage did not come about, as Robert refused to do so.



Maria Stuart, Königin von Schottland

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland




The removal of Mary Stuart as heir to the throne:

After the Scottish Lords began an uprising in 1567, Mary was arrested at Loch Leven Castle and forced to abdicate. On May 2, 1568, she was able to flee from the castle and tried with her army against the uprising to proceed. However, after her army was defeated on May 13, 1568, Mary had to flee to England and put herself there under the protection of Elizabeth.

This brought Elisabeth politically but in a precarious situation, because the marriage of her father with Anne Boleyn had never been legitimized by the Pope, thus Elizabeth had no legal claim to the throne. Maria, the great-granddaughter of Henry VII, however, had a claim and wanted to enforce it, albeit hesitantly. So it happened that on 19 May 1568, on the pretext of complicity, Elisabeth Maria was arrested for the murder of Mary's husband Lord Henry Darnley.

An ordered investigation of October 1568 and January 1569 in York, brought as evidence of complicity only the so-called cassette letters that were presented by the Scottish nobles. These letters should have contained evidence to support complicity. The letters were found in a test for real, but Elisabeth could not move to a conviction, it was imprisoned Maria in custody.

When the Pope learned of Mary's arrest, he officially withdrew Elizabeth's claim to the throne on February 25, 1570 and threatened to excommunicate the English Catholics if they continued to swear allegiance to Elizabeth. Then there was the so-called Ridolfi plot in which Elisabeth was to be murdered and replaced by Maria Stuart. This conspiracy received support from Spanish and French troops as well as English Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, who subsequently wanted to marry Mary. However, Howard was arrested on September 7, 1571 and executed in June 1572. Furthermore, the English Parliament urged Elisabeth to finally carry out the execution of Mary. In an indictment, Maria was then sentenced to death on October 25, 1586 because of involvement in a conspiracy, on February 8, 1587, she was then executed.



Königin Elisabeth I. von England um 1580

Queen Elizabeth I of England around 1580



The war with Spain:

At the time of Elizabeth's reign, England was at war with Spain. In order to put herself in a politically better position compared to Spain, Elisabeth was even ready in 1572 to enter into an alliance with France. This was even 1581 by a marriage with the Duke of Alençon François Hercule de Valois, the younger brother of the King of France Henry III. be done. However, since the Duke died in 1584, a marriage could not be performed.

Despite the modest success with France to build an alliance against Spain, Elizabeth was able to show some military successes against Spain. Captain Francis Drake, in particular, was able to achieve great successes with the help of a British kings' letter, in which he repeatedly attacked Spanish merchant ships loaded with gold and silver from the Spanish colonies in South America on their way to their homeland.

In 1585, the English Navy even managed to found the first colony in America. In honor of the Queen this was named Virginia, but had to be abandoned due to the war with Spain, but shortly after its founding.

Due to the persistent raids by Francis Drake and the execution of Mary Stuart in 1587, the king, who was crowned King Philip, was forced to take military action against England. His plan was to build a large naval force and launch an invasion of southern England. The construction of the Navy was not disregarded in England. Francis Drake, for example, suggested to the Queen that his ships make a courteous attack on the ships in the harbor, halting or delaying the construction of the Spanish navy and the threat of invasion. Elisabeth agreed and so on 2 April 1587 Drake set sail from England for Cádiz. On 19 April 1587 he reached the Spanish port and let his soldiers plunder the enemy ships and set fire to it. 24 ships could thus be destroyed and the planned invasion of the Spaniards be significantly delayed.

1 year later, in 1588, however, Philipp II had rebuilt his navy with 130 ships and let them expire for the invasion of England. The first target of the Spanish Armada was the Netherlands, where the fleet was to take in an invasion army under the command of Alessandro Farnese. Further, it should go to the Isle of Wight, where a base and harbor for the further invasion should be built. But the English scouts spotted the armada off the coast of Plymouth on July 19, 1588, and the English Navy, commanded by Francis Drake, and Sir Charles Howard, sailed for it. The fact that the English ships were faster and more manoeuvrable than Spain's was the result of a stalemate in which the Spaniards relinquished the plan to occupy the Isle of Wight and the ships near the French city of Calais put on anchor.

Lying on an anchor, Drake saw his chance and unleashed Brander (torched small ships) on the armada. This had to clear the anchor and leave the area, without the planned inclusion of more soldiers for the invasion. The commander of the Spanish, Duke of Medina Sidonia, decided to blow up the invasion and led the armada around the coasts of Scotland and Ireland back towards Spain. But on the way back the ships got into a heavy storm, so that the fleet lost about 60 ships. The invasion of England was again thwarted.



Das Armadaporträt wurde 1588 als Reaktion auf den Sieg über die spanische Armada gemalt. Die auf dem Globus ruhende Hand symbolisiert die internationale Macht Elisabeths

The armadillo portrait was painted in 1588 in response to the victory over the Spanish Armada. The hand resting on the globe symbolizes the international power of Elisabeth



After the heavy defeat of the Spaniards England now tried to win the initiative and Drake was transferred the command of an English invasion fleet. The aim was to sink the remaining warships of the Spaniards, go ashore in Portugal and Spain and expel Philip II. However, this endeavor failed in 1589 and gave Philipp again the opportunity to rebuild his navy, this time even bigger than before. In addition, the Spaniards get some military success against the English ships. So they struck in 1595 in the Caribbean, a raid by Francis Drake and John Hawkins back, where both were killed. In 1595, under the leadership of Don Carlos de Amésquita at Penzance in southwest England, the Spaniards were able to land some soldiers who plundered villages and towns in the area and then left. Although this had less military weight, but the message to England was clear.




The rebellion of the Irish:

From the year 1593, under the leadership of Hugh O'Neill, the Irish began an uprising against the British occupiers. This uprising inflicted heavy losses on the English troops, in addition, the country was in debt again and the reputation of Queen Elizabeth dwindled in the population.




The foiled coup d'essex:

Robert Devereux was the 2nd Earl of Essex and son of Robert Dudleys and his wife Lettice Knollys. He held from 1588 the office of chief equerry and from 1589 the knight title of the Hosenbandordens. In addition, he was entrusted with the suppression of the uprising in Ireland, where he was ordered back to London after loss-making battles and a truce that was detrimental to England. There he fell in disgrace with Queen Elizabeth due to his military failures and was put under house arrest. During this time he began to exploit his popularity and incite the people against the queen. Because of this, he was summoned to the Queen on February 7, 1601, but ignored the call and called for a coup. On February 8, 1601, he gathered with several hundred followers in London and wanted to bring the city under his control. As the English army approached, the men entrenched themselves in buildings. Robert Devereux was arrested and sentenced to death in an indictment for his coup attempt. The execution took place on February 25, 1601 in the Tower of London.



Robert Devereux, 2. Earl of Essex

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex




Elisabeth's death:

Elisabeth fell ill in February 1603 and suffered from weakness and lack of sleep. Physically weakened, she died on March 24, 1603 at the age of 69 years and was subsequently buried in Westminster Abbey next to her half-sister Maria.

The Latin inscription on her tombstones reads:

in English:
Partner both in throne and grave, here we rest sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of resurrection


Grabmal Elisabeths I.

Tomb of Elizabeth I.


The successor to the throne then fell to Jacob VI. of Scotland, son of Maria Stuarts. Only a few hours after the death of Elizabeth, he was crowned King of England and Scotland and was the first ruler of both countries.






You can find the right literature here:


Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I Hardcover – November 5, 1991

Glitteringly detailed and engagingly written, the magisterial Elizabeth I brings to vivid life the golden age of sixteenth-century England and the uniquely fascinating monarch who presided over it. A woman of intellect and presence, Elizabeth was the object of extravagant adoration by her contemporaries. She firmly believed in the divine providence of her sovereignty and exercised supreme authority over the intrigue-laden Tudor court and Elizabethan England at large. Brilliant, mercurial, seductive, and maddening, an inspiration to artists and adventurers and the subject of vicious speculation over her choice not to marry, Elizabeth became the most powerful ruler of her time. Anne Somerset has immortalized her in this splendidly illuminating account.

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The Life of Elizabeth I

The Life of Elizabeth I Paperback – Print, October 5, 1999

Perhaps the most influential sovereign England has ever known, Queen Elizabeth I remained an extremely private person throughout her reign, keeping her own counsel and sharing secrets with no one--not even her closest, most trusted advisers. Now, in this brilliantly researched, fascinating new book, acclaimed biographer Alison Weir shares provocative new interpretations and fresh insights on this enigmatic figure.

Against a lavish backdrop of pageantry and passion, intrigue and war, Weir dispels the myths surrounding Elizabeth I and examines the contradictions of her character. Elizabeth I loved the Earl of Leicester, but did she conspire to murder his wife? She called herself the Virgin Queen, but how chaste was she through dozens of liaisons? She never married—was her choice to remain single tied to the chilling fate of her mother, Anne Boleyn? An enthralling epic that is also an amazingly intimate portrait, The Life of Elizabeth I is a mesmerizing, stunning reading experience.

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Tudor History: A Captivating Guide to the Tudors, the Wars of the Roses, the Six Wives of Henry VIII and the Life of Elizabeth I

Tudor History: A Captivating Guide to the Tudors, the Wars of the Roses, the Six Wives of Henry VIII and the Life of Elizabeth I Paperback – January 23, 2019

If you want to discover the captivating history of the Tudors, then keep reading...

Four captivating manuscripts in one book:

  • The Tudors: A Captivating Guide to the History of England from Henry VII to Elizabeth I
  • The Wars of the Roses: A Captivating Guide to the English Civil Wars That Brought down the Plantagenet Dynasty and Put the Tudors on the Throne
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII: A Captivating Guide to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr
  • Elizabeth I: A Captivating Guide to the Queen of England Who Was the Last of the Five Monarchs of the House of Tudor

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Elizabeth I: The Novel

Elizabeth I: The Novel Paperback – March 27, 2012

England’s greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was the Virgin Queen really like? Lettice Knollys—Elizabeth's flame-haired, look-alike coussin—thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth’s rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, Lettice has been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood.

This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family. Their rivalry, and its ensuing drama, soon involves everyone close to Elizabeth, from the famed courtiers who enriched the crown to the legendary poets and playwrights who paid homage to it with their works.

Filled with intimate portraits of the personalities who made the Elizabethan age great—Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake—Elizabeth I provides an unforgettable glimpse of a woman who considered herself married to her people. A queen who ruled as much from the heart as from the head.

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