The Biography of Queen Elizabeth the First
Elizabeth I was born on September 7, 1533. She was the second daughter of King Henry VIII and her mother was Queen Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was named after Henry's mother, the consort to King Henry VII.
The birth of Elizabeth was a disappointment to Henry because she was not a male heir to the throne. The birth of a male heir was considered imperative to safety of the House of Tudor. However, Henry loved her dearly and kept her close to him until he remarried after the execution of her mother. During these early years of her life, she was his favourite child. She bore a close resemblance to her father in appearance and in her mannerisms. She was one of the first monarchs to be born of pure English descent. This was one of the reasons that the citizens of England fanatically followed her throughout her reign.
Even though Elizabeth was only three years old and too young to remember her mother, she knew what had happened to her. Throughout her reign she never referred to her mother directly but she often referred to what had happened to her. This event made such a dramatic impact on her life that she regretted sentencing anybody to death. To some this was a weakness, however, it proved to be helpful to her reign. Her mother's conviction of treason for committing adultery, and subsequent execution resulted in her father casting her out and forcing her to live close to poverty until shortly before his death.
When her father married Jane Seymour she was sent to live at Hatfield house but still attended court. Jane's reign as Queen was short lived and after bearing Henry a son, Prince Edward, she died of childbed fever. Till Henry's next marriage occurred, Elizabeth was kept in the Royal nursery and was visited regularly by her father. After Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves was later annulled, Elizabeth was sent from court again and remained in Hatfield house throughout the reign of Queen Catherine Howard.
Queen Catherine shared the fate of her cousin, Queen Anne, was convicted of treason and executed. At this time Elizabeth is quoted as saying that "marriage is death, I will never marry." She was true to her word.
Elizabeth last appeared in her father's court during the Reign of Queen Catherine Parr. Catherine Parr, inadvertently, taught Elizabeth how to avoid the block by pretense and submission. Catherine also insisted that Elizabeth have a proper education and, as a result, Elizabeth became one of the best-educated person of her times.
After the death of her father in 1547, Elizabeth's brother Edward became King. During this time she was living with the Queen Dowager, Catherine Parr. It was here she met the Lady Jane Grey, one of her cousins, and the Lord High Admiral, John Dudley. She and her half sister, the Princess Mary, were both courted by the Admiral and they both refused his affections. Unable to make a match with one of the princesses, he married Catherine Parr, much to the dislike of the young King. Although he was married to Catherine, John Dudley actively pursued Elizabeth. This time enough happened to get Elizabeth expelled from Catherine's court.
Catherine Parr later died in childbed, and the Lord High Admiral was subsequently executed for treason. Elizabeth loved Catherine Parr dearly. Catherine was like a mother to Elizabeth, the only mother she had ever known and loved. Soon after Catherine's death, King Edward died and Lady Jane Grey became Queen for nine days, until Elizabeth's half-sister, Mary, "asserted" her right to the throne. Mary ordered Jane Grey executed for treason and to ensure Elizabeth did not gain power, she had her imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Elizabeth suffered greatly under Queen Mary and was in constant danger of being killed. The danger to Elizabeth further escalated when Queen Mary married Prince Phillip of Spain. To ensure the House of Tudor continued and to maintain stability in England, Queen Mary allowed Elizabeth to live. However, Elizabeth knew that if Mary had a son, Elizabeth would not be needed and would be considered a threat to the throne and executed.
Queen Mary eventually let Elizabeth out of the tower and put her into a "better" prison, a distant castle. It was here that Elizabeth spent most of the five years of Mary's reign. In a later examination of the castle where she stayed, it was found that on a pane of glass were written the words, "Much suspected by me, Nothing proved can be. Quoth Elizabeth prisoner".
Queen Mary finally died on November 17, 1558 and Elizabeth was welcomed as Queen. Mary's reign may have been short, but it was barbaric and earned Mary the title Bloody Mary. Queen Mary, in trying to restore England to Catholicism, plunged England into a dark age and left England impoverished.
Queen Elizabeth worked hard to maintain peace and stability and always tried to please her subjects. She was inspired to create a prospering country by both her need to please the common people and the need to prove to the other monarchs that she was wise, strong and powerful, even though she was a woman.
She took a brilliant approach to restore some of England' treasury. First, she insisted that when she visited a Royal family on her progresses that they were to give her gifts. This allowed her to always dress at the height of fashion without the expense on the treasury. Secondly, she sent Sir Walter Raleigh and other "privateers" to raid Spanish ships for treasure. This brought the treasury a 400% return of her initial investment.
After the problem of renewing the treasury was resolved and England was wealthy, it was time for a husband to be found. Elizabeth knew that her marriage must benefit England, so any marriage would have to be to a foreign monarch. It was rumored that Elizabeth loved Lord Robert Dudley and she used this to her advantage. If her councilors did not agree with her decisions she would threaten to marry Lord Dudley. This usually kept her Councilors in line. Elizabeth did, however, undergo marriage negotiations. In retrospect it is believed that she did this largely because she wanted England to be at peace and immune from attack. For example, if she was being courted by Spain, France would not attack for fear of being attacked by Spain and vice-versa. In doing this she allowed England to prosper and grow.
Elizabeth's reign would have been perfect if not for one thing, the death of the King of France. The Queen Dowager of France, Mary, was also Queen of Scotland and she believed England was rightfully hers. When Mary returned to Scotland she began to pursue the crown of England. Elizabeth finally beheaded Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587. Mary was one of the few people Elizabeth sentenced to death. Elizabeth felt so strongly about not executing people that it took her 20 years to finally sign Mary's death warrant.
Not long after Mary was executed Spain sent its Armada to invade England. During the years of peace and prosperity, Elizabeth had built-up England's navy and quickly defeated the Armada, which would never again become a naval power. This quick defeat firmly established England's navel power and resulted many more years of peace for the country.
When Elizabeth died on March 23, 1603, she was mourned throughout England. She had created an era of peace in England that would come to be called the Elizabethan era. Her greatest accomplishments during her reign was defeating the Spanish Armada, firmly establishing England and a navel power and giving many years of peace and prosperity to England.
Elizabeth overcame the obstacle of being a female ruler. Her love of the arts created an era of great writers, including William Shakespeare. She aspired to be the greatest Queen England ever had, and she was. Throughout this she never married and she remained chaste. Without her the economic revolution could never have happened. Even though the economic revolution occurred almost a century and a half later, if Elizabeth had not created that era of peace where England developed tremendously, Canada, formed as and
English colony, might not be where it is today. The reign of Elizabeth was a great reign lasting 45 years. She changed the way the world looked at Britain and how people looked at the world.
The Faces of Queen Elizabeth the first- this site includes all the pictures of Queen Elizabeth that I put on this page
The Life of Queen Elizabeth the First of England-this site includes all of the information included on this page