Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Elizabeth I, 24th March 1603. Elizabeth was the first effective female monarch in her own right. Her step sister Mary I also know as bloody Mary had a bumpy and turbulent reign which was for the protestants of this land thankfully short one. Queen Jane of 9 days failed to keep the throne so can hardly be hailed a success.
Elizabeth was able to bring tolerance to her reign and before she executed Mary Queen of Scots Catholics were mostly tolerated. She fought like a man when there was serious threat from the Spanish Armada giving a moving speech at Tilsbury east London 8th August 1588.
“My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safe guard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects, and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all, to lay down my life for my God and for my kingdom and for my people, my honour, and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm; the which, rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know, already for your forwardness, you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the meantime my lieutenant-general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject, not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.”
She defied her councilors on the issue of marriage a brave decision and showed that she could rule like a man. Although she never married I never think of her as lonely, unlike her married step sister Mary whom I do see as isolated and alone. I see Elizabeth as the life and sole of the party with a strong group of ladies in waiting and a long queue of favourite all seeking her attention. She seemed to enjoy life as a monarch, the way in which her father did, with royal progresses during the summer and partys.
Even surviving her sisters reign and leaving the Tower of London to inherit the throne was a success in its self.
Elizabeth also survived 3 assassination attempts on her life another great achievement as well as fighting off and surviving scare free small pox.
Another of her lasting legacies is that she was able to promote an image of her self as the virgin queen through her paintings and behaviour in an era when there was no media of any kind.
She was an accomplished linguist, musician and dancer as well as being very strong academically.
Her reign has been seen as a golden era in our history. Although it was eventful, her courage bravery and belief in her self as a god appointed monarch as well as her faith helped her rule and in situations that required kill or be killed she was brave enough to step forward and eliminate the problem to survive. I often wish that Henry knew that his youngest daughter was such a success and made a better job of ruling than his other 2 children for he would have been proud.