Queen Elizabeth I of England was a fabulous figure from our past. Her reign, later known as the Elizabethan era, brought a much needed period of stability for her people. Elizabeth’s accomplishments throughout her reign turned England into a superpower. She had a modern view on religious tolerance, ended the expensive war with France and defeated the Spanish Armada.
Although her reign is an amazing example of what a woman can do with an open mind and progressive goals, Elizabeth’s path to the throne a challenge. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (his second wife), Elizabeth was only a princess for a short amount of time. Henry divorced and beheaded Anne when Elizabeth was a toddler to marry Jane Seymour, the mother of King Edward, who succeeded his father. Elizabeth lost her status as princess and was considered illegitimate until she was crowned queen.
If losing her title princess wasn’t enough, a young Protestant Elizabeth had to cunningly maneuver through Mary’s Catholic court and its intrigue in order to survive. Bloody Mary even imprisoned Elizabeth for a period of time because she felt that the young, intelligent woman’s popularity was a threat.
Elizabeth earned the nickname the Virgin Queen because she never married. She used her single status as a political advantage and to improve foreign relations with her suitors’ countries.
Elizabeth was extremely intelligent; she was fluent in six languages by the time she was 11-years-old, could play instruments and encouraged the advancement of arts in her court. She brought the Renaissance to England and she was completely devoted to her people as you can see in her Golden Speech (http://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/golden_speech.htm).
Elizabeth was a woman who had goals and never let anyone, family, friends and men included, get in the way of what she wanted to do for her country and her people.
Photo source: http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz2.html