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Opener for November 11:. Copy down the agenda in your agenda book, please. If you still have portions of your project to turn in, please do so now. I plan to contact your parents tonight, if you have any part of the project missing. Queen of England 1558 - 1603.

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opener for november 11

Opener for November 11:

Copy down the agenda in your agenda book, please.

If you still have portions of your project to turn in, please do so now.

I plan to contact your parents tonight, if you have any part of the project missing.

queen of england 1558 1603
Queen of England

1558 - 1603


Elizabeth’s life was troubled the moment she was born. Her father, Henry VIII, changed the course of England’s history with the desire for a male heir.


Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was “inherited” from his older brother. His older brother had actually married Catherine, yet died 4 months later. Henry was 10 at the time.

Arthur Tudor, c. 1501


Catherine’s parents were Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. A treaty was signed to allow Catherine to marry the next heir to the throne of England, Henry.


Since Catherine was Henry’s dead brother’s wife, a special dispensation was needed from the Pope, to allow them to marry. Since both the kings of England and Spain wanted this marriage to be legitimate, dispensation was sought, and received, from the Pope.

Pope Clement VII

By Sebastiano del Piombo


On April 22, 1509, Henry’s father, King Henry VII died. Henry was declared king at the young age of 18.


On June 11, 1509, Henry VIII took Catherine as his bride.

In January, 1511, Catherine gave birth to their first child, a boy, who died two months later. Unfortunately, this was the first of many children who died shortly after birth.


On February 18, 1516, Catherine gave birth to Mary, the only child to survive infancy. Henry grew more desperate for a son, because he wanted to make sure there would be no war over succession (his father had won the throne after defeating Richard III).

Mary in 1544

Painted by Master John


In 1525, Henry fell in love with a young woman in the Queen’s entourage: Anne Boleyn. She at first resisted his advances. This, in turn, made Henry pursue Anne more fervently. Anne realized the power that she held, and she insisted that the only way she would accept Henry is if he made her queen.

Late Elizabethan portrait of Anne Boleyn, possibly derived from a lost original of 1533–36


So, in order to marry Anne, Henry had to obtain a divorce from Catherine. To do this, he needed an annulment from the Pope, which would declare the marriage to Catherine had never taken place. As you know, the annulment was not granted by the Pope, so Henry decided that, since he was king, he’d do what he wanted to do!


In the winter of 1532, Henry and Anne married secretly. Sometime thereafter, Anne discovered she was pregnant, and a second wedding service was held, on January 25, 1533.

On May 23, 1533, Henry’s first marriage to Catherine was declared null and void. Five days later, Henry’s marriage to Anne was declared to be valid.


Elizabeth was born on September 7, 1533.

The Princess Elizabeth, aged about 13 (1546). Sometimes attributed to William Scrots


Anne was declared to have committed treason, and was executed on May 19, 1536.

Elizabeth was then declared illegitimate, stripped of the title of “Princess”, and she was sent away from court.


Henry then married Jane Seymour, who died giving birth to a son, Edward

  • Henry had three children:
    • Mary, born in 1516
    • Elizabeth, born in 1533
    • Edward, born in 1537

Portrait of Prince Edward

Hans Holbein


The Family of Henry VIII c. 1545

Painted by an unknown artist

Left to Right: 'Mother Jak', The Lady Mary, Prince Edward, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, The Lady Elizabeth and Wil Somers


By the autumn of 1537, Elizabeth was under the care of Blanche Herbert, Lady Troy

  • In addition, Elizabeth was educated during her young years. By the time an official tutor was hired, Elizabeth, at 11 years old, could write in English, Latin and Italian.
  • She was then tutored in French and Greek.
  • By the time her formal education ended in 1550, when she was 17, Elizabeth was the best educated women of her generation.

When Henry married his final wife, Katherine Parr, she brought both Mary and Elizabeth back to court.

  • However, in January 1548, Henry VIII died, and his son, Edward (who was only 10) was declared king

Edward VI

William Scrots, c. 1550


After Edward’s succession to the throne, Elizabeth went to live with Katherine Parr.

  • However, in 1548, Elizabeth went to live in Hatfield House, one of the many homes owned by the Kings of England.

In January, 1553, Edward VI fell ill. When his illness was discovered to be terminal, Edward drew up a “Devise for Succession”.

  • This was drawn up to prohibit the country’s return to Catholicism, since his oldest sister, Mary, was a staunch Catholic.
  • Edward named his cousin, Lady Jane Grey as his heir, and excluded his two half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth.

This succession was disputed after Edward’s death, and Lady Jane Grey was “queen” of England for only nine days.

  • Parliament, however, declared Mary as rightful queen, and Jane was executed for treason on February 12, 1554.

The Streatham Portrait, discovered at the beginning of the 21st century and believed to be a copy of a contemporary portrait of Lady Jane Grey.


Mary, Elizabeth’s older sister, was crowned Queen of England on October 1, 1553.

  • Mary, too, had an excellent education. She studied Latin, Greek, music and science.
  • Mary, like her father before her, then sought to secure succession. Her next step was to find a husband.

Mary I as Queen

by Hans Eworth


Under much protest, Mary married Phillip II of Spain. It is said that she declared herself to be in love with him when she set eyes upon this formal portrait of him, painted by Titian.


There were a couple of reasons why this marriage was unpopular, both with members of Parliament and the English population in general:

    • Mary was England’s first Queen Regnant. Under English common law, all property belonging to a woman became her husband’s upon marriage
    • It was feared that any man she married would become King of England in fact, not just in name.
    • Phillip was also Catholic, which sent the newly establish Church of England into panic

Due to the unpopularity of the marriage, Elizabeth’s live got interesting.

  • On January 26, 1554, Thomas Wyatt led a force of 4,000 to London, but he was quickly defeated. Since he was supporting Elizabeth to become Queen, Elizabeth was implicated in the plot against Mary.

Portrait of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger

c. 1545–50


Elizabeth, however, protested her innocence in this uprising. Mary, determined not to be dethroned, sent Elizabeth to the Tower of London.


There is a story about Elizabeth’s entry into the Tower. She was deathly afraid of the Tower, and when she was told that she would entering through the Traitor’s Gate, she refused to move from the boat that had brought her.

  • She had been brought to the Tower at night, so that her supporters would not be there to rebel, and so that her entrance would also not raise their sympathy.
  • It was cold, dark and rainy. Her governess had to persuade Elizabeth to enter.

Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower for two months, after which she was under house arrest at Woodstock Palace.

  • Mary’s closest confidant argued that Mary’s throne would never be secure if Elizabeth lived. Mary, however, refused to listen.

On April 17, 1555, Elizabeth was recalled to court. The reason behind this is that Mary wanted to keep an eye on Elizabeth, during the final months of Mary’s apparent pregnancy.

  • If Mary and the child died, Elizabeth would become queen. If Mary and the child lived, Elizabeth’s chances of becoming queen would greatly lessen.

When it became clear that Mary was NOT pregnant, people began to believe that Mary would never have a child (she was, at this time 39 years old).

  • Elizabeth’s succession was secure. She was allowed to return to Hatfield House at this time.
  • Even Phillip began to believe in this political reality, for he, starting in 1556, began to befriend Elizabeth.

In 1558, Mary fell ill. Phillip sent one of his advisors to consult with Elizabeth.

  • By October 1558, Elizabeth, at the age of 25, was beginning to make plans for her government.
  • On November 6, 1558, Mary recognized Elizabeth as her heir

One of Elizabeth’s first moves as queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant Church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This has since evolved into today’s Church of England.

The Sieve Portrait". Elizabeth with a sieve, a symbol of virginity


From the beginning of her reign, it was expected that Elizabeth would marry. She considered many suitors, until she was about 50 (in other words, she played the “Marriage Game” for 25 years!)

The Rainbow Portrait.

Attributed to Isaac Oliver


Here are just some of the suitors to her hand:

  • 1559: Phillip II of Spain
  • 1560: King Eric XIV of Sweden
  • 1560: Charles IX of France
  • 1560 & 1570: Henry de Valois, Duke of Anjou
  • 1572 – 1585: Francois de Valois, Duke of Anjou

Elizabeth was a skilled diplomat. She kept the marriage question open as a ploy, treating it as an aspect of foreign policy.

  • Despite the urgings of her advisors, Elizabeth never married. Instead, she stated:

I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the kingdom of England.(Elizabeth to Parliament)

"The Phoenix Portrait“

attributed to Nicholas Hilliard


During the early years of Elizabeth’s reign, Spain was most powerful nation in the world. Phillip II ruled mass territories of land, and had the wealth of the New World under his control.

  • Relations between the two countries started off well, but over a course of 30 years, they deteriorated

Spanish territories in the 18th century


First of all, England had returned to being a Protestant country, and Phillip believed it was his mission to return it to Catholicism.

  • Secondly, many Spanish believed that Elizabeth had no right to the throne of England, since she was illegitimate (in the view of the Catholic Church)

The "Hampden" portrait

by Steven van der Meulen, ca. 1563


But, probably the most problematic was Elizabeth’s support of her privateers:

    • Walter Raleigh
    • Francis Drake
  • These men and others had Elizabeth’s support to attack and rob Spanish ships as they returned from the New World, laden with gold.

Walter Raleigh

by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1585

Francis Drake

painting by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger


As early as 1585, Phillip was making plans to invade England.

  • However, two setbacks occurred, the first being the death of the commander in charge of the fleet. Another commander was placed in charge, but he believed he was not qualified for the position
  • A second setback occurred when Francis Drake sailed to the coast of Spain and destroyed many of the ships anchored off Cadiz.

Spanish galleon


In May 1588, Phillip II sent out his fleet of 130 warships.

  • The English were waiting. On the cliffs of England and Wales men watched for the first sighting of the Armada. As soon as ships started to make their way up the English Channel, the fighting began.

One of at least three versions of The Armada Portrait.


While English sailors and soldiers fought, Elizabeth refused to sit in a palace and wait for the outcome. Instead, she traveled to Tilbury. Like a true warrior, she rode a white horse and inspected her troops. She also made what was possibly her most famous speech of all:

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of 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


No invasion of England came. The Armada was defeated at sea, and, as it tried to return to Spain going north, around Scotland, a storm rose up and battered the remaining ships.

  • Although Phillip sent other fleets to attack England, none other were as significant as the Armada.
  • Elizabeth’s defeat of Spain’s navy began England’s superiority at sea.

Elizabeth was a political genius – she nurtured her country through careful leadership. She also chose capable men to assist her. Although she was determined, she knew when to listen, and follow advice. She would change a policy if it became unpopular with the people. Her approach to politics was serious, conservative and cautious.

Elizabeth near the end of her life


Notes on Elizabeth I:

  • Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, after the death of her older sister, Mary
  • She was a skilled diplomat, and used compromise to keep her throne
  • Her reign is referred to as “The Golden Age”
  • Her navy defeated the Spanish Armada

Elizabeth had many pleasures in life

  • She loved to ride horses, and she continued to ride long distances (10 miles) up until she was in her 60’s. Her councilors were terrified that she would be killed or injured in a fall.
  • She also loved to hunt, by crossbow or by hawk.

She also kept animals as pets, which were treated well.

  • She also enjoyed watching sports, in particular tennis (tennis was more like today’s racquetball)

Elizabeth at a picnic. Woodcut from The Booke of Hunting


Elizabeth was also a skilled musician, and played the virginals (a type of harpsichord) and the lute

Elizabeth playing the lute.

Painted by Nicholas Hilliard c. 1580


Elizabeth also enjoyed musical entertainment, encouraged musicians and composers, and she loved to dance.

  • Elizabeth was also a patron of the arts and literature. During her reign, the literacy rate reached approximately 33%, one of the highest rates in Europe at the time.

Elizabeth with a fan

Artist unknown, c.1585


She enjoyed plays, and she had her own company of players, the Queen’s Players, who would perform for the queen and her court.

  • In 1594, William Shakespeare, and his company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, became the leading play company in London. It is very likely that Elizabeth enjoyed some of his plays at the Old Globe Theater in London.

"The Ditchley Portrait“

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger c. 1592


When Elizabeth ascended the throne of England in 1558, England was an impoverished country torn apart by religious squabbles.

  • When she died in 1603, England had become one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in the world.

To this day, the period in which she ruled is known as the “Elizabethan Era”.

The tomb of Mary and Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. The Latin translates: "Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of one resurrection."


Information from:


Elizabeth in procession to Blackfriars in 1600. In the style of Peake