Queen Elizabeth I Biography
Are you looking for a Queen Elizabeth I biography? In the wake of the recent royal wedding, many people want to know more about British royalty. Here is a short biographical overview of England’s first Queen Elizabeth.
Sometimes referred to as Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, or The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth Tudor was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor Dynasty. The House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin.
The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was born a princess in 1533. But her mother, Henry’s second wife and queen consort, was executed less than three years after Elizabeth’s birth. The princess was then declared an illegitimate child.
When her half-brother, Edward VI, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey, his sisters were cut out of succession. But his will was set aside and Grey was executed for treason. Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, the Catholic Mary I, as queen regent of England and Ireland. She was crowned in 1559, at the age of 25, and reigned for 44 years on the throne.
During the reign of Mary I, Elizabeth was imprisoned for supporting Protestant rebels. In one of her first acts as queen, she supported the establishment of an English Protestant church. In all things, she vowed to rule by good counsel. A group of trusted advisors assisted her, including the English statesman William Cecil and Baron Burghley.
Despite numerous romantic courtships and parliament petitions, Queen Elizabeth I never married or had children. She became famous for her virginity, and cults formed around her, celebrated in pageants, portraits, and literature of the time.
Elizabeth was a more moderate ruler than her father or siblings. “Video et taceo” or “I see, and say nothing” was her motto, and it saved her from many political and personal misalliances. She was also very cautious in military affairs. Yet, the defeat of the Spanish Armada-one of the greatest military victories in English history-is forever associated with her name.
Historians sometimes portray Elizabeth I as ill-tempered and indecisive. But, all consider her the ruler of a golden age. Her reign is known as the Elizabethan era, most famous for the growth of English drama led by playwrights William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The era is also associated with the great seafaring adventures of England’s famous captain, Sir Francis Drake. Drake was second in command against the Spanish Armada.
After the short reigns of her royal siblings, Queen Elizabeth’s four-decade reign gave the kingdom a welcome stability and helped forge England’s sense of national identity. Elizabeth I died in 1603, at the age of 69. She is interred in Westminster Abbey, in a tomb she shares with her half-sister Mary.