Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth was the unwanted daughter of King Henry VIII, the king who killed her
mother, because she did not bear a son. Elizabeth grew up in a country at war with it self
in the wake of King Henrys religious reforms. Through no fault of her own, Elizabeth
was cast aside by her own father; resulting in a lonely childhood and adolescence. While
her half sister Mary I was queen, as a young women Elizabeth lived quietly, waiting for
her opportunity to succeed. On November. 17, 1558, Mary died and Elizabeth began her
reign. During her years as a queen, Elizabeth influenced England greatly, with
which to this day the Elizabethan age is most often associated.

Education was one of Elizabeths greatest influences on England. Perhaps her
influence on the importance of education as a young girl and her longed desire to learn
helped her strive for this particular goal. Children in those days began their studies really
early in the morning. They were expected to work long hours with out getting distracted.

Over the years her tutors wrote glowing reports on her excellent progress. At ten years
old, Elizabeth was excellent at Latin, and she could speak Italian pretty well. She was
also taught ancient and modern languages, religion, history, geography, mathematics,
science, and music. She kept up her studies even when she became queen.(Zamoyska
10-11) Queen Elizabeth introduced to her country the seeds of freedom, which English
men now took for granted. The growing number of printing presses made books more
readily available, because an increasing amount of people, both men and women began
As a Protestant, Elizabeth influenced her countrys religious decisions.

According to Zamoyska: While Mary was still queen of England, Elizabeth did not want
to risk her greatest opportunity of being next in line. She had a difficult task of having to
conform openly to the Catholics, while still keeping support for the Protestants and the
younger generation that looked up to her. (19)
Elizabeths first decisions bore on the religious issues. She turned the situation
back to the state of things during the last years of Edward VI, allowing the repatriation of
the Protestant leaders who had been driven out underMary.She didnt, however
encourage further changes, and essentially supported the Church of England …

Moderate Protestantism had been practiced under Henry VIII , and under Edward VI
even more radical Protestant programs were implemented.. Mary in the other hand, had
restored the Roman Catholic faith. Elizabeth herself was a moderate Protestant, and her
settlement excluded papal authority, and brought back the Book of Common Prayer. This
however did not recognize the demands of the extreme Puritans. During her reign a lot of
pressure continued, but she resisted. Eventually the Puritans were driven underground.

One of her greatest fears was that an alliance of Catholic powers might force her out of
the throne, and introduce again a Catholic monarch. Eventually Elizabeth send English
forces to fight on the Protestant side: In the war of religion in France and the revolt of the
Dutch against Spanish rule. (Academic American Encyclopedia 141)
The Spanish Armada was perhaps the greatest threat to Elizabeth. Intending this fleet
to secure the deposition of Elizabeth in favor of himself, Philip II of Spain-Thus restoring
Catholicism. The Naval battle in the English Channel devasted the Spanish flotilla.
The use of the fire ships, English seaman ship and the Protestant Wind as the
English call it, were responsible for the English victory that turned out to be so famous.

(Academic American Encyclopedia 142) Before the war, Queen Elizabeth made a
dramatic speech to her troops at Tulbury. She assured them that she had …the heart and
stomach of a king and she promised that …we shall shortly have a famous victory over
these enemies of my God, my kingdom, and my people. She wore a gleaming silver
armor and a white velvet dress. She was not about to barricade herself into one of her
castles in this time of danger, but she was intending to show her country what a queen
could be. The war was declared an English victory. Thus the defeat of the Armada
strengthened Elizabeths position as a figure of Protestantism. She was the one who in
spite of everything, seemed invincible. (Bush 87-90)
Queen Elizabeth was the most important patron of Elizabethan theater.
Her influence was essential protecting the theatrical
profession from puritan inspired prohibitions, and her court provided an
important source of income and prestige for leading London acting
According to Boyce, Elizabeth was fond of William Shakespeares plays. She was
especially pleased with Falstaff. She was so pleased that she commanded the play wright
to produce a play in which the fat knight falls in love; resulting in the play entitled The
Merry Wives of Windsor. Cranmers eulogy to Elizabeth in Henry VII, delivered by an
important English national hero, without a doubt reflects the nostalgia for her reign by
England, a decade after her death. Elizabeths reign did not only influence theater, but it
literature as well as art and music(172)
Elizabeth influenced the manner in which the court was programmed, mainly
because of her personality. According to Rachum …she had her way with people and
possessed a high sense of her own authority. She also knew how to take advantage of a
particular circumstance as a single women surrounded by men.(162) Court officials and
guests frequently displayed coarse manners, even though 16th century court etiquette was
complex and highly structured. …The queen herself sometimes slapped her maids and
often swore; a habit that amused the retainers, and disgusted the clergy.(Bush 67) It was
made clear through Elizabeth that she would not stand any disobedience, patterning her
rule after her fathers model of absolute monarchy. Many people compared Elizabeths
method of ruling like her fathers; but this did not discourage her.(Bush 37)
Her prideful attitude perhaps influenced those that looked up to her or were
attracted to her. Elizabeths most famous qualities was her success in her policies, the
glamour in her court and her longed preserved virginity. These qualities could of been the
ideal life style for those that idolized her.(Academic American Encyclopedia 141) Her
physical features(at that time)were outstanding, plus the fact that she was a proud women
emphasized these qualities even more. Elizabeth at twenty years of age, appeared to be in
the full bloom of her life. With a good figure, and her tall stature she moved with dignity.

She had an olive complexion and reddish brown hair. Her fine eyes and long elegant
Hands were just another striking feature.(Zamoyska 19)
Her marriage decision not only influenced all the men that wanted to marry her,
but it also influenced what the whole country thought about her.

…the most important issue of her first years of government was the one
that consistently evaded, namely her marriage…public opinion disliked the image of the
Virgin Queen. If she were to get married her personal choice would of been the earl of
Leicester…after him she had many favorites…(Rachum 162)
Although her decision was not to get married, it does not mean that she did not
have any lovers. One rumor of a lover, was a man by the name of Robert Dudley; who
she appointed as her master of horse. It was no doubt that Elizabeth was attracted to his
energy, skill at conversation and athletic prowess. The way he organized court
entertainment delighted her. Soon enough Elizabeths behavior became a scandal.(Bush
41-42) Although she had other men in her life, she prided the fact that all her life she was
a virgin, and died a virgin.(Academic American Encyclopedia 142)
Even though her days were shortened little by little, the dying queen was still an
influence of hope to her country. To a world she helped shape, Elizabeth made her
farewells, to an England whose affection she was sure.(Bush 105) At the old age of
seventy it marked the end for of this queens life; at the old age which was very rare to
die. Especially at the time where disease and primitive medical practices doomed many
to an early death. Elizabeth like her father was a firm believer in physical as well as
intellectual exercise, which may of contributed to her remarkable life spand.

According to an observer: Elizabeths funeral was never forgotten by
those that witnessed it…such a general sighing, groaning, and weeping as that hath not
seen or known in the memory of man.(Bush 107)
The Elizabethan age is most often associated with Queen Elizabeth I, who
influenced England greatly. Her influence on literature, drama, theater, and as a great
political figure who cleverly manipulated and retained power dispite the obstacles,
deserves credit for the great achievements during her reign.


Bibliography:
Elizabeth I, Queen of England Academic American Encyclopedia, 1987
Boyce,Charles. Shakespeare A to Z. New York: Charles Boyce & Roundtable Press
Inc. 1990
Bush,Catherine. Elizabeth I. New York: Chelsea House Educational communications,
Inc.1986
Rachum,Ilan. The Renaissance: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. New York City: May
Flower Books Inc. 1979
Zamoyska, Betka. Queen Elizabeth I: United States of America: Cameron & Tayleur
Books Ltd. 1981