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The Virgin Queen Who Defined England's Golden Age

Queen Elizabeth I of Britain, also known as “The Virgin Queen,” was an impactful monarch who defeated the Spanish Armada, calmed theological conflicts, and used her power and status to help her people.

Elizabeth Tudor was born from a controversial marriage of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII on Sept. 7, 1533. Anne could only bear Elizabeth as Henry fell out of love with her. In 1535, Henry accused Anne of adultery, incest, and high treason, which led to her execution, two years after Elizabeth’s birth. Her step-brother Edward was born in a different marriage, and her ascension to the throne became risky as Edward was first in line to the throne. Her older Catholic step-sister, Mary I, disliked Elizabeth’s Protestant views.

Elizabeth was raised with tutors and private instructors during her childhood. She was a quick learner of language and the classics. She also excelled in horse riding, archery, dancing, and playing a keyboard instrument called virginals.

Her father had several marriages with many mistresses. His last wife, Catherine Parr, made Elizabeth and her two step-siblings spend time at court. Elizabeth was taught the art of public speaking, which aided her during her reign as queen.

After Henry’s death, Edward took the throne but died shortly after an illness. Lady Jane Grey, a grandniece of Henry VIII, took the reign until Mary I overthrew her. Mary wanted to bring Catholicism back to England. This made things tense with Elizabeth, who was a Protestant; Mary was so apprehensive about what Elizabeth might do that she even imprisoned her for two months. After Mary’s death, Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25.

Elizabeth’s rule was a fortunate event and helped England receive its “Golden Age” in literature, arts, politics, and economy. Elizabeth had many accomplishments throughout her life, like turning her country’s main religion to Protestantism and calming a theological debate among the country. Despite this, there were concerns that she had not been married. However, she may have had some favorable suitors like the Earl of Essex, who was beheaded for treason.

One of the most well-known conflicts that she was involved in was the defeat of Spain’s naval fleets, also known as the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth’s strategy of using fire ships in the direction of the “Protestant Wind,” which pushed the embers in the right direction, unexpectedly defeated the Spanish Armada.

Elizabeth I was an intelligent and a skillful leader who made ruthless decisions. Her caring nature and realistic expectations of her people were the most important part of her reign. These characteristics are what make Queen Elizabeth I a revered figure of British royalty.

[Source: Women Who Changed The World]

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