Elizabeth I of England, 1533 - 1603
The "Darnley" portrait (ca. 1575)
Born: 7 September 1533, Greenwich, England
Died: 24 March 1603, Richmond, England
After 24 years of marriage, Catherine or Aragon had only one living issue, and that a daughter, so Henry VIII had the marriage annulled, declared his daughter Mary illegitimate, and married Anne Boleyn, who promptly (less than four months) delivered another daughter, Elizabeth. Less patient the second time, in less than three years trumped-up charges of treason were brought against Anne, she was beheaded, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Elizabeth grew up largely in the household of her younger step-brother Prince Edward and was well educated by her governess, on Henry's death she moved into the household of Catherine Parr, Henry's last wife, and was given additional education there. The prince became Edward VI but died after six months, and Mary became queen. In the struggle between Catholics and Protestants, Elizabeth became a favorite of the Protestants and was seen as a real threat to Queen Mary, a conservative Catholic. She spent some time in the Tower of London under charges of treason and an extended period of house arrest, but Mary refused to sign the execution order.
Elizabeth became Queen on 17 November 1558 and was crowned on 14 January 1559. She played diplomatic games with many suitors but never married. Military campaigns under her were not well supported and consistent failures, she consistently felt that she lost control of her forces as soon as they left England. Her navy made great strides, notably Francis Drake's circumnavigation or the globe and consistent harrying of Spanish ships, most notably the destruction of the Spanish Armada. She formally established the Church of England. After the defeat of the Armada, the war with Spain took a heavy toll on the economy and her popularity suffered. Within the next three years almost all of her senior advisors died, and the last decade of her life was melancholy. In late 1602 several deaths among her friends left her in a deep depression, she died in her bed at Richmond Palace at age seventy. The Virgin Queen is probably best remembered for the literature of her reign, including Edmund Spenser, Chrisoper Marlowe, and William Shakespeare, the seagoing exploits of Drake, and the foreign adventures of Walter Raleigh.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Elizabeth I quotes:
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- A clear and innocent conscience fears nothing. permalink
- Affection! Affection is false. permalink
1600, quoted by J.E. Neale in Queen Elizabeth I (1934)
- All my possessions for a moment of time. permalink
last words (1603), per Barnaby Conrad in Famous Last Words (1961)
- Although I may not be a lioness, I am a lion's cub, and inherit many of his qualities; and as long as the King of France treats me gently he will find me as gentle and tractable as he can desire; but if he be rough, I shall take the trouble to be just as troublesome and offensive to him as I can. permalink
1574, quoted by Frederick Chamberlin in The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth (1923)
- Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor. permalink
to Sir Edward Dyer, quoted by Francis Bacon in Apophthegms (1625)
- Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmiths. permalink
1581 letter, in The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I, G.B. Harrison, ed. (1935)
- By your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people. permalink
Speech to the Troops at Tilbury (19 August 1588)
- Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested. permalink
- Eyes of youth have sharp sight, but commonly not so deep as those of elder age. permalink
Elizabeth I: Collected Works, Leah S. Marcus et al., eds. (2002)
- Fear not, we are of the nature of the lion, and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts. permalink
- For what is a family without a steward, a ship without a pilot, a flock without a shepherd, a body without a head, the same, I think, is a kingdom without the health and safety of a good monarch. permalink
letter to King Edward VI (1551)
- God has given such brave soldiers to this Crown that, if they do not frighten our neighbours, at least they prevent us from being frightened by them. permalink
- God may pardon you, but I never can. permalink
1587, to the Countess of Nottingham, quoted by David Hume in History of England Under the House of Tudor (1759)
- Green wounds scarce abide the toucher's hand. permalink
1579, quoted by Elizabeth Jenkins in Elizabeth the Great (1958)
- Had I been crested, not cloven, my Lords, you had not treated me thus. permalink
to courtiers, quoted by Nigel Nicolson in Portrait of a Marriage (1973)
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