Tudor Queen: Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth was born on the 7thSeptember 1533 at Greenwich Palace to parents Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  She ascended to the English throne on the 17thNovember 1558, following the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I, and was crowned Queen Elizabeth I of England at Westminster Abbey on the 15thJanuary 1559.

Elizabeth would have been well aware, what this new position in life held.  She knew, she was considered an illegitimate child in the eyes of some of her Catholic subjects.  For they believed, Mary, Queen of Scotland, the Catholic daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, also the great niece of Henry VIII, gave her claim to the English throne.

Therefore if Elizabeth had died, Mary would have ascended to the English throne.  Whilst Mary lived an assassination on Elizabeth’s life, by supporters loyal to Mary existed.

Elizabeth dismantled Mary’s Catholic England, and on the 29thMay 1559 Edmund Grindal became the new Protestant Bishop of London, replacing Edmund Bonner.  One by one, Catholic churches suppressed making way for Protestant England.

On the 10thJuly Henry II of France died, and Francis II ascended to the French throne with his wife; Mary, Queen of Scots.

Many in England feared what could happen.  For Mary was now Queen Consort of France, Queen of Scotland, and declared herself as the true Queen of England, whilst her husband became King Consort of Scotland, this royal alliance had united the French and Scottish crowns.

Would French monarchs, actively seek Elizabeth’s throne, on behalf of their Queen; Mary.  She who bequeathed Scotland, and her claim to the English throne to that of France, should she die without issue.

Elizabeth appointed William Cecil as her Principal Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham for Intelligence and Robert Dudley as Master of the Horse.

On the 17thDecember Mathew Parker was consecrated as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were introduced on the 3rdApril and approved by royal assent on the 8thMay.  They restored the Protestant Church in England, making Elizabeth head of the Church of England in 1559.

In December of 1559, Elizabeth sent aid, by way of a fleet of ships to Leith.  These Scottish Protestant lords had rebelled against their French Catholic Regent.  Elizabeth did not want French troops sent by Mary, Queen of Scots, crossing the border from Scotland into England, even to the point of challenging her right to be Queen.

On the 27thFebruary 1560, Scottish Protestants under her protection signed the “Treaty of Berwick.”  On the 6thApril, English troops laid siege to the French garrison at Leith, on Scotland’s lands.  Peace negotiations were agreed by the signing of the “Treaty of Edinburgh” on the 6thJuly, and according to the terms, both English and French troops withdrew from Scotland.

On the 5th December, King Francis II of France died.

On the 4thJune 1561, St.Paul’s steeple was struck by lightning, and its roof destroyed by fire.  Catholics believed it was a sign from God, that he be displeased by Protestant reforms.

Mary, Queen of Scots, a widow at eighteen, returned to Scotland in 1561, to take up her position as Queen of Scotland, she a Catholic in a predominately Protestant country. Mary was forced into accepting her Scotland was led by a Protestant government, and her rule within it, had to be one of moderation.

Protestants massacred in Vassy, relations broke down with Catholics, leading to Civil War.

In August 1562, Protestant Huguenots requested English aid.  The Treaty of Hampton Court, signed on the 20thSeptember, saw Elizabeth grant them money and troops, in return for Calais.

Some 6,000 English troops under Ambrose Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, occupied Dieppe and LeHarve. The Protestant Huguenots had been defeated in the “Battle of Dreux” by francis, Duke of Guise in the December, and their leader, the Prince of Conde, captured.

In March of 1563 Protestant and Catholic factions in France, made peace at the Treaty of Amboise. Their united armies attacked the English garrison of LeHarve.  Bubonic plague struck the garrison in the July, and Warwick surrendered to the French and brought the plague back to England.

Over the next nine months, some 20,000 people died in London, and in December Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire were struck by earthquakes.

In 1565, English adventurer and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh brings back potatoes and tobacco from the New World.

On the 19thJune 1566, Mary, the Queen of Scots bore a son, baptised according to Catholic rites, and the child was named James, and Elizabeth was his godmother.

On the 29thJuly 1567, 13-month-old heir to the Scottish throne was crowned King James VI, after his mother had abdicated on the 24thJuly under duress. Mary’s half-brother James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, ruled as Regent

On the 2ndMay 1568, Mary escaped from Lochleven Castle, and on the 16thMay crossed the border into England.

This unwanted visitor, was first imprisoned in Carlisle Castle, then moved to Bolton Castle.

On the 25thFebruary 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth from the Catholic Church.  A copy of the Bull of Excommunication was nailed to the door of the Bishop of London’s Palace on the 25thMay by John Feton who was sent to the Tower, and executed on the 8thAugust at St.Paul’s Churchyard.

February of 1571, Francis Drake plundered Spanish shipping in the West Indies, his act of piracy against the Spanish amounted to at least £100,000 shared by his Queen.

Martin Frobisher made three voyages between 1576 and 1578 to the Arctic in search of the North-West passage to China.

On the 31stMay 1577, Martin Frobisher departed Harwich, his mission to bring back black ore believed to contain gold, for his financial backers which also included the Queen.  What was thought to be gold, turned out to be dross.

On the 13thDecember 1577, five ships under Francis Drake’s command left Plymouth to seize Spanish bullion and explore the South American coastline.  On the 26thSeptember 1580, Francis Drake returned to England, having circumnavigated the globe, and on the 4thApril 1581 was knighted on the deck of the Golden Hind.

In April of 1583, Elizabeth attempted a settlement which would allow, Mary to return to Scotland. James VI refused, he objected to sharing power with his mother.

On the 25thOctober John Somerville had intended to shoot the Queen, but confessed all at a local Inn on route, and was arrested.  He implicated his Catholic parents-in-law, Edward and Mary Arden. Somerville committed suicide on the 19thDecember in his cell and Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered.

In November 1583, Francis Thogmorton confessed of a plot involving Bernardino de Mendoza the Spanish Ambassador, English and French Catholics in exile and Spanish troops, to remove Elizabeth and put Mary, Queen of Scots on the English throne.

In April of 1584, Walter Raleigh rigged out two ships, for a voyage of discovery, destined for the New World.  He founded the first American colony, and named it Virginia after his Queen; Elizabeth the Virgin Queen.  Then on the 6thJanuary 1585, he received a knighthood.

On the 2ndMarch 1585, William Parry MP was hung, drawn and quartered for high treason, a co-conspirator planning to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.

During the months of May, June and July of 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots entered into correspondence with Catholic conspirator Anthony Babbington.  Her letters were intercepted and deciphered.  Mary approved of an invasion plan and the assassination of Elizabeth.

In the October Mary was put on trial at Fotheringale Castle for plotting against the Queen’s life. On the 25thOctober she was found guilty, and sentenced to death.  On the 4thDecember Elizabeth issued a proclamation of the verdict, and on the 6thDecember Lord Burghley drafted the death warrant, ready for the Queen’s signature.

Elizabeth had much doubt in signing the death warrant, but pressure led to the signing on the 1stFebruary 1587.

On the 8thFebruary 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, she who sought support from England, yet being a conspirator against the life of Elizabeth lost her own life.  She presented herself to the executioner, as that of a Martyr, dressed in crimson, wearing an Agnus Dei around her neck and a rosary attached to her girdle, holding a crucifix, and repeating prayers to herself in Latin, as she walked to her death.

On the 2ndApril 1587, Sir Francis Drake the Queen’s pirate departed Plkymouth, destined to attack Spain’s shipping.  He plundered and sunk ships anchored at Cadiz, then moved on to the Azores, where he captured Philip II’s San Felipe, laden with treasure.

On the 19thJuly 1588, the Spanish Armada commanded by the Duke of Medina Sidonia was sighted off the lizard in Cornwall on route to Plymouth.

The English fleet, commanded by Admiral Drake, defeated the Spanish with fire ships and had bad weather on their side.

In the June of 1592, Sir Walter Raleigh was thrown into the Tower of London.  He being the father of Elizabeth Throckmorton’s child, she being the Queen’s lady-in-waiting.  On the 7thSeptember he was released, but barred from attending court and stripped of all his privileges and office.  In the June of 1597, he returned to the royal court after five years in disgrace.

In the September and October of 1592, Plague struck London and some 11,000 souls lost their lives. Fires were lit in the streets to cleanse the air.  In January of 1593, the Plague struck again and thousands died as it spread through the capital.

Sir Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth’s pirate, lost his life in late January of 1596 on a Caribbean expedition, when he died of dysentery, and was buried at sea.

In April of 1601, communication were started between Sir Robert Cecil and the Earl of Mar, representative of King James VI of Scotland.

He being the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and descendant from Henry VII’s daughter, Margaret made him the rightful heir to the English throne.

King Henry VIII had excluded Scottish lines of succession to the English throne.

Elizabeth had not married, she had no off-spring this Virgin Queen … it was just a matter of time for James, to wait for Elizabeth to die.

On the 24thMarch 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace and was buried at Westminster Abbey on the 28thApril, alongside her half-sister Queen Mary I.

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