Welcome, Weekend Warriors, to another installment of British history, our little way of prepping you for a relocation to London. Last week we saw the bloody reign of England’s own Bloody Mary, Queen Mary I, and today we’ll meet the successor that gave birth to a significant era in UK history: Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth is, of course, the British monarch who gives her name to what one doesn’t need to move to London to already know is the “Elizabethan Era.” This is the time of Shakespeare and Marlowe, folks, of a flourishing of the dramatic and poetic arts that high school students can thank for their Romeo and Juliet homework to this day. 😉 The last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Queen Elizabeth I is known for her devotion to England, a strong sense of duty that drives her to resist marriage. Consequently, she is also known as the Virgin Queen.
So that’s what is broadly known about her; let’s go a little more in-depth (but only a little :)): Elizabeth I is the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, two other notable names of history. She is therefore the half-sister of Mary I, but she isn’t feeling the sisterly love when Mary I imprisons her for her Protestant faith. As we saw last week, Mary I championed the attempt to restore Catholicism as the national religion, and Elizabeth I is perceived as a threat to this. After her brief, cozy stay in the fine accommodations of the Tower of London [insert sarcasm here], Elizabeth succeeds to the throne on Mary’s death in 1558, overcoming earlier declarations of her illegitimacy as Henry VIII’s bastard child. One of her priorities during this reign becomes returning England to a Protestant state, so in your face, Mary! (quoth the Catholic blog author…)
Naw, contrary to what it may seem, Elizabeth I really isn’t as fanatical about Protestantism as her brother Edward VI had been. External factors provoke her to take a stronger stance: 1) Her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, and 2) Spain and France’s persecution of Protestants in continental Europe. Join me next Sunday for an overview of the drama that ensues on both those fronts!