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The Tudor Society

Elizabeth I – What did she die of?

In this week's Claire Chats video talk, Claire looks at Elizabeth I's death on 24th March 1603, the various theories regarding her cause of death and what the primary sources said about her symptoms.

You can click here to watch Claire's "on this day" video from 24th March, with a primary source account of Elizabeth I's death.

Notes and Sources

There are 3 comments Go To Comment

  1. L /

    I really enjoyed this talk, it’s strange that mental health hasn’t changed much through the years, I know it is understood better now but you still have people that give up and just want to die especially when someone is in ill health . I always think of Elizabeth being a historical fiqure but when you here the facts of her health etc. She comes across as someone very human like the rest of us.

  2. L /

    I’m a physician, and severe stress and depression can certainly lead to an early death. These states cause a rise in one’s cortisol level (the stress hormone-corticosteroids) which depresses immunity. This, is combination with the lack of eating, sleeping, or general care of one’s self can lead to infections, heart attacks, and stroke which will end one’s life. My own mother-in-law died this way, after her daughter died. She stopped eating or doing anything, and her doctor actually thought she was demented, which I disagreed with. She died on the first anniversary of her daughter’s death. It was a terrible time.

  3. R /

    Elizabeth I was a good age for the time being 69 and had been ill for a few years. She could have been depressed during her final days but a physical explanation may be the abscess on her tooth which had plagued her. If it was infected then that might not be treated and she refused food for days and became dehydrated. At the end of the day, Elizabeth was just worn down.

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Elizabeth I – What did she die of?