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“Gloriana”: Elizabeth I’s final years by Gareth Russell

An elderly Elizabeth perfectly recreated by actress Glenda Jackson in the 1971 series “Elizabeth R”

An elderly Elizabeth perfectly recreated by actress Glenda Jackson in the 1971 series “Elizabeth R”

As part of Gareth Russell's book tour for A History of the English Monarchy: From Boadicea to Elizabeth I, I'm delighted to welcome Gareth to the Tudor Society today, which is his home from home anyway! I hope you enjoy his article and please see the bottom of this post for details on how to enter the giveaway for a copy of his wonderful book. Over to Gareth...

Elizabeth I's decline began in her moment of apotheosis. The defeat of the Spanish Armada coincided with the death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. In the middle of the victory celebrations, the Queen received the news that her childhood friend-turned-adult-love had passed away and she was heartbroken. It has long been surmised that Elizabeth would have married Leicester had he not already been married and his first wife, Amy Dudley (née Robsart), had not then been found dead in circumstances that looked suspiciously like murder or suicide. However, during a bout of serious illness when she thought she was about to die, Elizabeth made a point of denying that she had ever taken Leicester into her bed, no matter how much she loved him. Despite mountains of speculation then and since, there is in fact no firm evidence at all to suggest that Elizabeth I was not a virgin as she claimed. The risk of pregnancy, the loss of her reputation, death in childbed or yielding her authority to a man made celibacy by far her safest choice. We will never know, of course, what happened every day and night of her life, but it is worth pointing out that it should not be taken as axiomatic, as it too often is, that Elizabeth Tudor lied about her life-long virginity.

After Dudley’s death, one by one the other constants of the Queen’s life fell away from her. She nursed Lord Burghley on his deathbed, her spymaster Francis Walsingham passed on, her childhood governess Blanche Perry, who had become the chief lady of Elizabeth’s privy chamber, died at the age of eighty-three in 1590, and a cousin on the Boleyn side, Katherine, Countess of Nottingham, died, producing a grief so severe it hastened Elizabeth’s own end in 1603.

In her last decades, the Queen’s contemporaries were replaced at court by new bloods, chief of whom was Lord Burghley’s son, the Machiavellian Robert Cecil, and Leicester’s impulsive stepson Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Despite their fawning praise of her, these two rivals were privately contemptuous to varying degrees of Queen Elizabeth’s settled conservatism, her aversion to war and her refusal to name an heir. Remembering how people had flocked to her while her sister Mary I lay dying in 1558, Elizabeth refused to name an heir directly, ‘saying,’ as her godson recalled, ‘she would not have her winding sheet set up before her face’. As she declined, the Queen caked herself in white make-up and wore gowns designed to dazzle and intimidate, rather than to flatter. In a deeply misogynist world it was better for her to appear frighteningly bizarre and otherworldly than betray even the faintest sign of aging weakness.

A sense of hopeless frustration, political ennui, was nurtured by atrocious weather and correspondingly poor harvests. Corruption was endemic in the late Elizabethan state and feeling against it ran high. Rebellion, led by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, convulsed Ireland. Elizabeth had continued her grandfather and sister’s policies of trying to stabilise and expand the monarchy’s presence on the island. O’Neill’s quests for political power of his own were helped by tensions between Crown loyalists, who were given areas of land to settle outside the Dublin Pale, and the Irish-speaking majority. Religion added a new spice to the animosity, with most of Ireland remaining Catholic and the majority of settlers practicing Protestantism. Violence spread. In a particularly horrific sequence of events, O’Neill’s supporters attacked a Crown-sponsored settlement in Munster, Ireland’s most southerly province, and murdered all the men living there, before slaughtering the children in front of their mothers, who were then gang-raped, facially mutilated and driven naked into the nearby hills to die of exposure. When pressed to offer O’Neill a pardon in the hope of buying peace, Elizabeth erupted at the thought of clemency for ‘the author of so much misery to our loving subjects’.

After Lord Essex, who was sent to Ireland to crush O’Neill, ended up offering him peace terms in despair at what he felt was an unwinnable war, Elizabeth was apoplectic. She cut the proud Earl off from her largesse and he rebelled against her, possibly with the intention of speeding up the day when she was succeeded by her young Scottish kinsman, King James VI. The city of London did not heed Essex’s cry, however, and the Queen ordered his execution with great reluctance. She had cared for him once as the stepson of her cherished Leicester and she admired his spirited bravado. But he was a traitor who had put himself above the national good. For Elizabeth, that was a crime that must be punished.

Two years after Essex’s execution, Elizabeth passed away. She had kept going, right to the end, despite the fact that her body seemed worn out and her spirits exhausted. During the opening of Parliament, the fragile old lady had nearly lost her balance thanks to the weight of her robes. When one of her advisers told her that she must go to bed, she disdainfully told him, ‘Little man, the word ‘must’ is not used to princes’. Which, to me, is one of the most magnificent put-downs in history. According to her godson, Sir John Harington, Elizabeth I slipped away quietly, shortly after ‘hugging’ the hand of the Archbishop of Canterbury as he spoke gently to her of the reality of Heaven. Harington reported that ‘she took great delight in hearing prayers and would often at the name of Jesus lift up her hands and eyes to heaven.’

An era had ended and another contemporary wrote that with Elizabeth’s death many of her subjects felt as if ‘the most resplendent sun [had] setteth at last in a western cloud’. All the frantic behind-the-scenes intrigues paid dividend in the peaceful accession of her third cousin, King James VI of Scots, who became James I of England and Ireland. Elizabeth I’s faith in monarchical primogeniture was justified and the House of Stewart, or Stuart as the English, Welsh and Irish called them, ruled until 1714.

Giveaway

To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of Gareth's A History of the English Monarchy: From Boadicea to Elizabeth I, simply leave a comment below saying what you admire most about Elizabeth I. The closing date for comments is midnight 4th September and the winner will be contacted via email.

You can catch up with Gareth's other stops and enter the other giveaways using the following book tour schedule:

monarchy_book_tour

Gareth Russell

Gareth Russell

Gareth Russell is an historian and writer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied Modern History at the University of Oxford and completed a postgraduate in medieval history at Queen's University, Belfast. He is the author of two novels and three non-fiction books, including his most recent book, A History of the English Monarchy: From Boadicea to Elizabeth I. He is currently writing a biography of Queen Catherine Howard. He is also the editor of Tudor Life magazine, the monthly magazine of the Tudor Society.

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There are 111 comments Go To Comment

  1. Elizabeth Kirschner /

    I am inspired by Elizabeth’s ability to overcome tragedy, deplorable treatment and blatant hostility to become one of England’s most beloved Monarchs.

    What a modern woman she was and so ahead of her time.

  2. Ashley /

    What I love most about Queen Elizabeth I was her will to be a strong monarchy. She seemed very sturdy in her thoughts and ways, and seemed like a good ruler.

  3. Jennifer Ott /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth I is that in spite of her unstable childhood, she grew up to become one of the best, most memorable Queen’s in history.

  4. Tami Trow /

    I thing i admire Queen elizbeth for the most is her The Religious Settlement of 1559

  5. Amanda Martin /

    There are so many qualities to admire about Queen Elizabeth I, it is hard to pick a favorite. But I shall say I most admire her passion. Her passionate loyalty to those she loved. Her passionate perseverance in the face of lifelong adversities. Her passionate dedication to her subjects and her land. Elizabeth never did anything at half measure.

  6. Nivin El Asdoudi /

    What I admire most about Queen Elizabeth I is her ability to both survive in and dominate a male-centred world without being an essentialist.It is also the fact that her name was carved in history as a great ruler and not as a bloody one which could have been easily the case taking her own family history into account.

  7. Najma Khan-Bourne /

    Elizabeth 1 overcame tremendous trauma and adversity on her own wits and stamina to become one of the most formidable and astute monarchs. She was amazing.

  8. Maya Amis /

    I admire Elizabeth’s confidence and determination.

  9. Rob Mercier /

    I admire Elizabeth most for her amazing ability to overcome all the odds that were against her throughout her life…. To become a Protestant Queen in a land torn between Rome and The English church, to be a such a commanding right minded Queen in an era when women were not perceived as being able to have their own voice, the victory over the Spanish and having an empathy with her people like no other monarch of the period of history. Elizabeth will always stand out to me as the Royal that defied the odds in exquisite fashion.

  10. Kimberley O'Connell /

    I admire the fact that Elizabeth sacrificed herself and her happiness for England & her realm. 69 years is s long time.

  11. Tabitha /

    Oh wow, that was a great read. Elizabeth I has always fascinated me. I’ve always loved reading anything Tudor related from the Wars of the Roses through all of Henry VIII, his wives and mistresses, and even his children. My admiration for Elizabeth has always been there from the first moment I read about her as she was a woman of determination and strength, and up until the end she didn’t buckle. Yet another daughter of Henry VIII that ruled, though this one far better in comparison to Mary I’d say, when during his life he stressed so over the worry of sons.

  12. Amanda savage /

    Elizabeth has always been to me the ultimate heroine. In a time when men ruled the world , she ruled our small island with and iron fist , a clever tongue . A beautiful image that even now everyone can recognise, as one of the most powerful and enduring monarchs of all time . Long live the queen .

  13. Roxanna Liberace /

    I think the most interesting thing about Elizabeth I, was her determination for her life path. She unified a people despite the machinations of her male Court. She must have been a very lonely woman.

  14. Esther Douglas /

    Her strength and never letting a man dictate which was no mean feat back then x

  15. Rebecca Peters-Mone /

    There is so much that I admire about Elizabeth, that it is really hard to pick! How tenacious she was, how learned ( she’s been called the most learned person of her age, inspire of being a woman when most weren’t even taught to read) But my favorite would have to be how she out maneuvered all her councils on the subject of getting married (among other things) through multiple parliaments. Hind site give us perfect view of push/ pull she did with this question and how she balanced the state of her realm by keeping everyone guessing all the time. This bought her country time to build itself strong enough to fight off invasion, an almost impossible deed for an island nation!

  16. Stu tattersall /

    That she took learning out of her childhood and every later situation and actively employed it to better governing the realm. Her experiences growing up in a world of religious persecution is an exame of this. Her no wishing ‘to make windows into men’s souls’ speaks volumes

  17. Ursula byrne /

    I love Elizabeth, as a woman in a mans world. Who knew the rules & broke them, played them & manipulated them, to live the life she wanted too. One in the eye for daddy!! Lol!

  18. Teri /

    To choose one quality seems an impossible task. I would have to say that what I admire most about Elizabeth was her mind. She was cunning, clever and witty, so like her late mother. Combined with the qualities she inherited from her father she was a truly formidable Lady and not someone a wise man crossed. She survived when the odds were stacked against her, she rose up and above and became a queen history will not forget.

  19. Mary martins /

    It’s really fascinating to read about Elizabeth I. It is like was she or wasn’t she.? Much speculation but more interesting are the facts around her time. Love it all.!!!!

  20. Lewis Brennen /

    I admire the personal legacy she created: the fact that from the early seventeenth-century to the modern day people have been harking back for the golden age of Gloriana. Also, the way in which she was determined to remain Queen in truth until the very end was, in a sense, the very embodiment of being a Tudor and that determination has to be admired.

  21. Louise /

    I admire so many things about her but I think what I admire most is her razor-sharp wit.

  22. Penelope vargas /

    I admire her strength. In a male dominated society she had the strength and tenacity to overcome all the advercity set before her.

  23. Kerry Wilson /

    What i admire most about her was her dignity and her ability to think like a man, in her day that would have been difficult but a masterstroke.

  24. Katherine Browning /

    I admire Elizabeth for her ability to survive when death was always so near. I also like that she showed the world that a woman can be a great leader without a husband.

  25. Jeni /

    That she gave herself as spouse to her people and country is beautiful. I often wonder, though, if part of remaining unmarried was a psychological issue stemming from her Father’s marriages,and how trivial they were to him. Though she spoke well of her father publicly, one wonders what she,really thought. He executed her Mother, and tossed her aside as a basatard. There has to be a lingering effect from that.

  26. Alison heath /

    I love reading anything to do with history. I’m currently reading the marriage game by alison wire. I think Elizabeth 1 was a difficult woman to understand in those times. She played games with people feelings . If she hadn’t been queen they probably would of burnt her as a heretic as men in those times where pathetic. I don’t believe she was a Virginia. The same as Catherine of aragon wasn’t when she married Henry v111 wasn’t . If I had been around in those time I probably would have gone to the flames. The cruelty of the times doesn’t bear thinking of . She didn’t just play with dudes feeling there was also Francis drake. Who she just lock up in the tower for simply marrying because she was jealous xx

  27. Taylor M /

    I admire her tenacity. I would love to see how and what she would do if she was a leader in today’s world.

  28. Joan Sours /

    How brave! Her strength and courage. To go from being a princess, to a bastard, what happened to her mother, at her father’s hands. Being second born, but 3rd in line to the throne, then 4th because of her younger brother. Imprisoned in the tower because of her sister. How could you trust anyone?! I can’t imagine everything she had to consider before making a decision, and I can’t help but think that her mother was constantly on her mind. The ring she wore, and her love of prayer. I believe she was a very smart, yet lonely woman.

  29. Crystal Hanna-Poindexter /

    What I love the most about Elizabeth I is the fact despite all the bad things that happened in her life she remained strong and true to her self. She was in willing to be tamed by a husband, but she wanted to be loved. She basically gave her life heart and soul to England. She did this to make sure her country would prosper. I truly admire her.

  30. Crystal Hanna-Poindexter /

    What I love the most about Elizabeth I is the fact despite all the bad things that happened in her life she remained strong and true to her self. She was in willing to be tamed by a husband, but she wanted to be loved. She basically gave her life heart and soul to England. She did this to make sure her country would prosper. I truly admire her.

  31. Tere Verástegui /

    A Queen born ahead of her time.

  32. Adena /

    What I admire most about Queen Elizabeth is how witty and intelligent she was and how she used that intelligence to conduct herself appropriately in most situations. When she was at odds with Mary I during her sister’s tumultuous reign, she made many decisions that would ultimately save her life (I.e. Supposedly telling her sister she would be willing to convert). She also refused to marry in order to maintain control over her reign, and her refusal to name an heir kept many loyal to her until the end. I also believe her acknowledgement of her gender as the weaker sex, while still showing her strength as a ruler was incredibly admirable. The can be seen in in her “Heart and Stomach” speech that she gave prior to the Spanish Armada. “I may have the body of a feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king!”

  33. Jayne smith /

    I admire Elizabeth’s fortitude and love of her country

  34. Marbeth Goscinski /

    It is Elizabeth’s strength that I admire. It is the intelligence behind that strength I admire most. Being a single mother I often joked with my friends “what would Eluzabeth do?” – haha

  35. Laura Kline /

    I admire Queen Elizabeth I passion for England and her subjects. She was a strong, loving Monarch.

  36. Richard Youghn /

    Elizabeth is universally admired not for any particular act but for her entire life as subject & queen. A survivor who rose to power, a figure of glamor & mystique, a woman ruling against odds in a mans world she has so many sides it is difficult to see the ‘real’ Elizabeth or to know her. Her appeal lays in attempting to peel away those layers, to glimpse the individual who laid at the core of so many different wrappings. I suppose she might be truly flattered to know, nearly 500 years later, she remains a figure of such deep interest, not just to the English but to people whose countries did not exist in her lifetime.

  37. Samantha /

    I most admire her legacy and longevity. It’s over 400 years later, and we still discuss the most minute details of her life. As one of the Pope’s stated during her reign, she was the mistress of half an island and was feared by the world. 🙂

  38. Robin /

    Elizabeth I was so sure of her destiny; she never faltered in her belief that she would ascend the throne even through all the adversity in her life. I admire that.

  39. Martha Cool /

    It’s always seemed rather “mystical” to me that Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England when she was pregnant with Elizabeth. That child she was carrying would indeed become one of England’s greatest rulers despite the fact that her birth was such an enormous disappointment; that she wasn’t truly heir to the throne. Irony or something else?

  40. Deborah Schumacher /

    When I think of English monarchy, I begin with Queen Elizabeth. Many great kings came before her but she defined it. We read about the disappointment of her birth, being abandoned after her mother’s execution, how she excelled at her education to be exceptable to her father and prove her worth as a royal. Her sister blamed her for most problems during her rule. Her limbo in the tower, I think, is when she learned the reality of what being royal means. She stayed true to herself and fiercely protected her country. She was the underdog and worked so hard to rise above being labeled a bastard! She was strong,determined and ride on the winds of change. A modern ruler. What a lady, a Queen, an inspiration!

  41. Libby /

    Elizabeth I was a woman who had to live through brutal times, to survive and reign as a magnificent queen in those dificult times, is nothing short of a miracle. She played the game so much better than the men around her, and she was much loved then as now. What a woman. she certainly was a hard act to follow.

  42. Rolyn Mukudu /

    im absolutely awed by how she managed to create a sense of mystery around her chastity; a mystery that prevails to this day.

  43. Erin /

    Eluzabeth always seemed to be a fierce figure of history I always admired because of her fierceness, bravery, wit and that she fought against conventional society to rules without a husband. She has always been one of my top five historical figures, as well as her mother.

  44. Ellen D. /

    My favorite thing about Elizabeth is her ability to keep her head up in the face of scandal. The whole situation between her and Thomas Seymour could have ruined her from the start but her wit got her thru. Same with Lots Dudley. I’m not entirely convinced them were lovers but after what happened with Dudley’s wife I don’t think Elizabeth would have taken the chance. Of being caught in his bed. Dispute both situations she still managed to be one of the most respected monarchs of England. Now there’s a Queen who knows how to keep her thrown

  45. Ceri C /

    There is so very much I admire about Elizabeth and it;s difficult to fix on one thing but if pushed, I would have to say it was the intelligent self-possession that enabled her to survive all the snares which were set for her before her accession and to ride out all the storms and maintain her dominance afterwards, subjugating her personal feelings to the demands of sovereignty. That takes a great personality.

  46. Carol J Dixon /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth is Elizabeth herself. How the child of the man who killed her mother managed through all her adversity became one of the Greatest Monarchs that ever lived. “A weak and feeble woman with the heart and soul of a King, a king of England.”

  47. Margaret Ann Elder /

    Of Elizabeth’s many virtues, the one that stands out to me was her ability to keep religion and politics apart, a trait that is difficult for politicians today but would have been especially difficult during her Era.

  48. Mary Patarcity /

    That she kept her mother close to her heart, while navigating the still unstable political waters. Strong woman, who knew the game. Triumphing in the end. Putting aside her wants as a woman, for the her right as a monarch to rule alone.

  49. Sandra McEwen /

    I love how she used symbolism in her portraits to convey messages of her power and authority.

  50. Barbara Keaton /

    While I am an aficionada of the Plantagenets, I make an exception for Elizabeth I. She was so unique for her time. But there is no better description of Elizabeth I than her own: “I know I have the weak and feeble body of a woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England, too.”
    Impossible to improve on that. She was so superior as a ruler than her father and grandfather:Henry VII, and VIII.

  51. Stephanie Aikin /

    There a few reasons I have a fondness for Queen Elizabeth I. She was such a strong-willed woman in a man’s world. She reminds me of her mother. She was such an intelligent person.

  52. Judith Johns /

    I feel Elizabeth was a modern woman in an unmodern time. She never married or had kids, and focused solely on running her country. The only man she ever loved was not ever expressed openly. She proved to a male dominant world that women could role with success.

  53. AnneMarie Barrios /

    I admire Elizabeth’s ability to thrive in a misogynistic culture, and to stand her ground with great men. I admire her wise choice of William Cecil as her primary counselor, even though she could be defiant to him as well. I admire that she carried to fruition her mother’s ambition, though perhaps she only acknowledged that of her father. Only a woman of Elizabeth’s intelligence and sound judgment could remain so incredibly popular and relatable to people through so many years.

  54. Kathleen Edillor /

    I agree that Elizabeth must have remained a virgin, the risks of not were
    far to great. And she had many examples through out her life of people’s consequences from their bad choices.

  55. Elizabete Saragoça /

    I what I most admire about her is her strong will and ability to thrive in a time where things weren’t easy for awoman, especially a monarch.

  56. Kay morris /

    Absolutely the most interesting period, Henry VIII and Elizabeth. Love the articles!

  57. Roy Queen /

    I admired her inner strength. She had to listen for years, as to why she should married, but she never did. I am sure she wanted to marry, but also felt that she might have to relinquish some power to a man. Something, she would never do, Her mother, Ann Bolyn was brought down because of men, with many lies, so she knew court ways of doing things, so I am sure that she decided that no man was going to rule over her, in any way.

    I do find it amazing that she rarely talked of her mother, and had an amazing admiration for her father, and he was the one that allowed her mother to be executed.

  58. Belinda Fowler /

    Elizabeth’s religious tolerance has always stood out to me. She followed 2 intolerant monarchs who had ruled England basically as religious despots. I might add it’s always delighted me that the daughter of Anne Boleyn is considered to be one of the greatest monarchs in English history.

  59. Elaine /

    WOW!!! What a fabulous read! Elizabeth I was a monarch well beyond her period in time. She overcame many adversities as a child and young adult that would have made many resentful and thus vengeful. She put her people at the forefront of her ruling by being a huge proponent of advances in the arts, sciences, and other academics that pushed us towards today’s successes. Her tenacity and willingness to overcome humanistic tendencies of seeking revenge is an example for us all. This is what I admire most.

  60. Debra Scott /

    What I most admire about Elizabeth I was her intelligence and her strong will. What an amazing woman! The more I read and learn about her, the more impressive she becomes!

  61. Monica Peterson /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth I is that she was a survivor. She kept her eye on the price and became a great queen. Too bad her father didn’t realize that Ann Boleyn gave him the heir that he had always wanted, after all.

  62. Yvette Barber /

    She was so goal oriented and determined. Her determination what I admire most.

  63. Terrie Carden /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth I is that without her I truly believe women of today would not have reached the strides that we have by this point. I think we would be farther behind. When you think of strong women Monarchs Elizabeth I is first and foremost to every ones mind.

  64. Mary McMahan /

    Elizabeth was truly the shining sun of English monarchy. She was willing to sacrifice the love of a husband, the opportunity to have children of her own, for her love of England. Has any other monarch made such a sacrifice? She gave herself wholly to England, which was her true spouse.

  65. aurora /

    Oh my….to chose just one………hummmmmmmmmmmmmm
    I admire her humor, playing to the crowd of men that would change her and yet standing her ground.

  66. Sean Brennan /

    A woman in a man’s World and played them all off against each other. She ruled with her head and not her heart and put her Country before herself that’s why she survived in this time. She was also kind and loyal and her strength was not to rush in usually letting things take their course.

  67. ROGER TURNER /

    What i admire about Elizabeth 1, is her incomparable power and wit, that no other monarch has ever had.Her speeches must’ve had her people cry, and praise her well being.When i read her speeches etc i live in that moment when she sais them…..
    Her strength is beyond words..her wit and the consequences that she endured in her half sister’s,Mary 1 reign fascinates me .She ruled England at a time of need after the break with Rome. Her immense power to persuade that the Spanish Armada HAD TO BE WON was astounding.I believe that this battle was and is THE MOST IMPORTANT WIN ,AFTER THE NORMAN CONQUEST[1066]…if we had lost..[god forbid] we wouldn’t be sitting here writing.The whole of history would have been changed i absolutely believe. One thing that i would like to add is that the present Elizabeth should reinstate March 24th as Elizabeth’s Day..to serve as a memorial day.What do you think.I would like to hear from other males on her, as most are from women.Come on guys…..

  68. Kara Brooks /

    I admire her constant and absolute dedication to the throne and the country. She took command and did what needed to be done despite the threats and intrigue all around her. No man could have done better!

  69. Melinda Paine /

    Elizabeth I is the story which should be told to young girls growing up instead of Cinderella. She proved that you can do what you set your mind to and a man isn’t required to “rescue” you–stand on your own two feet and do it yourself. I sure wish this had been the story I had heard but I learned it myself.

  70. Jenny V. /

    I most admire that Elizabeth was able to come from such a wholly dysfunctional and unstable childhood and become such a stabilizing force for her kingdom.

  71. Kerry Goss /

    She is one of my historical heroes…a canny sassy lady, intelligent, gifted and gutsy…a true survivor in a man’s world, as it was then, a brilliant Queen and leader…

  72. Jeanne Kearney /

    I admire her constant devotion to God and her country.

  73. Maria Brown /

    I admire many things about Elizabeth I, but first & foremost (in my opinion) is her keen intelligence. As a Queen Regnant in her own right, she knew that if she married a foreign prince or English nobleman, much of her power would be relegated to her husband. She decided to remain single & saw herself as married to England.
    Women at that time were not seen as fit to rule, however Elizabeth proved this to be untrue. She was able to appoint advisors wisely & handled foreign powers in a manner that minimized their threat to the stability of England.
    When she came to the throne, England was a tiny, bankrupt island nation in the shadows of the Catholic super powers of France & Spain. After 44 years of her rule, England was well on the way to becoming the powerful nation we read about in history books today. Her name Gloriana was well earned. Her remarkable ability to think ahead & weigh the consequences of her actions to reach a logical conclusion was uncanny.

  74. Mrs. N . Smith /

    Her vulnerability. She knew who she was and what she was up against. She wasn’t afraid to ask for help or advice when she needed it. She could be just as regretful as she could be adamant. She preserved her femininity and gave herself to England, but was not without human desires. And her wit…how I wish I had that!

  75. Gail Thomas /

    There are so many things to admire about Elizabeth I it is hard to choose just one. But because I love her mother Anne Boleyn so much, I admire most Elizabeth’s loyalty to her mother’s relatives and (I believe) her secret loyalty to her mother, as evidenced by the locket ring she wore during her lifetime.

  76. V. Beadle /

    Her mind; her heart; her strength – she was a survivor when there was no logical reason she should expect to be.

  77. Maureen Lalonde /

    I admire Elizabeth I for her strength and conviction in ruling England without the aid of a husband. She stood firm to her believes and displayed a strong mind and not easily persuaded by those around her.

  78. Laura Rosenbaum /

    I admire her dedication and determination. A lesser woman (or man!) would have crumble under the pressure and self-sacrificial nature. I cannot imagine the mental control and fortitude that must have been required.

  79. Jaime Ezell /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth was her strategic decision to stay unmarried.

  80. Ginny Webster /

    I admire her strength and courage to overcome her father’s abuse and the loss of her mother…then as she became queen her determination and her strengths!

  81. Dayna Thomas /

    She did a man’s job better than most men, she was always herself, for good or bad. She did not apologize for who she was, but used it to best advantage to further the glory of her country and her people.

  82. Candace Hinchey /

    Truly a woman with the heart and stomach of a King as she is quoted as saying. He country came first and she loved her people whose welfare was paramount. She hid her fears and insecurities well and led her nation to become a power to be reckoned with. Truly a great woman.

  83. TAMMY CUEVAS /

    I admire Elizabeth I because she was such a strong, determined woman. After the reigns of her father and sister, her more relaxed policy of religious tolerance must have been a relief for her subjects.

  84. Amber LaCount /

    She was fiesty and unshakeably brave.

  85. Melissa Vasquez /

    I have always admired Queen Elizabeth’s ability to survive and rule in that dangerous royal court society where each step is dangerous.

  86. Shaada /

    I love history there are many reasons why I’d love this book and many things to admire about Elizabeth 1 mostly she was a strong willed woman who refused to reign with out a man when it wasn’t normal. She was a queen above her time

  87. Jan McMinn /

    i admire that Elizabeth knew who she was (child of a king and queen with royal responsibilities) and what her purpose was for England.

  88. Dolores Dougherty /

    I most admire Elizabeth for her survival skills. She survived her father, brother, and sister Mary to become one of the most admired women in history.

  89. Jessica /

    I admired Elizabeth I as a strong, independent woman who valued education. She was leaps and bounds ahead of her contemporaries and she is an amazing example of female power.

  90. Camille Green /

    The thing I most admire about Elizabeth I is her intelligence, and ability to keep her wits about her and stay on the throne for as long as she did.

  91. Laurie Duerr /

    When I think of Elizabeth I, her magnificent strength and tenacity stands out most to me, from her childhood and adolescent days when she faced so much scrutiny because of her mother, and of course throughout her impressive reign, not giving in to the usual pressures of courtlife, all the way until the end, she is truly one of history’s most admirable people.

  92. Constance Crowley /

    I most admire Elizabeth’s perseverance against adversity. This enabled her to rule as she did, long and well.

  93. adelaide Gower /

    I admire her ability to understand right from wrong and to act upon it accordingly. In this day and age she would have been admired for being a very strong woman.

  94. adelaide Gower /

    I admire her ability to understand right from wrong and to act upon it accordingly. In this day and age she would have been admired for being a very strong woman.

  95. Karen /

    I admire Elizabeth1 as a successful woman in a mans world. She survived through sheer grit and determination. She was amazingly intelligent, spoke numerous languages. Elizabeth steered us away from the interminable wars of the period. She was wily when it came to marriage and who could blame her, after watching her father get rid of his wives in various unpleasant ways. An amazing woman and my heroine!

  96. Stephanie Lewis-Cooper /

    I admire Elizabeth for her strength and that she seems to have done exactly what she wanted on her own terms. She obviously learned hard lessons as a child and those lessons set in as traits. I like her magnificence, her cunning, her obstinate nature and how she was determined that no one would rule her. I admire her for her loyalty to her friends and how fierce she was and I admire that she was able to stay strong on what would have ultimately been a lonely, hard path. Ultimately she was, indeed, wedded to her kingdom and I wonder if her younger self had been able to talk to her older self whether she ever came to regret the decision never to marry. And ultimately I love the mystery of Elizabeth, that however much you read you can only grasp tantalising glimpses of her. She is forever elusive and that is the power of her story.

  97. Denise Duvall /

    The more, that I learn about Elizabeth I, the more I dislike her. She executed many of her followers and subjects. What I have to admire about her, is that she was a strong female monarch and had a long reign, at a time when this was very uncommon.

  98. Karen Wykes /

    The thing which I admire about Elizabeth I is that during a time when women were not considered to be good or strong rulers Ellizabeth ruled England for a very long time despite plots from all around to remove her from the throne. She never let herself be dominated by a man by marrying stating she was married to England but was clever enough to keep wise men as advisors. This could also been her downfall because she left no direct Tudor heir. But her rule had its own name Eliizabethan such was her greatness.

  99. Bonnie bunting /

    I admire her steadfastness, determination, but also her ability to be kind and. loving.

  100. Denise Hansen /

    I always thought that Elizabeth I embodied the spirit of her mother Anne Boleyn – a fierce intelligence, spirit and charm. Her reign fascinates me.

  101. Leslie /

    I admire Elizabeth I for her strength, determination, and supreme intelligence during such a misogynist time in history – “though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind”. Despite the constant advice she received to marry and have an heir, she was determined to rule without a master. “I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married”. Fascinating woman.

  102. Jessica Edwards /

    Elizabeth I is a model of strength and determination for every woman. I admire her for her willingness to stand up for herself and her beliefs in the political world of men who did not value women for their abilities to think and discern and make decisions. She was such an amazing and interesting woman and that is why people are still so fascinated by her hundreds of years later.

  103. Pamela Henning /

    ‘Video et Taceo’. I See and Am Silent. Elizabeth’s mottois sadly NOT the motto of most people in power these days.

  104. Anne Barnhill /

    To select only one admirable trait when Elizabeth had so many is a difficult task. But, if I had to choose just one, it would be her intelligent handling of all the men at court–making sure no one faction gained power over the others. I think she must have been a genius in reading gestures, facial expressions and in delving into each man’s psyche. A woman in man’s world, like her mother before her, but she managed to survive and even thrive. Wow!

  105. Paromita Saha /

    In my eyes, Elizabeth was a PR genius! For example, as the controversial unmarried queen, this put Elizabeth and the English throne in a precarious position. Her response – she strategically transformed herself into the Virgin Queen, who was married to England and its subjects. She cultivated a powerful image through the clever use of make up and fashion as well as inspiring a movement ( akin to the cult of the Virgin Mary) that produced devotional poetry, music etc.. More importantly, she secured her position as the sole divine ruler of England, thus erasing any prospect of a marriage to the foreign prince, or anyone that could jeapordize the security of the English throne.

  106. Robin May /

    Queen Elizabeth I — a force to be reckoned with — I believe she must have had some very smart and learned tutors growing up combined with that genetic strong will from both of her parents that helped create such a strong ruler. Anne Bolyn had the foresight to get her daughter the best education out there. It would be interesting to know who her teachers were and their influences that helped shape her mind?

  107. Angela /

    I think Elizabeth I was a remarkable woman who overcame many obstacles to overthrow the nickname of ‘Bastard’ to become one of England’s greatest rulers. She put her country and people first foregoing her own happiness in the process. Any daughter of Anne Boleyn’s is a truly wondrous woman!!

  108. Yrene Ulloa /

    I most admired in Elizabeth I her intelligence. She was such a gifted scholar, all the languages she spoke and her skill in political matters as well as her musical abilities, I can’t say enough about her.

  109. Tracy H /

    What I admire most about Elizabeth I is that she was her own woman and no one dictated to her. She was most impressive as a monarch. I just wish she could have found more happiness in her life.

  110. Pingback: Happy Birthday Elizabeth I – The Tudor Society /

  111. Claire Ridgway / Post Author

    Congratulations to Robin May for winning the giveaway.

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“Gloriana”: Elizabeth I’s final years by Gareth Russell

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