The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 8 May – Elizabeth I, her Act of Uniformity and her middle road

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Elizabeth I gave her approval to the Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy. The Act of Uniformity was incredibly important and it reflected the queen’s wish to follow a middle road where religion was concerned.

    But what was this act? What did it establish? What did Elizabeth want for England and what happened?

    I explain all in today’s video.

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  • 28 April – The funeral of Queen Elizabeth I

    On this day in history, 28th April 1603, the last Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth I, was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in a lavish funeral.

    In today’s video, I share an excerpt from my book “On This Day in Tudor History” about Elizabeth I’s burial and resting place.

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  • 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.

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  • 24 March – The end of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana!

    Today is the anniversary of the death of the iconic Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and a woman who is known as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana and Good Queen Bess, and whose reign has been called a Golden Age.

    In today's video, I talk about Elizabeth's last days and share contemporary accounts of her death on 24th March 1603. I also share some of Queen Elizabeth I's achievements.

    There are lots of resources on Elizabeth I on the Tudor Society and you can find others by using the search box.

    And if you only have 60 seconds to spare!

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1582 – Death of Sir James Dyer, judge, law reporter and Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Edward VI. His other offices included King's Sergeant-at-Law, Judge of the Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Great Staughton Church in Huntingdonshire, next to his wife.
    • 1619 – Death of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, nobleman and politician, at Warwick House in Holborn. He was buried at Felsted Church. Rich was married to Penelope Devereux, daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys, and sister of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. It was not a happy marriage, and the couple separated in 1590 after the birth of their second son, and divorced in 1605. Penelope began a relationship with Charles Blount, the future Lord Mountjoy, in 1590 and went on to have children by him.
  • 3 February – Elizabeth I signs a death warrant

    In today’s video, I read an excerpt from my book “On This Day in Tudor History” about an event which happened on 3rd February 1587 and which was connected to Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • 15 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th January 1559, Queen Elizabeth I was crowned queen by Owen Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle, at Westminster Abbey. Let me tell you all about it in today’s video.

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  • 14 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history video”, I talk about Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation procession from the Tower of London to Westminster, an event that took place on this day in 1559.

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  • Elizabeth I: True or false quiz

    Elizabeth I is the iconic Tudor monarch who has gone down in history as Good Queen Bess, the Virgin Queen and Gloriana, but how much do you know about her? Test yourself with this fun true or false quiz. Good luck!

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  • Elizabeth I Resources

    There are so many articles, videos, talks etc. on Elizabeth I on the Tudor Society site so I thought I’d make a list of some of them, you can find others by using the search box.

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  • Elizabeth I: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    In today’s Claire Chats, I’m commemorating the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s birth on 7th September 1533 with a video looking at her achievements and her weaknesses and the downsides of her reign. Please do share your views as comments below.

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  • Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots – True or False quiz

    Happy Sunday! The trailer for the new Mary, Queen of Scots movie has caused lots of controversy amongst history lovers so I was inspired to make this Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I quiz. So, grab your favourite beverage and snack, make yourself comfortable and let’s get those little grey cells working!

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  • The 1580 Rome and Rheims Plot

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, I talk about the Rome and Rheims Plot, a fictional plot in which 20 men, mostly Catholic priests, were implicated. Many of them were tortured, tried and executed.

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  • May 2018 – Tudor Life -Elizabeth I’s Last Years

    What a treat we have for members this month! Here’s the full version of our massive 96-page May edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we’re focusing on the last years of Elizabeth I’s life.

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  • Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603)

    On this day in history, 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace. She was sixty-nine years old and had ruled for over forty-four years.

    You can click here to read more about her death, but I thought it would be useful to list some Elizabeth I resources for you here:

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  • Anne Stanley: England’s Rightful Queen? by Conor Byrne

    It is well known that when Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace, she was succeeded on the throne of England by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland. Although Elizabeth had consented to the execution of James’s mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587, the mainly cordial relations between the Scottish king and the English queen were undoubtedly influenced by James’s hope that he would eventually be named successor to Elizabeth. The Tudor queen had been notoriously reluctant during her forty-four-year reign to name a successor, but as her life drew to a close Elizabeth realised that the maintenance of peace in her kingdom depended greatly on a stable succession. The peaceful accession of James in the spring of 1603, however, has obscured the dynastic and political relevance of a forgotten noblewoman – Anne Stanley, later Countess of Castlehaven. In the twenty-first century, Anne is generally known not for her dynastic importance but for her testimony against her husband, which led to his execution for sodomy in 1631.

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  • Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen – Wednesday 7th March

    Thank you to Dr Elizabeth Goldring for letting me know about the TV programme Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen which will be broadcast in the UK tomorrow, Wednesday 7th March, at 9pm on BBC4. Elizabeth was involved in the programme and told me that the show attempts to re-create the fireworks display that Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, organised for Queen Elizabeth I at Kenilworth Castle in 1575 – how wonderful!

    Here’s the trailer for the programme:

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  • Was Elizabeth I really an awful person?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Denis for asking the question “Was Elizabeth I as awful a person as Philippa Gregory paints her in her novel The Last Tudor?” I haven’t read the novel, so can’t share any views, but I know that Philippa Gregory used Leanda de Lisle’s book The Sisters Who Would be Queen for research so I asked Leanda. Leanda said:

    “Elizabeth I had good reason to be frightened of the Grey sisters as her possible heirs. She had already seen the eldest, Jane, supplant her in the line of succession and was very frightened that a married Katherine – with a son – could replace her on the throne. She had far less reason to fear Mary Grey, but her harsh treatment of Thomas Keyes sent a message to all – do not cross the queen on the matter of marriage to members of the royal family. If you read my Tudor: The Family Story, you will discover that the Grey sisters and Mary, Queen of Scots were not the only heirs she imprisoned, and it also explains the importance of these issues throughout the story of the dynasty.”

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Denis for asking the question “Was Elizabeth I as awful a person as Philippa Gregory paints her in her novel The Last Tudor?” I haven’t read the novel, so can’t share any views, but I know that Philippa Gregory used Leanda de Lisle’s book The Sisters Who Would be Queen for research so I asked Leanda. Leanda said:

    “Elizabeth I had good reason to be frightened of the Grey sisters as her possible heirs. She had already seen the eldest, Jane, supplant her in the line of succession and was very frightened that a married Katherine – with a son – could replace her on the throne. She had far less reason to fear Mary Grey…

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  • 14 January 1559 – The coronation procession of Queen Elizabeth I

    Elizabeth left the Tower for her eve of coronation procession at 3pm on the 14th January 1559 in a cloth of gold covered litter carried by two mules. As she passed the Tower of London menagerie, Elizabeth prayed to God, thanking him for her deliverance, like that of Daniel from the lion’s den.
    Elizabeth was a natural. She charmed the crowd, smiling warmly at people, joking and replying to their good wishes. It was usual for pageants to be part of a coronation procession, and Elizabeth had five:

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  • Elizabeth Tudor Quiz

    How much do you know about Elizabeth Tudor, also known as Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, Gloriana and the Virgin Queen?

    Well, you can test your knowledge with this fun quiz. Grab your favourite beverage, get comfy and get that brain working! Good luck!

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  • Thomas Seymour: A sexual predator?

    In today’s Claire Chats, Claire considers the primary source evidence for Thomas Seymour’s behaviour with Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, between 1547 and 1549.

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  • 28 September 1599 – Robert Devereux upsets Elizabeth I

    On this day in history, 28th September 1599, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, strode into Queen Elizabeth I’s bedchamber unannounced and saw the Queen without her makeup or wig, without her “mask of youth”.

    Essex had been confirmed as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 30th December 1598 and he left England on 27th March 1599, arriving in Dublin on 14 April. His campaign against the Irish was unsuccessful. Essex had assumed that he’d be able to defeat the Earl of Tyrone and his men quickly, but as things dragged on he became disillusioned with the situation. Exhaustion, disillusionment and a fear that his enemies at court were undermining him and influencing the queen against him, led to him giving up on the Irish situation, making a truce with the Irish rebel leader (against the qqueen’s wishes) and returning to England without the queen’s permission. This amounted to desertion and disobedience, something which Elizabeth I could not and would not tolerate

    Devereux rushed back to court at Nonsuch Palace to offer an explanation but ended up making things worse when he strode into the queen’s bedchamber unannounced while she was getting ready:

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  • 7 September 1533 – The birth of Elizabeth I

    At three o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday 7th September 1533, the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen Elizabeth I was born at Greenwich Palace.

    Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and she came to the throne following the death of her older half-sister, Queen Mary I, on 17th November 1558. She reigned for over forty-four years, until her death on 24th March 1603, and her reign became known as a “golden age”. Elizabeth I has gone down in history as Good Queen Bess, the Virgin Queen and Gloriana.

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  • Elizabeth I and Ivan IV

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire looks at the relationship between England and Russia in Elizabeth I’s reign, and specifically at some correspondence between Elizabeth I and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible).

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  • Claire’s bookcase – Elizabeth I

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire goes through the books she has on Elizabeth I, her reign and prominent people in her reign.

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  • Elizabeth I’s Tilbury Speech on film

    Today is the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s rousing speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort on 9th August 1588. While we don’t have Elizabeth I herself on film, it’s a speech that has featured in many movies and TV series. You can read the various versions we have of the original Tilbury speech in my article from 2015, but here are a few famous depictions of that day in 1588.

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  • 30 July 1553 – Elizabeth rides to greet Mary

    On this day in history, 30th July 1553, Mary I’s half-sister Elizabeth left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet Mary, who had been proclaimed queen on 19th July 1553 in place of Queen Jane.

    Elizabeth had been at her estate at Hatfield when she heard the news that Mary was queen and so had departed for London, entering the city on 29th July through Fleet Street. She had made her way to her new townhouse, or rather palace, Somerset House, a house just off The Strand, on the north bank of the River Thames.

    The contemporary source, “The chronicle of Queen Jane, and of two years of Queen Mary, and especially of the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat”, states:

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  • Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Kenilworth Castle

    This day in history, 9th July 1575, was the first day of a 19-day-long stay for Elizabeth I at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, home of her great friend, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

    This visit was significant as it was the longest stay at a courtier’s house in any of Elizabeth’s royal progresses, and Leicester went to extraordinary lengths to impress his friend and queen, probably as a last-ditch attempt to woo her and win her hand in marriage.

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  • Informal live chat on Elizabeth I – Saturday 22 April

    I know that many of you enjoy our informal live chat sessions where we all discuss a certain topic or person, so I thought I’d schedule one for Saturday 22nd April. The topic for this one is going to be Elizabeth I. I know that’s a very broad topic but I’m happy to schedule further more specific chats on aspects of her life and reign as follow-ups to this one. Let’s go broad this time.

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  • 24 March 1603 – The death of Gloriana

    On this day in history, the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace aged 69, bringing the rule of the Tudor dynasty to an end. Elizabeth I had reigned for 44 years and 127 days and her reign was known as “The Golden Age”. She was the longest reigning Tudor monarch.

    It is said that the execution of her former favourite, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, on the 25th February 1601 had a huge impact on Elizabeth. She had already lost her great love Robert Dudley in 1588, her good friend Blanche Parry in 1590, and her friend and adviser William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in 1598. It seemed that all those she loved and depended on were dying and leaving her. Her grief, combined with a belief that she was losing her grip on her court and country, led to her becoming severely depressed.

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  • 18 March 1554 – Elizabeth is taken to the Tower

    On this day in history, 18th March 1554, Palm Sunday, the twenty-year-old Lady Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I) was taken to the Tower of London, the place where her mother had been imprisoned and where her mother and one of her stepmothers had been executed.

    We can only imagine the sheer terror she felt when Mary I’s council turned up at her doorstep on the 16th March 1554 to formally charge her with being involved in Wyatt’s Rebellion, the revolt which had taken place in January and February 1554 and which had been led by Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger. Elizabeth was told that Mary wanted her sister taken to the Tower for questioning and that she would be escorted there the next day.

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