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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
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- World History -
National Monarchies: England
The Life of Queen Elizabeth I

Biography: The Life of Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I - Rainbow Portrait
Elizabeth I. This painting is known as the "Rainbow Portrait" because it has
an inscription meaning "No rainbow without a sun." Fame is represented by the
eyes and ears on the fold of the cloak, and wisdom by the serpent on her sleeves.
Click the portrait for an enlargement.

Elizabeth I (1558 - 1603)
Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. (Edward VI had followed Henry VIII, was forced to name Lady Jane Grey his successor. Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, became Queen and beheaded Grey in 1554. Mary died in 1558.)

Elizabeth I became queen at the age of 25. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, an unwanted child. Anne Boleyn was executed when Elizabeth was three years old. The astrologers had promised Henry VIII that his wife, Anne Boleyn, would have a boy. Naturally, it was a shock when Elizabeth was born.

Elizabeth was sent away to a castle where she lived very well. Anne Boleyn sent Elizabeth's sister, Mary, as a lady-in-waiting. Mary was very angry. Henry VIII died when Elizabeth was 14. Her 10-year-old brother was to be king. She was an orphan, she had been declared a bastard, and her future was very much in doubt.

Anne BoleynCatherine Parr
Left: Anne Boleyn. Right: Catherine Parr.

Her brother's uncle wanted to marry her so he could gain power. She said no, so he married Catherine Parr (Henry VIII's last wife). He would come into her room every morning and chase her around. He tried (and may have succeeded) to have an affair with her. He was 40; she was 15. After Parr died, she was linked to him and she was disgraced; her brother would not receive her at court for 18 months.

Mary IMary I
Queen Mary I

After her brother died, Mary I became queen. Mary executed those who tried to kill her; these people wanted Lady Jane Grey to be queen. Mary began to turn England toward Catholicism. She began burning Protestant martyrs. A group of Protestants met with Elizabeth and a plot was hatched. They screwed up and Elizabeth was sent to the Tower of London for two months. Mary had to free Elizabeth because of a lack of evidence. Mary sent Elizabeth to Woodstock for 16 months.

Tower of London
Tower of London

Mary thought she was pregnant and was afraid of dying in childbirth. Her husband, Philip II of Spain, persuaded Mary to reconcile with Elizabeth. He was afraid that if Mary died, then Mary, Queen of Scots, would become queen. Since Mary, Queen of Scots, was an ally of France, this would be bad for Philip. (He hated France.) Elizabeth wanted to reconcile with Mary because she didn't want Mary, Queen of Scots, to become queen because Mary was a Catholic.

The two sisters reconciled and Mary turned out not to be pregnant. There was another false alarm a year later. Philip tired of her and moved permanently back to Spain and forgot about England.

In 1557, Mary failed in a campaign against France, and her marriage to Philip had brought England to its lowest point in memory. Her health began to fail. While dying, Mary said Elizabeth could be her successor if Elizabeth promised to maintain Catholicism and pay Mary's debt. Elizabeth agreed. When told Mary had died, Elizabeth, who had been reading under a tree, was speechless for a moment, then said, in Latin, "This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes."

Elizabeth I at prayer
Queen Elizabeth at prayer. Even during private worship, the queen did not abandon
her imperious posture, and appears on equal terms with the Deity.

Elizabeth was received greatly by the people of London when she became queen in 1558. Parliament was tiresome to her. She thought God had wanted her to rule England, and she knew better than anyone else what to do. Parliament told her to marry and produce an heir; she said no. She did not want to give up her independence.

Elizabeth I on horse at Tilbury
Elizabeth I reviews the troops at Tilbury before the arrival of the Spanish Armada.

She did have a boyfriend, but when his wife was found dead of a broken neck, Elizabeth had him sent away. At the age of 30 she got smallpox, and lost her hair.

Elizabeth I at age 36
NICHOLAS HILLIARD: Miniature of Elizabeth at age 36.

Mary, Queen of Scots, came to England to escape Protestant uprisings in Scotland. Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned for 19 years, and never met her cousin. During this time, Mary kept plotting against Elizabeth. Elizabeth did not want to have Mary killed, but she finally had no choice, and Mary was executed in 1587.

Mary, Queen of Scots
She was determined to be Queen of England...
Mary, Queen of Scots' is led to her execution.

At age 53, Elizabeth fell in love with a 25-year-old who would hit her and plot against her. She finally had him executed.

Toward the end, to relieve a painful swelling, her coronation ring had to be sawed off. Several weeks later, she announced she no longer wanted to live. Right before her death, she signified that James VI of Scotland, who would become James I of England, would be her successor. (Elizabeth I left no heir; she was known as the "Virgin Queen.")

Queen Elizabeth I in London, 1600
Elizabeth is carried through the streets of London.on a canopied chair in 1600.
The opulence of her dress, the dignity of her bearing,
and the words she exchanged with the public were all designed to
bind her subjects' loyalty to the Crown.

Elizabeth I was a great monarch. She kept peace, brought prosperity, and worked well with Parliament. Culture flourished (Elizabethan England) during the Renaissance. Elizabeth favored religious toleration, and England became the main Protestant nation in Europe. The Catholics challenged her.

Elizabeth did not create the Elizabethan Age, but she promoted it. Most of Shakespeare's works were written during the time of James I. Elizabeth I died at the age of 69 in 1603.

Elizabeth IQueen Elizabeth I
Left: ISAAC OLIVER: Elizabeth I. Right: A definitive portrait of Elizabeth.

Oliver's portrait was kept in the artist's studio to be used as a pattern for more flattering picutres. At this time, it was politically unwise to depict the queen as old. In 1563, after being on the throne for five years, Elizabeth issued a proclamation against inferior or debased representations of herself, promising that "some special person" would be allowed to finish a portrait to act as a copy for all others.

Thirty-three years later, the queen's Serjeant Painter was ordered to destroy all unseemly portraits of her. In the course of time a formalized portrait emerged. All accurate representions were destroyed by the Privy Council, and painters had to portray the queen as eternally young and nubile. Thus the public image of England's monarch became known as the "Mask of Youth."

The Cult of Elizabeth, 1569
HANS EWORTH: The Cult of Elizabeth - 1569. In this new judgement of Paris,
three goddesses are routed - Juno takes defeat badly, and Venus is unconcerned.

This painting above is an early example of the transformation of Elizabeth into a figure of transcendental beauty, radiance and majesty. But, not all representation of Elizabeth were flattering.

Elizabeth as birdQueen's Universe
Political cartoons of Queen Elizabeth I - 1588
Left: Queen Elizabeth Allegorized. Right: The Queen's Universe.

Elizabeth is portrayed as a strange bird. Her ruff is swollen up into an image of vanity. The text relates that seven of these birds were found and taken at Crowley (Crowland). Four died in great fear after they were taken, but three lived longer. Elizabeth is pictured presiding over a Ptolemaic system. To her are attributed: majesty, prudence, fortitude, religion, clemency, eloquence, and abundance.

National Monarchies:

Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles V, Philip II,
Decline of Spain, and the Cost of War

The Bourbons, Henry IV
Louis XIII, Richelieu, King Louis XIV

King Louis XIV

Richard III
The Tudors - Henry VI, Henry VII

King Henry VIII

The Interesting Life of Queen Elizabeth I

Mary, Queen of Scots

The Stuarts - James I, Charles I, Charles II, James II
Oliver Cromwell

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| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era



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