The "Darnley Portrait" of Elizabeth I (c. 1575)
|Queen of England and Ireland (more...)|
|Reign||17 November 1558 –
24 March 1603
|Coronation||15 January 1559|
|Predecessors||Mary I and Philip|
|Born||7 September 1533
Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England
|Died||24 March 1603
Richmond Palace, Surrey, England
|House||House of Tudor|
Elizabeth I of England (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was the Queen of England, Ireland, and nominal claimant to Queen of France. She reigned from 17 November 1558 until she died in March 1603. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn, his second wife. Elizabeth was the last of the Tudor dynasty of monarchs. When Boleyn was disgraced at court and executed, Elizabeth's life became a troubled one, including imprisonment in the Tower of London.
Despite her troubles, Elizabeth reigned with intelligence and hard work. Her reign was distinguished with great achievements in the arts, trade, and exploration. She ably defended her country through the days of the Spanish Armada. She never married, but had several favourites, including the Earl of Leicester. At her death in 1603, King James VI of Scotland was named her successor.
Elizabeth was born in 1533 at Greenwich, England. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She had an older half-sister Mary, and, in time, a younger half-brother Edward.
When she was thirteen and a half years old, on 28th January, 1547 King Henry died. Elizabeth's half-brother, Edward, became King Edward VI of England. He died age 15. Mary succeeded him in 1553, and after Queen Mary's death in 1558, Elizabeth became Queen.
Achievements as Queen
Mary I had re-established the Roman Catholic religion in England. Elizabeth returned the nation to the Protestant faith established by her father. She did however retain some of the Catholic traditions. She wanted her subjects to exhibit at least an outward show of conformity to the Protestant faith.
The years of Elizabeth's reign were marked with many artistic achievements. William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, and other writers created enduring drama and poetry. Composers Thomas Tallis and William Byrd worked at Elizabeth's court.
During her reign, many men sought adventure abroad. Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Humphrey Gilbert, and other "sea dogs" looted Spanish ships. They also sailed to the Americas. In 1580, Drake became the first Englishman to sail around the world. The expeditions of these men prepared England for an age of colonisation and trade expansion. In 1600, Elizabeth herself established a trading company known as the East India Company.
England and Spain had long quarreled. Elizabeth encouraged Protestants in the Spanish-held Netherlands to rebel against Spain. She also encouraged her "sea dogs" to raid Spanish ships. In 1588, King Philip II of Spain sent an armada (a large fleet of ships) to invade England.
Elizabeth met her troops at Tilbury telling them: "I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king - and of a King of England too."
The armada was met by England's smaller, more maneuverable ships on 29 July 1588. The armada was defeated not only by Englands troops and their smaller ships, but by bad weather over Scotland and Ireland as the remaining Spanish ships sailed for Spain.
Elizabeth I was the last Tudor monarch, and reigned for 44 years. Her accession date was a national holiday for two hundred years.
Images for kids
The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul, a translation from the French, by Elizabeth, presented to Catherine Parr in 1544. The embroidered binding with the monogram KP for "Katherine Parr" is believed to have been worked by Elizabeth.
Mary I, by Anthonis Mor, 1554
Ivan the Terrible shows his treasures to Jerome Horsey, Elizabeth's ambassador. Painting by Alexander Litovchenko, 1875
Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud, Moorish ambassador of the Barbary States to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I in 1600.
Elizabeth I of England Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.