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queen elizabeth 1 successor

queen elizabeth 1 successor

queen elizabeth 1 successor

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queen elizabeth 1 successor
queen elizabeth 1 successor

Elizabeth I – the last Tudor monarch – was born at Greenwich on 7 September 1533, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Her early life was full of uncertainties, and her chances of succeeding to the throne seemed very slight once her half-brother Edward was born in 1537. She was then third in line behind her Roman Catholic half-sister, Princess Mary. Roman Catholics, indeed, always considered her illegitimate and she only narrowly escaped execution in the wake of a failed rebellion against Queen Mary in 1554.

Elizabeth succeeded to the throne on her half-sister’s death in November 1558. She was very well-educated (fluent in five languages), and had inherited intelligence, determination and shrewdness from both parents.

Her 45-year reign is generally considered one of the most glorious in English history. During it a secure Church of England was established. Its doctrines were laid down in the 39 Articles of 1563, a compromise between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

 

Childhood

Elizabeth’s early years were not auspicious. She was born at Greenwich Palace, the daughter of the Tudor king Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry had defied the pope and broken England from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in order to dissolve his marriage with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had borne him a daughter, Mary. Since the king ardently hoped that Anne Boleyn would give birth to a male heir, regarded as key to stable dynastic succession, the birth of a second daughter was a bitter disappointment that dangerously weakened the new queen’s position. Before Elizabeth reached her third birthday, her father had her mother beheaded on charges of adultery and treason.

 

Moreover, at Henry’s instigation, an act of Parliament declared his marriage with Anne Boleyn invalid from the beginning, thus making their daughter Elizabeth illegitimate, as Roman Catholics had all along claimed her to be.

 

Position under Edward VI and Mary

queen elizabeth 1 successor
queen elizabeth 1 successor

With her father’s death in 1547 and the accession to the throne of her frail 10-year-old brother Edward, Elizabeth’s life took a perilous turn. Her guardian, the dowager queen Catherine Parr, almost immediately married Thomas Seymour, the lord high admiral. Handsome, ambitious, and discontented, Seymour began to scheme against his powerful older brother, Edward Seymour, protector of the realm during Edward VI’s minority.

 

In January 1549, shortly after the death of Catherine Parr, Thomas Seymour was arrested for treason and accused of plotting to marry Elizabeth in order to rule the kingdom. Repeated interrogations of Elizabeth and her servants led to the charge that even when his wife was alive Seymour had on several occasions behaved in a flirtatious and overly familiar manner toward the young princess. Under humiliating close questioning and in some danger, Elizabeth was extraordinarily circumspect and poised. When she was told that Seymour had been beheaded, she betrayed no emotion.

 

Accession of Elizabeth I

 Her entry into London and the great coronation procession that followed were masterpieces of political courtship.

 

“If ever any person,” wrote one enthusiastic observer, “had either the gift or the style to win the hearts of people, it was this Queen, and if ever she did express the same it was at that present, in coupling mildness with majesty as she did, and in stately stooping to the meanest sort.”

 

Elizabeth’s smallest gestures were scrutinized for signs of the policies and tone of the new regime: When an old man in the crowd turned his back on the new queen and wept, Elizabeth exclaimed confidently that he did so out of gladness; when a girl in an allegorical pageant presented her with a Bible in English translation—banned under Mary’s reign—Elizabeth kissed the book, held it up reverently, and then laid it on her breast; and when the abbot and monks of Westminster Abbey came to greet her in broad daylight with candles in their hands, she briskly dismissed them with the words “Away with those torches!

The woman ruler in a patriarchal world

In the last year of Mary’s reign, the Scottish Calvinist preacher John Knox wrote in his The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women that “God hath revealed to some in this our age that it is more than a monster in nature that a woman should reign and bear empire above man.” With the accession of the Protestant Elizabeth, Knox’s trumpet was quickly muted, but there remained a widespread conviction, reinforced by both custom and teaching, that, while men were naturally endowed with authority, women were temperamentally, intellectually, and morally unfit to govern.

 

Men saw themselves as rational beings; they saw women as creatures likely to be dominated by impulse and passion. Gentlemen were trained in eloquence and the arts of war; gentlewomen were urged to keep silent and attend to their needlework. In men of the upper classes a will to dominate was admired or at least assumed; in women it was viewed as dangerous or grotesque.

‘The translation of a monarchy’: The Accession of James VI and I, 1601-1603

In June 1603, just after the accession of James I, the Venetian ambassador in London was chatting to Lord Kinloss, a Scottish nobleman and royal confidant. Kinloss mentioned the anxieties the king endured before coming to the English throne, but added ‘by a Divine miracle all has gone well’. James himself was convinced that his safe arrival on the throne formerly occupied by Queen Elizabeth was literally God-designed, in order to bring the two realms of England and Scotland closer together. However, for all the talk about miracles, the reality was more prosaic.

In the early hours of 24 March 1603, Elizabeth I died at Richmond. The ‘Virgin Queen’ made no explicit provision for an heir, fearing that she might encourage faction within her kingdom. Yet James VI of Scotland was smoothly proclaimed as the new king. There was no opposition, but equally no immediate celebration. The London diarist John Manningham slyly noted that the proclamation was met with ‘silent joye, noe great shouting’, although there were bonfires and bell-ringing that evening as the announcement sank in. Three days later in Edinburgh, the king himself received the news with exultation.

 

Position under Edward VI and Mary

With her father’s death in 1547 and the accession to the throne of her frail 10-year-old brother Edward, Elizabeth’s life took a perilous turn. Her guardian, the dowager queen Catherine Parr, almost immediately married Thomas Seymour, the lord high admiral. Handsome, ambitious, and discontented, Seymour began to scheme against his powerful older brother, Edward Seymour, protector of the realm during Edward VI’s minority.

Reviews

queen elizabeth 1 successor
queen elizabeth 1 successor

The 400th anniversary of Elizabeth I’s death and the accession of James VI & I marks interesting times for the study of the two reigns, with traditional forms – political, legal and biographical histories – vying with more interdisciplinary, culturally-rooted accounts for shelf space.

The history of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods is populated with memorable figures, not least the monarchs themselves, and biographical approaches have always loomed large in the historiography. Three recent works that attempt to re-assess the ‘storied reputations’ as their reviewer John Cramsie puts it, are Pauline Croft’s King James (Palgrave, 2003), Alan Stewart’s The Cradle King: a Life of James VI and I (Chatto and Windus, 2003), and Carole Levin’s The Reign of Elizabeth I (Palgrave, 2002).

‘Elizabeth’: an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Random Posts

It is perhaps easy to forget that many of the central dramas of the Tudor dynasty were not played out within the heart of London, as we sometimes tend to assume, but in the palaces which surrounded the city – at Richmond, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court or at Greenwich. The fact that so many important events took place in Greenwich Palace makes it an appropriate setting for an exhibition about Elizabeth I, and one which by its very location requires some kind of imaginative response, trying to envision the Tudor brick-built riverside palace that no longer remains. Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I were all born there. Edward VI died there.

Elizabeth I and Succession
queen elizabeth 1 successor
queen elizabeth 1 successor

Between 1585 and 1587, Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s highly gifted spymaster, gathered enough information on Mary to put her on trial for plotting to murder Elizabeth. It may well be the case that Mary did plot against Elizabeth – she was, after all, found guilty of this crime and executed as a result.

 

However, there were those, especially in Catholic Europe, who believed that all the evidence against Mary had been either fabricated or extracted by the use of torture – as in the case of Anthony Babington. They believed that the likes of Cecil wanted Mary removed at all costs so that the whole issue of succession became an irrelevance. If Mary was dead, the next legal heir to the throne would have been her son, James, who was a Protestant. Even as Mary was being put on trial, Parliament and the Privy Council worked out a way of protecting James in the event of his mother’s execution:

 

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