The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, by Paul Delaroche
The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, by Paul Delaroche
In the early hours of 24th March 1603, after a reign of 44 years and 127 days, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty-nine.

You can read all about her death, including a primary source account, in my article 24 March 1603 – Death of Elizabeth I and you read more about her final days over in an article on The Elizabeth Files – click here and another one on The Tudor Society.

Here are some Elizabeth I facts and trivia:

  • Elizabeth was born on the 7th September 1533 at Greenwich Palace and was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
  • “Nicknames” for Elizabeth I include “The Virgin Queen”, “Good Queen Bess” and “Gloriana”.
  • Elizabeth herself gave nicknames to people she loved and trusted – She called William Cecil her “Spirit”, Sir Francis Walsingham her “Moor”, Robert Dudley her “eyes”, the Earl of Oxford her “boar”, François, Duke of Alençon, her “frog” and Sir Christopher Hatton her “mouton”.
  • Elizabeth I never married, although she had a number of suitors, and thought of herself as married to her country and the mother of her subjects.
  • Elizabeth I’s funeral took place on 28th April 1603 and she was buried at Westminster Abbey.
  • Her motto was Semper Eadem, meaning “Always the Same”.
  • Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a time in Mary I’s reign for suspected involvement in Wyatt’s rebellion. She thought she would be executed.
  • Elizabeth I became queen at the age of 25 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 15th January 1559.
  • Elizabeth I’s skin became badly scarred by smallpox after she suffered from the disease in 1562. She covered these scars with a face paint of white lead and vinegar.
  • Her favourite dress colours were white and black which symbolised purity.
  • Although she rarely spoke of her mother Anne Boleyn, she made use of Anne’s falcon badge on several occasions and Anne may well be depicted in the miniature portrait in Elizabeth I’s locket ring.

And what about her achievements?

Elizabeth IAlthough some historians now challenge the idea that Elizabeth I’s reign was in fact a “Golden Age”, Elizabeth’s list of achievements is still very significant:

  • Becoming queen in the first place.
  • Defeating the Spanish Armada
  • Carrying on her father’s work with the Navy and making England a strong naval power
  • Defending England from the Scots and turning Scotland into an ally
  • Increasing literacy
  • Expanding England overseas
  • Founding the Church of England as we know it today through her religious settlement
  • Raising the status of England abroad
  • Surviving and defeating the plots and revolts against her
  • Helping the poor
  • Ruling as Queen in her own right
  • Her promotion of the arts
  • Turning England round from a poor country riddled with problems to a strong and prosperous country
  • Her patronage of science and the Renaissance way of thinking
  • Her ability to pick excellent advisers like William Cecil
  • Her understanding that a monarch needed to work with advisers and Parliament, to be able to rule successfully
  • Showing the public and other countries that a woman could rule successfully without a man by her side

Can you add to that list?

What do you think of Elizabeth and her reign?

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