Elizabeth I in all her glory

407 years ago today, on the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died, leaving a shocked and grief-stricken country. Many of the English people had only ever known Elizabeth I as their queen, for she had reigned over England for over 44 years.

I have written about Elizabeth I’s death and funeral over at the Elizabeth Files – see “The Death of Elizabeth I”, but here at the Anne Boleyn Files I want to spend today thinking of Elizabeth as Anne Boleyn’s greatest legacy – the daughter who was never meant to be a monarch, the daughter who Henry discounted when she was born in his obsession for a son, the daughter who had to rise above her illegitimacy and the stigma of having a convicted traitor as a mother…the daughter who became one of the greatest monarchs that England has ever had.

In the fictional account of Anne Boleyn’s life, in “Anne of the Thousand Days”, Anne says to Henry VIII:-

“Elizabeth shall be a greater queen than any king of yours! She shall rule a greater England than you could ever have built! Yes – MY Elizabeth SHALL BE QUEEN! And my blood will have been well spent!”

and although we know that this scene could never have happened, because there is no record of Henry VIII visiting Anne Boleyn in the Tower, I so wish that it had happened. It shows Anne’s spirit, don’t you think?

I don’t actually believe that Anne Boleyn ever thought that Elizabeth would be queen, as she knew and understood Henry VIII’s need for a son, but her submissive speech at her execution, which followed the usual and expected formula of execution speeches, speaks volumes of her love for her daughter, in that she wanted to protect her. Gone was the hot tempered, reckless woman who could so easily have used this last opportunity, this last public forum, to lash out at the King who had cast her aside and framed her, and in her place stood a mother who would do anything to protect her child.

I have said in the past that it is easy for people to look at Elizabeth I, her reign and achievements, and say that she was her father’s daughter, a chip off the old block, but although she probably did not remember her mother and had many other powerful female influences in her life, I see her as Anne Boleyn’s daughter too. Her charm, her magnetism, her wit, her intelligence and the way that she could wrap her advisers round her little finger, even when they were cross with her for procrastinating, shows a little of Anne – wouldn’t you agree.

You can read more of my thoughts about Anne Boleyn as mother and her influence on Elizabeth in the following articles:-

Today, I will pause for a moment and think of Queen Elizabeth I, the iconic Gloriana and Virgin Queen, may she rest in peace.

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15 thoughts on “Elizabeth I – Anne Boleyn’s Legacy”
  1. There will never be another queen to surpass Elizabth 1. To me , she is more Anne`s daughter than she ever was Henry`s. If Anne had been allowed to live and reign, in my heart, I know she would have been a great queen too.Elizabeth fulfilled for England and for women,Anne`s dream,which had been cut short. May mother and daughter rest in peace, and I hope they are catching up on the time they lost to be together.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you about Elizabeth being her mother’s daughter! How could she have been anything but Anne’s daughter? The psychological effects of all the things done by her father to her mother alone would serve to fuel that leaning in my mind. The fact that she was her father’s daughter is something I have to force myself to remember.

  3. I know this is supposed to be about Elizabeth.But that bit about Elizabeth becoming A Queen she fictionally spoke to Henry.Had me blubbering.My husband asked what is it now.And I shot back I am a woman and will cry if I want to. Such a moving story.
    I can see the ghost’s of Anne and Elizabeth as well as Henry Rex.They standing before him and Anne pointing at her regal heir and say,”Now you see.You searched your life, spent in pursuit of what you thought was a worthy heir.And yet she stands before you.The product of our union.Yet you caste me hither to suffer such a cruel death.And she rose to save England.spite of your manly desires.For God and England has more wisdom to our fortune, then all the will of mortal men.”. 🙂

  4. Claire is it possible to get the posts put in the newsletters.Also I live across the pond in Canada.Can we get the costs of products in Canadian funds? 🙂

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for your comments, Xena. I tend to send out 1-2 posts per week to subscribers but don’t want to fill up people’s mail boxes by sending out every post. We have customers worldwide so I had to pick a currency for the shop, but your credit card company will handle the currency exchange. I’m sorry but we can’t display the prices in multiple currencies, it’s just not possible. http://www.xe.com is a useful site for doing currency coversions if you want to know how much things are in Canadian dollars. Hope that helps!

    I agree with you, that scene is very moving, that and the execution scene from “The Tudors” get me blubbering every time!

  6. This is a beautiful article! And I agree that Elizabeth was her mother’s daughter if any woman ever was. I think she represents what Anne would have been had her circumstances been different. And though it is unlikely to have actually happened, I love the tower scene 🙂

  7. I believe as do you that this speech was probably never spoken. But I see Anne being the sacrifice for Elizabeth, her daughter, to be much more than Anne could ever have been. If the spirit lives beyond the physical life, then Anne had the justification in that her daughter could achieve much more than Henry VIIII could. How galling that must have been for Henry.

  8. Clair, what a lovely tribute you have written to one of the most remarkable women of all time. It is a perspective which she would undoubtedly have much appreciated, as it is certain she would have greatly loved this wonderful site. We know that Elizabeth kept her mother close to her heart in the beautiful, personal ring she had made, secretly linking together their two likenesses. Her mother’s miniature, when the ring is open, seems to protectively look down upon her daughter from above, almost like a guardian angel. Can’t one almost envision Elizabeth, so independent and so powerful, yet really so isolated in her unique position, calling on the spirit of her beloved mother in heaven for support at certain critical moments during her uniquely challenging life? Similarly, it is certainly is tempting to imagine Elizabeth receiving the whispered (if not shouted) guidance from upstairs: “Never marry!” Her determination and ability to remain, quite literally, sovereign in this respect was surely not at all ordinary. Again, definitely her mother’s daughter. I believe it was at least partly Elizabeth’s early bonding with her unforgettable mother that truly set the stage for her unparalleled brilliance as a monarch.

  9. There is a really touching video of the two: Elizabeth I/Anne Boleyn (Blood Brothers – Easy Terms) on You Tube. I always get a little teary eyed watching it.

  10. If they were to make another movie The lady Jane.I thnk Drew Barrymore would make and excellent Jane.Same jaw line as the painting. :).

  11. I really think that she had the better and worst of both. Let’s agree that Henry and Anne were a hot-headed couple. Elizabeth could, in fact Did not Know her mother but she had the blood. And Obviously that she looked for histories about Anne.While she said : ‘I am daughter of my father’, Her actes It is was nothing more that the Anne’s legacy!
    My Opinion Sure 🙂

  12. I think Elizabeth I was everything that Anne Boleyn wanted her to be and did everything for England that Anne Boleyn wished to do. I can clearly see Anne Boleyn in Elizabeth, as you say her charm, her magnetism, her wit, her intelligence, also her assertiveness, her aims for England and her determination which saved her for the throne.

    So, Elizabeth I, finished the unfinished business. She became her mother’s daughter as the secret which Elizabeth I carried to her deathbed, a diamond ring she used to wear with a portrait of her mother.

  13. i see a lot of elizabeth in anne and think she was her mother’s daughter. this is because much of our personality is inherited….possibly even most. anne gave generously to charity and cared for the well being of the poor much more than henry. elizabeth kept a locket w/her mother’s portrait, so she might’ve kept her mind when she created the poor laws throughout her reign.

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