Although the remaining ships of the Spanish Armada were homeward bound, England was still expecting to be threatened by the troops of the Duke of Parma who could come across the English Channel as soon as the wind was favourable. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, had invited Elizabeth I to visit the 8,000 men he had assembled at Tilbury Fort on the Thames estuary in Essex. His invitation’s purpose was to to stop Elizabeth recklessly riding to the South Coast to meet Parma’s troops, but a visit from their queen would also bring comfort and encouragement to the soldiers. Elizabeth’s council were not keen on the visit, they wanted her to keep safe in London, but Elizabeth was determined to go and she travelled by state barge from St James’s to Tilbury.
Elizabeth arrived on 8th August and she reviewed the troops before retiring for the night at Saffron Garden, in Edward Ritchie’s manor house. On 9th August, she returned to Tilbury and delivered her famous, rousing “Tilbury Speech”. There are actually three different versions of this speech and you can read them in my article The Spanish Armada 8 – Elizabeth’s Tilbury Speech.
You can read other speeches made by Elizabeth I over at The Elizabeth Files on the Speeches page.
Here is Helen Mirren delivering the Tilbury speech in “Elizabeth I”: