Happy 476th Birthday, Elizabeth I! Yes, on this day in history 7th September 1533 the iconic Queen Elizabeth I was born to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII at Greenwich Palace, London.
You can find out more about this amazing woman at our sister site, The Elizabeth Files, but here is some trivia about Elizabeth I:-
- Elizabeth I was often referred to as “The Virgin Queen”, “Gloriana” or “Good Queen Bess” and in the poetry of Raleigh, Jonson, Shakespeare, Spenser, and others, she was also referred to as Belphoebe, Diana, Cynthia, Pandora, Oriana and Virgo.
- She gave nicknames to those she loved and respected – William Cecil was her “spirit”, Leicester was her “eyes”, Walsingham was her “moor” and Hatton was her “lids” or her “mutton”.
- Elizabet believed that she was divinely appointed by God and that he had protected her from harm in the past so that she could become Queen.
- She was popular with her subjects and had the “common touch”. She went on regular progresses and was even known to pop into someone’s house for tea.
- Elizabeth idolised her father and loved talking about him. She also enjoyed standing in front of his portrait to receive visitors so that they could see that she was her “father’s daughter”.
- Elizabeth never married, although she had many suitors, but believed that she was wedded to her kingdom.
- She drove her council and advisers mad with the way she procrastinated.
- Elizabeth loved reading history books and would try to dedicate three hours a day to reading them.
Here are even more facts about Queen Elizabeth I:-
- When angry, she would calm herself by translating great works.
- She was “a very merciful lady” (William Cecil’s words) and hated executions.
- Elizabeth was strict with money and generally managed to live within her budget of £300,000 a year, turning England from a debt-ridden country into a prosperous one.
- Elizabeth tickled her beloved Dudley’s neck when making him Earl of Leicester.
- She was known for swearing and spitting when she was angry.
- She loved flirting, jokes and jests, and was known for her wit.
- Elizabeth excelled at riding and also loved dancing and hunting.
- She was fluent in many languages – It is said that by the age of 11 she was fluent in six languages and that she went on to become knowledgeable in around 9.
- She was a skilled musician.
- Like many of her time, she was superstitious and often consulted Dr John Dee, an astrologer.
- She may have been claustrophobic – She liked her windows open, hated loud noises and crowds. Perhaps this hearkens back to her time in the Tower.
- Elizabeth was very conscious of smells and hated any strong smell, such as kitchen odours.
- Like her father, Henry VIII, she had problems in later life with a leg ulcer.
- She was fond of making her own recipes for ailments.
- Rmour has it that she had over 3,000 gowns – Perhaps this goes back to her childhood when Lady Bryan had to beg Henry VIII for clothes for the young Elizabeth because she had grown out of everything and had nothing to wear.
- She loved lavish clothes and jewels.
- Elizabeth was rather vain and did not like “realistic” portraits to be painted.
- She never met Mary Queen of Scots.
- Although England under Elizabeth I was Protestant, she was tolerant of Catholicism and famously said “We have no wish to open windows into men’s souls.”
- Elizabeth survived smallpox and wore heavy makeup to conceal her scars.
- She had a locket ring with miniatures of herself and her mother, Anne Boleyn, hidden in it.
There are many more wonderful facts about this Queen but looking through those, I can really see that not only was she her “father’s daughter” but there was also much of her mother in her. Like Anne, she was witty, quick-tempered, highly intelligent, determined, stubborn, a patron of the arts and a lover of learning. She was also happier in the company of men and was known as a big flirt.
Although many discount Anne Boleyn’s influence over her daughter, because Elizabeth was only 2 when her mother was executed, we can’t help but see Anne in her. Henry VIII was disappointed in Elizabeth when she was born because she was not the longed for son, but even though he removed her from court after her mother was executed, she later came back to court and it is said that Henry delighted in her precociousness and intelligence. Could he see Anne’s feisty nature in his young daughter? Did he have an inkling of the woman she would become? Who know, but had her parents lived to see the woman she became, they would have been so proud.
So, today I raise a glass to one of England’s most famous and loved monarchs, but I also raise a glass to her mother, Anne Boleyn, who also had a major influence on England’s history. Happy Birthday Bess and Rest in Peace Anne Boleyn!
What’s your favourite trivia or fact about Elizabeth I? Please leave a comment and let us know.