Happy Birthday Elizabeth I!

Posted By on September 7, 2009

Elizabeth I 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.

21 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Elizabeth I!”

  1. rochie says:

    She was very loyal to those she cared for and had a great ability for identifying those who genuinely cared for her, also.
    William Cecil was not only her most trusted advisor for many decades, but also a friend. She even nursed him and spoon fed him during his final days. Her Chief Lady of the Privy Chamber, Blanche Parry remained a life-long confidante, up until her (Blanche’s) death in 1596. She loved Robert Dudley all her life, and was devastated upon his death. This ability to choose wisely those she could trust was one of the keys to her success.

  2. Claire says:

    Yes, she does sound like a “fierce” friend, very true and loyal. You are right about her ability to choose friends and advisers, a great knack to have, and those close to her loved her as fiercely as she loved them. Although she annoyed them like mad with her procrastinating and even boxed their ears, punched and swore at them, her friendship was true. A wonderful lady and very inspiring!

  3. lana says:

    “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!”
    i love how you put together your words and how much you admire Anne Boleyn coz i am deeply attached to this character,so when you write something nice ,,it’s as if you have read my mind already.lol.
    Happy Birthday Liz & Rest in peace My queen Anne

  4. Claire says:

    Hi Lana,
    I write as I think and how I feel, which can be my downfall sometimes!! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I’m glad you also feel the same about Anne. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Laurel says:

    Elizabeth I had so many marvelous quotes. One of my favorites, especially now that I am older, “There is no contentment for a young mind in an old body!”

  6. Claire says:

    That’s a great one! Thanks, Laurel, I’ll add that to the Quotes page on The Elizabeth Files.

  7. Tricia says:

    She was also very vain – I daresay she might be the first one to object to being reminded of her age!

  8. Kelly says:

    Ok i don’t have the book wth me to quote from but didn’t she say in her famous speach “i may have the body of an old and feeble women, but i have the heart and stomach of a king”,…i just thought that was so…Elizabeth!

  9. Carol Dennis says:

    Claire , I have enjoyed reading your artticle on Queen Elizabeth 1.

    She certainly did admire her father. One quote attributed to her is as follows:-

    “I may not be a lion, but I am a lion’s cub and I have a lions heart”.

    Just one of many quotes made by this incredible queen – who was, of course, the
    daughter of an amazing mother.

  10. Claire says:

    Yes, Kelly, that was in her famous Tilbury Speech to the troops. Wonderful quote.

  11. Claire says:

    She certainly had a way with words! I’ve got slightly different wording for that one – “Although I may not be a lioness, I am a lion’s cub, and inherit many of his qualities” – but it comes to the same thing. She really saw herself as her father’s daughter with his strength and skills. I love her quotes, I’m going to have to try and make up my own so that I can wow people with them!!

  12. Matterhorn says:

    Funny- on my blog I just commemorated the birthday of King Baudouin of Belgium- I never realized these two had the same birthday- although 397 years apart.

  13. Claire says:

    What a coincidence! What was he like? Anything like Elizabeth in character?

  14. Matterhorn says:

    Well, they were both iconic figures in their respective kingdoms. Baudouin was admired for holding his fractious country together over a long, difficult reign (42 years), so I guess there could be some analogies drawn with Elizabeth. Baudouin was a different religion of course- a devout Catholic. He probably had a more mild, gentle exterior but underneath that he obviously must have had alot of toughness and resilience- traits which must be common to all successful monarchs.

  15. Matterhorn says:

    Come to think of it, they also both lost their mothers at an early age- though for very different reasons (Baudouin’s mother died in a car crash when he was only 5). And each had issues of having a parent publicly disgraced over charges of treason- in Baudouin’s case, the parent in question was his beloved father Leopold III, forced to abdicate as a result of (utterly false, in my opinion) accusations of being a Nazi collaborator.

  16. Lorna Lake says:

    I share a birthday with Elizabeth … though quite some years apart! Suffice it to say that my fascination with her started when I realised we had the same birthday and that was over 50 years ago.
    Some of her quirks I share … claustrophobia for one … and odours for another … my son tells me I can be a little imperious at times too!
    I just love your site and the regular articles and thoughts … about Anne Boleyn and more recently with the new Elizabeth site … GREAT WORK! THANK YOU.

  17. Annette says:

    I truly believe that Elizabeth became the phenomenal queen she was in large part because of her mother, Anne Boleyn. Children cannot help but pick up characteristics and personality traits from their parents, and even though Elizabeth didn’t know her mother very well, she had a great deal of her mother’s wonderful qualities in her. It is so sad that Anne spent years agonizing over not being able to produce a son, and then her daughter became one of the most famous and beloved monarchs in English history. I would love to know what Henry’s opinion would be now, if he could only know what a positive influence his DAUGHTER had on England!!!

  18. sharon says:

    Imagine having a dinner party and being able to invite six people from history. My number one would be of course Anne Boleyn, then Elizabeth and Henry the 8th. But what about If you also invited Jane Seymour, Wolsley and just for good measure Thomas More. Wow. Thats a night I would,nt want to miss.

  19. Star says:

    Do you know that the first contact between England and Japan was during her reign. Here is the article link from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_I_of_England#Barbary_states.2C_Ottoman_Empire.2C_Japan, what was really exciting for me was that the Englishman later became a counsler for Tokugawa Ieyasu,

  20. Star says:

    The above comment is just part of my love for Japanese history and culture

  21. dan says:

    did she have sisters or brothers

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