A Virtuous Sovereign Essay

1007 words - 4 pages

It is popular belief that the life of a Princess is magical, filled with “Happily Ever After”, however the life of Queen Elizabeth I was anything but magical. The story of The Virgin Queen is captivating, from scandal surrounding her birth to her reluctance to name a successor before her death. Elizabeth’s entire life was full of turmoil, conspiracy and sadness. Jane Resh Thomas described this misconception most accurately on page two of Behind the Mask: The Life of Queen Elizabeth I by stating, “If she was charmed, then her enchanter must have been an evil fairy whose charm was at least in part a curse. For many of Elizabeth’s subjects despised her from her infancy. Her father put her mother to death and neglected Elizabeth for much of her childhood.”

Elizabeth Tudor was born September 7, 1533 to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. In a desperate effort to father a son King Henry went against the advice of his council and the Roman Catholic Church by divorcing his first wife and marrying Anne Boleyn. The divorce outraged nearly all of England and feeling pressure from the Church and the English people, Parliament deemed the child illegitimate and ordered that she would not be in line to inherit the throne. Elizabeth spent her younger years living with staff in her own private residences. “Elizabeth and her household resided at Hatfield and Ashbridge, both in Hertfordshire, the latter being the house mostly associated with the royal children’s nursery” (Watkins, 14). Although Elizabeth seemed to be alienated from her family, she cared deeply for her father, older half-sister Mary and younger half-brother Edward and in 1544 Henry echoed his affections by acknowledging Elizabeth, Mary and Edward to Parliament, setting forth the order of procession for the throne. Upon King Henry’s death, Edward would take the throne as King being that he was the only son. Mary would follow Edward and finally Elizabeth would be last to take the crown. Edward’s untimely death in 1307 made way for Mary to take the crown and become Queen. Once Mary had taken the throne her jealousy of Elizabeth became quite clear. Charges of treason were brought forth against Elizabeth and Mary ordered her to be kept prisoner in the Tower of London. To Mary’s dismay, Elizabeth’s status as Princess and no evidence to prove her role in any conspiracy meant she would be removed from the Tower and sent to live in near solitude at Hatfield.

After Mary’s death in 1558, Elizabeth was summoned from her solitary confinement and returned to London. “Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey on January 15, 1559” (McLean). Upon her return to the Palace she was confronted with the many hardships facing England. “When Elizabeth succeeded her sister to the throne in 1558, religious strife, a huge government debt, and failures in the war with France had brought England’s fortunes to a low ebb” (Encyclopedia of World Biograpghy). Almost immediately following...

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