Biography Of Princess Elizabeth Essay

4573 words - 18 pages

Biography of Princess Elizabeth

Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. When the little Princess was born on Sunday, the seventh of September, 1533, few could have predicted the glittering life ahead of her. Her birth was undoubtedly a great disappointment to her father, and a political disaster for her mother and all her supporters. For many years, Henry's main goal in life had been to father a healthy son to succeed him to the throne of England. Despite twenty years of marriage to the Spanish Catherine of Aragon, and the birth of several children, by 1533, Henry had only one living legitimate child, a daughter, Mary. Although there was no law in Tudor England preventing the accession of a woman to the throne as there was in France, the rule of a woman was considered undesirable. Not only was it thought that a woman was incapable of ruling a kingdom, there were also practical considerations that made female sovereignty problematic, such as her marriage, and the problem of the role her husband should have, as well as the risks of childbirth. It was unlikely that Henry would ever have a son by Catherine of Aragon (she was older than him, and her child-bearing days were numbered) and this troubled him considerably. Also he had fallen deeply in love with the young and dazzling Anne Boleyn and wanted to make her his bride. To marry Anne, however, he had to have his marriage to Catherine annulled, and annulling a marriage was never a simple process. For Henry, it proved colossal. The power to annull marriages lay with the Pope, and unfortunately for Henry, Catherine had very powerful family connections. She was the aunt of the great Emperor, Charles V, and the Pope could not afford to offend Charles by granting Henry his annulment. As time progressed, it became clear to Henry that if he wanted to marry again, he would have to find a way of getting an annulment without the Pope's assistance. He and his advisors found the answer in breaking with the Catholic Church completely, and establishing an independent Church of England. This would give Henry complete power over matters ecclesiastical. This revolutionary step was made possible by the emergence in Europe at this time of a new branch of Christianity that rapidly gained the name of Protestantism. This had very important doctrinal differences to Catholicism, but Henry's prime concern was ousting the power of the Pope. In many ways the new English Church remained essentially Catholic. But the change of official religion (known as the Reformation ) had far reaching effects on England. For centuries, monks, nuns and friars had been an integral aspect of English life, but with the oldChurch, this way of life came to an end. The monasteries were closed, and the monks, nuns, and friars, were forced into the towns and cities. They were granted a life pension so that they could look after themselves, and many found a new livelihood, but others fell into poverty and...

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