In a tense political climate, it is difficult for a woman to be elected into a position of power. When she is, it is even more problematic to be seen as efficacious. In order to become a thriving ruler, it is advisable to look to females in the past that have been successful. This is why Elizabeth I should be studied by female leaders as an example of an outstanding queen during a male-dominate society. In order to understand the way she ruled England, we must first understand her as a woman. We must look at her life before she became the Queen of England.
The year is 1533 and King Henry VIII of England is scrambling to get a male heir to succeed the Tudor line. Catherine of Aragon had given him daughter, Mary. She was already significantly older than Henry, and was breezing through her child-bearing years without a presenting her husband with a son. Henry’s mistress, Anne Boleyn, informs him that she is with child. Henry, hoping that the envied son has finally fallen his way, attempts to be granted a divorce from Catherine by the Church. He is, obviously, unsuccessful. Angry and wanting his son to have a legitimate claim to the English throne, he breaks from the Church. This will lead to complications later that his children will have to deal with.
Now that the babe is a legitimate heir to Henry’s throne, despite being bastardised by the Church, it brings quite a shock when it turns out to be a girl. Disappointment and fury emerge in Henry. The great effort he went through in order to secure a male as the future King of England has been thwarted. The child, Elizabeth, is now the first to succeed Henry after his death. Shortly after Elizabeth’s birth, and a severe lack of male children later, Henry has Queen Anne beheaded for treason against the king without any evidence of misconduct. He is now free to remarry in hopes of getting another child. He has Elizabeth bastardised as well, to remove the stain of her mother’s infidelity from his daughter. He is fortunate that his next wife, Jane Seymour, gives birth to a boy, Edward, though she dies in the childbed. Henry doesn’t hesitate in selecting a new partner.
While Henry is going through various wives, Elizabeth is spending most of her time in Hatfield with her nanny, Kat, and various tutors. Elizabeth was a clever child, learning quickly and accurately. She shares tutors with her half-brother, Edward. By the time she is eleven years old, Elizabeth can speak six different languages fluently: English, French, Latin, Greek, Welsh, and Spanish. She also is knowledgeable in classic literature, arithmetic, theology, history, rhetoric, philosophy, geometry, and music. This will later be useful when she becomes queen. Elizabeth and her brother were very fond of each other, and when he was called to court when Elizabeth wasn’t, they wrote one another often. On a stormy evening in 1547, Elizabeth and Edward, together, receive news that their father is dead. Edward is now the King of England.