Posted by: wrmcnutt | March 24, 2010

Requiescat in Pace: Elizabeth Tudor

It was on this day in 1603 that Queen Elizabeth Tudor, called by many, Good Queen Bess, did pass from this life after reigning a whopping 44 years during some of the most turbulent time in English history.

In 1559 she ascended to the throne after surviving the reign of his half-sister Queen Mary and that of their mutual half-brother Edward.  Mary, raised a Catholic, returned Catholicism to the status of Official State religion after radical changes made by their father, King Henry VIII and Edward.  Her relationship with Mary was fraught with danger, as Elizabeth was a sincere Protestant, and unwilling to return to the Catholic fold.  Under Mary’s reign, a Protestant rebellion had to be put down, and Mary and her advisors came very close to sending Elizabeth to the block, even though she was later cleared of any involvement.  In the course of this, Elizabeth spent a number of years in the Tower of London and under House Arrest at a small country estate.

After ascending the throne, Elizabeth repealed Mary’s pro-Catholic laws, survived several Catholic plots against her, and generally promoted religious tolerance that was, in many way, ahead of her time.

As a matter of policy, Elizabeth tried to build strong ties with other Protestant nations while at the same time attempting to pit Catholic nations against each other.  In 1588, Spain attempted to invade England.  The much smaller English navy, aided by a fortunate series of storm fronts, destroyed what later came to be known as the Spanish Armada.  She sponsored many voyages during the Age of Discovery, including Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe and Raleigh’s exploration of the North American continent.

She feared the dilution of her authority by marriage, and so ever married, earning the sobriquet “The Virgin Queen.”

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  1. The Welsh side of my Mom’s family claim to be decended from one of her Virgin children..

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