Elizabeth I, during her time, was revered as one of the most sophisticated and educated women in her generation. This must have been due to her undying interest in learning as well as her love for heavy makeup and lavish dressing.
Elizabeth I, the legendary Queen of England, was born on September 7, 1533, in Greenwich, a town near London in England. She was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who was the second wife of the King during that time. Elizabeth I was the last of the five monarchs to rule England from the House of Tudor.
Let’s check out some fascinating facts about the Queen who molded herself as a symbol of England’s destiny.
8 Interesting Facts About Elizabeth I
1. Elizabeth was not expected to be queen
It is a surprising but true fact that Elizabeth I was not the person considered fit for the throne. One of the reasons was that she was female. Another ground for this claim was the circumstances surrounding the marriage between her parents. The marriage between her parents was annulled, and Elizabeth I was declared illegitimate, an interesting fact about Elizabeth I.
Seemingly removed from the line of succession, we could, therefore, conclude that Elizabeth I was not fit to go near the throne. However, as fate would have it, the instrument for Elizabeth’s reinstatement was Katherine Parr, her stepmother, who orchestrated a series of events that eventually led to her becoming a queen.
2. She lost her mother before she turned 3
Elizabeth I grew without the motherly care and guidance usually found in royal homes. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was married to the Tudor King Henry VIII as a second wife. Before their marriage, the King broke away from the authority of the England Roman Catholic Church, thereby dissolving his union with the first wife to marry Elizabeth’s mother.
It is the usual expectation that a royal home must have a male child who would eventually take the father’s stool. Despite Anne giving birth to a female first child, the King maintained hope that she would bear him a male heir to ensure smooth and constant succession. Unfortunately, birthing a second daughter did not come with much joy, and this consequently proved a fatal blow on the relationship between the parents. Before Elizabeth I celebrated her third birthday, the King had had her mother beheaded for being guilty of the offense of adultery and treason.
3. She had step-siblings
Elizabeth I was the daughter of the second wife of King Henry. The first wife, Catherine of Aragon, bore the King a daughter, Mary, who was the older half-sister of Elizabeth I. Eleven days after beheading Elizabeth’s mother, King Henry married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who died not long after conceiving. Jane gave birth to a son, Edward – the apparent heir to the throne. So, from Elizabeth’s Tudor family, there were three children, all from different mothers.
4. Elizabeth I was fluent in many languages
In 1537, Catherine “Kat” Champernowne was appointed as her governess. Kat taught Elizabeth I French, Spanish, Flemish, and Italian languages. English and Latin were added when William Grindal, a trusted and talented teacher, became her tutor in 1544.
Upon William’s death, Elizabeth I came under the tutelage of Roger Ascham and furthered her learning. Plus the languages listed above, she could speak Cornish, Welsh, and Irish, an interesting Elizbeth I fact.
5. She was not included in the succession will written by her step-brother
Her step-brother Edward VI became King at age 9 but died in 1553 at age 15. The absence of any male heir became an issue as only two females were left. Unfortunately, Edward did not include Mary and Elizabeth I in his succession will. This was against the provisions of the Succession to the Crown Acts of 1543.
Instead, he declared the granddaughter of King Henry VIII’s younger sister, Lady Jane Grey as his heir and successor. Lady Jane, however, only spent nine days on the throne due to a lack of support.
6. Her step-sister imprisoned her
After Lady Jane Grey was removed, Mary, Elizabeth’s stepsister, became the Queen. Although the sisters stood by each other during Edward VI’s reign. However, their unwavering solidarity soon faded due to the difference in religious ideology. Mary was a devout Catholic, while Elizabeth I was more of a Protestant.
After Wyatt’s rebellion, Elizabeth I became a figure of the leadership of the Protestant against her sister’s Catholicism. For fear of staging a revolt, she was arrested, interrogated, and jailed at the Tower of London. On May 22 that year, she was moved to Woodstock, where she would be under house arrest for about a year.
7. Elizabeth gave nicknames to her closest attendants
Perhaps this is why people were fond of Elizabeth I during her time. Her feminine character was displayed with so much affection and charm within her court. She was also noted for granting audience to foreign princes with the hope of finding a suitable husband.
The deepest degree at which Elizabeth I related with her courtiers in the male-dominated palace could be seen in her habit of giving nicknames to her favorite attendants. For instance, she called Francois, the Duke of Anjou, her “frog;” Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, her “eyes” and her chief minister, Burghley, her “spirit,” an interesting fact about Elizabeth I.
8. She defeated Spain in a war
The war between England and Spain has been recognized as one of the most significant victories in English history. During her reign, she played a cautious role when engaging with foreign nations, especially France and Spain. However, despite her shrewd military interventions, a war with Spain seemed inevitable. In 1588, England defeated Spain in the Armada war – a battle to be remembered by both countries.
The exploits of Queen Elizabeth I of England, the legendary monarch, notably known for the Elizabethan age, can never go unnoticed. Despite the internal and external problems that faced her government, she survived all with her charismatic and stubborn character.
Because of her achievements, she was recognized as a queen who ruled with a love that helped create stability and strong national identity among the citizens.
I hope that this article on Elizabeth I facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical Facts Page!