Queen Elizabeth I

By: Mick Yates

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I is often referred to as a 'Golden Age' in English history, and she is well documented as one of the most admired rulers England has ever known.

As the Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's childhood was tainted by her mother's execution and her father's disappointment at not having a male heir. She did however have the finest education, and was taught the art of public speaking, unheard of for women at that time. This skill stood Elizabeth in good stead as she learnt how to turn the tide of opinion in her favour, one of her most effective weapons.

Elizabeth's reign began in 1558, and she was dedicated to her country in a way that few monarchs had been before. She understood the political importance of support from ordinary people, but also carried a deep sense of responsibility for their welfare. One of her greatest achievements was the relationships forged with her people, ensuring their loyalty and adoration. Quick witted, determined and enigmatic but not beyond using her feminine wiles to get her own way, it is said that Elizabeth often used the promise of marriage for diplomatic purposes.

During her reign, England became a major player in Europe, the debased coinage was restored and Protestantism was firmly established as the English faith. However, Elizabeth was clever enough to retain traces of Catholic worship, serving as a compromise to avoid the conflict of earlier years.

With the mind of a political genius, Elizabeth nurtured her country through calm strategic leadership securing her place in hearts and history.

By Melanie Smith