Elizabeth I and Her World: Historical Tidbits
> Elizabeth I (Elizabeth Tudor) was born in 1533, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Although there was a large crowd at her christening a few days later, neither of her parents attended the ceremony. While they did entertain guests afterwards, a jousting competition, fireworks and bonfires -- all planned for the celebration of a male heir -- were cancelled.
> The young Elizabeth was an excellent student; she studied languages (Greek, Italian, Welsh), religion and classics, riding, archery and dancing. She was a diligent scholar, noted for her remarkable memory and her unassuming nature.
> After eight weeks in the Tower of London, the teenaged Elizabeth was released to Woodstock in Oxfordshire, in the custody of squire Sir Henry Bedingfield. She remained there, under "house arrest," for another ten months.
> Following her return to court in 1555 Elizabeth and Mary I -- the half-sister who imprisoned her -- reconciled when Elizabeth declared her undying devotion.
> Elizabeth selected the day of her coronation -- January 15, 1559 -- with the guidance of an astrologer.
> During her life, Elizabeth received marriage proposals from the Duke of Savoy and from the son of the King of Sweden, Philip of Spain, the Duke of Holstein, Archduke Charles, the French Duke of Alençon and many others.
> Elizabeth was both Queen of England and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
> Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I, perpetual enemies, never met face to face.
> After a bout with smallpox brought her near death in 1562, Elizabeth designated Robert Dudley as her successor in the capacity of "protector of the realm."
> After the death of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, in 1589, Elizabeth barricaded herself in her room; her councilors broke down the door out of concern for her safety. A letter Dudley had written her the night before his death was one of her most treasured possessions.
> Poet Edmund Spenser dedicated his rich and complex masterwork The Faerie Queene (1590/96) to Elizabeth; she is represented in the epic as Gloriana, the title character.
> The term of Elizabeth's reign (1559 - 1603) was marked by domestic harmony and affluence and by the growth of England as a naval power. It was also an age that produced more masterworks of English literature than any other -- by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Spenser.
> Legend has it that Sir Walter Raleigh, explorer, courtier, poet and prose writer and a favorite of Elizabeth's throughout between 1581 and 1592, once spread his cloak over a puddle for the Queen to walk across unmuddied.
> Richmond Palace, built in the Gothic style by Henry VII along the River Thames, was a favorite residence of Elizabeth and the site of her death. Only a few sections of the structure remain; these are now part of a private residence.
> In 1601 Elizabeth addressed Parliament for the last time in what became known as her 'golden speech.' "There will never Queen sit in my seat with more zeal to my country," she said. "And though you have had, and may have, many Princes more mighty and wise, sitting in this state, yet you never had, or shall have, any that will be more careful and loving."
Elizabeth and Her World | Who's Who | Story Synopsis
Links + Bibliography | The Forum
Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback
Masterpiece is sponsored by: