6 May 2010
Queen Elizabeth I: A Powerful Ruler in History
While there was no law in Tudor England preventing appointment of a woman on the throne, the ruling of a woman was considered unfavorable. Women were not normally held high in command because it was believed that women could not rule well. During a time where the role of women was contained, Elizabeth I of England proved her power and remained the only unmarried queen in England’s history. She reined England from 1558 to 1603 and has become the symbol of an age, a symbol of the power of a woman who strived to govern. Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, is one of the most important rulers of English history by winning the confidence of her people in the ability to govern them, sophisticated all the characteristics of a politician to secure her right to be obeyed, created stability for her kingdom, and aided in creating an identity for England. Elizabeth’s conception greatly influenced the way she lived and the nobility she acquired in being the Queen of England. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were expectedly waiting, for many reasons, the birth of their child to be a male heir. For the King, Henry needed a legitimate son to preserve the kingdom and independence of England for he had broken English ties with the Catholic Church. For the Queen, Anne was unpopular among the English people and to keep her place next to the King as his Queen highly depended on the sex of their baby. Though Henry already had one child, Mary, with his previous wife, Catherine of Aragon, the thought of a woman succeeding the throne after him was something he could not possibly let happen; he needed a son to lead a kingdom whose existence was still too new to be governed by a woman. On September 7th, 1533, Anne and Henry gave birth to a daughter. While Elizabeth’s birth was disappointing, she was still cherished as a member of the royal family and heir to the throne. Anne was executed for adultery when Elizabeth was merely three thus rendering Elizabeth illegitimate. Considering family life was usually the center of a child’s existence, she did not grow up unhappy. She focused her time on schooling as Waldman explains, “The change in her position in no way diminished the care and thought given to her education. She was still the King’s daughter, after all, and even if ineligible for the throne, more important than one else’s daughter; and daughters were considered, at least amongst the upper classes, entitled to have as much care given to their educations as sons.” While she was no longer a heir to the throne, Elizabeth was treated no different; she was still the daughter of the King. Personal disappointment of no longer being a heir to the throne was nonexistent. In fact, she took this opportunity and excelled in her education. Specialized tutors taught Elizabeth to be fluent in Latin, Greek, French, and Italian, and explored arithmetic, astronomy, physics, logic, rhetoric, music, and sports such as riding horses and archery. She had a well-rounded education, one that would qualify to the people in being a leader, which impressed many. Ascham, one of Elizabeth’s wisest tutors, spoke to a friend of her demeanor, “’She has just passed her sixteenth birthday, and her seriousness and gentleness are unheard of in those of her age and rank. Her study of the true faith and of good learning is most energetic. She has talent without a woman’s weakness, industry with a man’s perseverance.” Elizabeth developed an outstanding education, an opportunity that was not given to most women during this time. Once she had finished her formal education, she was considered the best educated woman of her generation. She became an intellectual, which paved the way in being a successful and influential Queen. Elizabeth’s accession to the throne was one of the most disputable crises of royal children in sixteenth-century history and was the first sign of support...
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