Why Elizabeth I Never Married and the Consequences

Topics: Mary I of England, Marriage, Henry VIII of England Pages: 5 (1955 words) Published: September 13, 2010
History Essay- Elizabeth I- why did she never marry and what were the consequences.

“I may not be a lion, but I am a lion’s cub and I have a lions heart” –Elizabeth I This quote states that Elizabeth may not have been a man, but she is her father’s daughter, and she has his heart. signifying she can rule just as he or any man before her has. Elizabeth was born on the 7th of September 1533 at Greenwich Palace. She was the daughter of King Henry the VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Her birth was much disappointed by her father as he wanted a son and heir to succeed him as he already had a daughter, Mary; to his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. He had not divorced Katherine, and changed the religion of the country in the process, to have only another daughter. Elizabeth's early life was therefore troubled. Her mother failed to provide the King with a son and was executed on false charges of incest and adultery on 19 May 1536. Anne's marriage to the King was declared null and void, and Elizabeth, like her half-sister, Mary, was declared illegitimate and deprived of her place in the line of succession. Despite this, on the 15th of January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England and began her long and successful reign. The Marriage game

From the moment Elizabeth became Queen, there was one question that everyone was asking - who will the Queen marry? It was assumed that one of the first things Elizabeth would do, would be to select a husband to help her govern the realm, and more importantly, to get her pregnant. Elizabeth was the last of her dynasty, and it was thought natural that her main concern would be to provide a child to continue the rule of the Tudors. Elizabeth was young, unlike her sister who was already into her late thirties when she became Queen, and there were high hopes that soon England would have a royal family again. Without an heir of the Queen’s body, the future would be uncertain, and many feared that the rival claims of Henry VII’s distant relatives would sink the country into a bitter civil war should Elizabeth die without a legitimate child to succeed her. In these early weeks of her reign, the court buzzed with suitors eager for her hand in marriage. Elizabeth was now the most sought after woman in Europe. She received offers of marriage from the King of Spain, Prince Eric of Sweden - soon to be king, The Archduke Charles (son of the Emperor Ferdinand), the son of John Frederic Duke of Saxony, The Earl of Arran, the Earl of Arundel, and Sir William Pickering, who was so confident that he would be selected, that he demanded certain privileges be granted him while he stayed at the Court. Elizabeth politely rejected the offer made by King Philip, but allowed the other suitors to remain hopeful, while allowing her advisors to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each match. Yet, the only person, it seemed, who did not see the urgency for marriage, was Elizabeth herself. It will never be known whether Elizabeth really intended to marry or not. Certainly she showed no great enthusiasm for marriage, and declared on a number of occasions that she personally preferred the single life. However, there is a danger to read history backwards and assume that because Elizabeth never married, it was always her intention not to. The marriage of a Queen was a complicated affair, and could be disastrous for the country, as the case of Queen Mary had shown. Elizabeth did not want to repeat her sister's mistake by marrying a man that would not be popular with her people. Any man Elizabeth married would expect a say in the governing of the country (as Philip had expected under Mary) and neither Elizabeth or her ministers wanted to give up any power over English affairs. For this reason, it was in the best interests of the country for Elizabeth to marry a man who, although of suitable rank and status, was not a major European power, and would be content to be the Queen’s companion only....
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