Queen Elizabeth I
During America's early founding, the Puritans escaped from
England because they believed that the Church of England still
held too many remnants of Catholicism, and they viewed the
Bible as their only source of spiritual truth. The interesting
part of this is that the Church of England was founded as
a Protestant-based church by Queen Elizabeth I's father Henry
VIII, who broke from Catholicism to marry his mistress Anne
Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth's mother.
Queen Elizabeth I
So in this biography of Queen Elizabeth I's life, we're going
to see how religious differences among various European nations
played major roles in how Queen Elizabeth ruled England and
all territories that she claimed for this nation. Not only
that, but we can also learn a lesson in gender relations during
this period of English history and the ways in which Queen
Elizabeth I lived contrary to these constraints that were
on English women at the time.
Queen Elizabeth I was born to King Henry VIII and Queen Anne.
Elizabeth's birth came following a scandalous and groundbreaking
time for her parents. King Henry VIII was first married to
Catherine of Aragon, and although she had many children with
him, most of them died young and Catherine had one daughter,
Mary, who would become Elizabeth I's half-sister.
Because Catherine of Aragon failed to give Henry VIII a son,
he sought the Pope's permission to have the marriage annulled.
It's important to understand why Henry VIII desperately wanted
a male heir. He didn't believe that women would rule very
well, and this was the reflection of many men's attitudes
towards women in England during this time. Women were taught
to believe that they were inferior to men and girls knew they
had to obey not only their fathers but older brothers and
And when women married, their primary lot in life was to
marry, bear children and look after the household for the
rest of their lives. In addition to this, women from upper
class families couldn't choose their husbands because their
families often arranged the marriages. To add further pressure
to the married woman, she had to produce a male heir to continue
the family bloodline regardless of her class. If a woman committed
adultery, she was severely punished, even to the point of
being burned at the stake. Wife beating was common and tolerated
in English society during this time.
When the Pope refused to recognize Henry VIII's annulment
to Catherine of Aragon, he made a revolutionary step and broke
away from the Catholic Church to start his own church entitled
the Church of England, which would be based on Protestantism,
Catholicism's main rival. Henry VIII was then able to get
rid of Catherine of Aragon and marry his new lover Anne Boleyn,
who was pregnant.
But soon his love for Queen Anne would fade as the baby she
gave birth to was a daughter named Elizabeth. Henry VIII was
disappointed and humiliated about the situation, and some
years later he had Queen Anne executed on false charges of
witchcraft and adultery when Elizabeth was two years old.
From that point on, Henry VIII's marriage to Queen Anne was
annulled and as a result, Elizabeth was seen as a bastard
child. She lost her title as "princess" and was
not allowed to stay in the main court.
Growing up she had three stepmothers, one of which gave birth
to her younger brother Edward VI. The two siblings got along
well and both shared interests in literature and music. But
Elizabeth was not very close with her older half sister Mary.
Elizabeth had grown up Protestant while Mary grew up Catholic,
and their personalities were different. As a child, Elizabeth
was an intelligent and inquisitive child who was taught foreign
languages, history, mathematics and philosophy.
After her brother Prince Edward VI died at an early age,
her half-sister Mary became the Queen of England. It was under
Queen Mary's rule that Catholicism became the official religion
once again in England, and she severely persecuted Protestants,
including her sister Elizabeth. Because Queen Mary felt that
Elizabeth was a participant in a Protestant uprising to overthrow
her, she had Elizabeth imprisoned for a few years and when
Queen Mary died, Elizabeth became the next queen of England
and like her father Henry VIII, she established Protestantism
as the nation's official religion, and everyone had to attend
But even with some Protestants in England, this didn't sit
well with them. There was a sect called the Puritans, and
they believed that the Church of England had too many Catholic
remnants so they left for freedom and went to what is now
the United States. Although Queen Elizabeth I was pressured
to marry, she never did. This was probably because of the
stories she heard about her mother's execution and her half-sister's
mother's annulment from her father. In addition, Queen Elizabeth
I probably never married because she knew that if she did,
she could jeopardize her political power and this is something
she didn't want to do, so it may have been better to remain
single. There have been suitors from her own country, France
and Spain but she turned them all down.
One major conflict for Queen Elizabeth I was with her Catholic
cousin, Mary Queen of Scots,
who was the queen of Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots married
Henry Stuart, who was the son of Margaret Tudor and Queen
Elizabeth's father's sister. After Henry's death, Mary Queen
of Scots married Lord Darnley and they had an unhappy marriage.
He was later found dead and when she was suspected of his
murder, she had to give up her throne to her young son, James.
Mary Queen of Scots then sought asylum in England but when
Queen Elizabeth I found out that Mary conspired with some
English Catholics to overthrow her, Queen Elizabeth I had
Mary imprisoned and executed for treason.
Also under Queen Elizabeth I's monarch rule, Ireland became
part of England, and she defeated Spain when they attempted
to invade England as a way of reclaiming it as a Catholic
nation. Queen Elizabeth died in 1603.
There is a secret you don't
Besides the factual Queen Elizabeth I biography outlined
above there is a dirty little secret that has been kept hidden
for centuries. And that secret is that Queen Elizabeth I once
had minor surgery to remove a mole that had a striking resemblance
to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.