GLORIANA, Eliza Triumphant

I am assured that God hath revealed  to some in this our age that is more than a monster in nature that a woman should reign and bear empire over man

John Knox

On the morning of 17 November 1558 Elizabeth Tudor set to rule England for the next 50 years.

The country she inherited was stricken by poverty, illnesses and religious differences worsen by the government of the former catholic queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) who persecuted protestants and because of disgraceful allegiances she ended up draining the Treasury.  At her coronation Elizabeth vowed to her people “…persuade yourself that for the safety and quietness of you all, I will not spare, if need be, to spend my blood. God thank you all“.
When she died in 1603 England had strengthen her sense of national identity by becoming the most powerful nation on Earth after defeating in 1588  the tentative of invasion by the Spanish Armada the military army of the European Catholic powers which viewed Protestant England as a threat. In the face of peril Queen Elizabeth left her palace and reached her small army at Tilbury to which delivered her most famous speech “I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think it foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm, to which rather than any dishonor shall grow by me I myself will take up arms, I myself shall be your general, judge, and rewarder of everyone of your virtues“.

Elizabeth brought the country to expand its boundaries in the New World. London the capital City, during her reign was a thriving commercial and cultural center.  This was the era of Shakespearian drama, the poetry of Edmund Spenser and Sir Walter Raleigh.

However at the time of her accession many doubted the Queen’s capabilities to rule. She was considered a bastard because born from Anne Boleyn the second wife of Henry VIII. She was a woman: in a patriarchal society it was against the laws of Nature and God for a woman to govern over man because women were simply seen as inferior. Pressed by society to marry, the Queen put off the proposals of severals. She would reign by good counsel but would not share her power. That’s why while entertaining numerous flirtations she promoted the image of the Virgin Queen. Poets and writers referred to her as Gloriana, Cynthia or Diana, the virgin huntress.

She was called Pandora, Oriana, England’s Astrea, Albion shining sun. The Protestants saw her as Judith or Deborah. No other monarch captured the imagination of its country.

With caution, intuition and determination Elizabeth defeated every doubts.


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