Today on September 7, 1533, The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, was born.
Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Her mother was Henry’s second wife and was executed before Elizabeth turned three years old. Among her many nicknames, she is often referred to as The Virgin Queen or Good Queen Bess. Despite several attempts at courtship, she never married or bore children, which made her the last monarch of the House of Tudor.
After Henry’s death, her older brother, Edward VI, became King of England. Her half-sister Mary (“Bloody Mary”) became Queen after Edward died and imprisoned Elizabeth on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. After Mary’s short reign, Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England and Ireland at the age of 25. Elizabeth is associated with one of England’s greatest military victories when she defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Elizabeth is ultimately remembered for ushering in a “Golden Age” for England, now known as the Elizabethan era. In government, she was relatively moderate and practiced religious tolerance by avoiding any systematic persecution. The arts flourished under her rule, particularly for several famous playwrights including William Shakespeare. Elizabeth also greatly expanded the Royal Navy and supported famous adventurers like Francis Drake.