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Elizabeth I's Biography

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Elizabeth I was born on 7th September 1533 to Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn at Greenwich Palace.

At first, Elizabeth was well cared for and happy, however as Henry wanted a boy so badly, he did not attend her christening, and he later wanted to get rid of Elizabeth and find a new wife.

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's marriage was declared false and Elizabeth was named illegitimate.

She grew up at Hatfield House, and when Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife, was in power, was treated well and educated by a private tutor.

When Henry VIII died in 1547, the succession to the throne started with his son Edward, and then his two daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

When Edward died in 1553, he was succeeded not by Mary but Lady Jane Grey, however her reign lasted just nine days before Mary overthrew her.

There was also a lot of tension when Mary was on the throne, as she was catholic and Elizabeth was a protestant. At one point Mary went as far as imprisoning Elizabeth within the Tower of London.

However, Mary died in 1558 and Elizabeth became Queen. Elizabeth was twenty-five years old.

Between 1559 and 1563 Elizabeth I worked on the Church Settlement, which recreated England as a protestant country; during Mary's reign it had turned back to Catholicism.

Although Elizabeth took certain steps to recreate a protestant England she did so with moderation. Compromising with the Catholics she allowed things such as crucifixes and the tradition of candlesticks. Both religions were able to co-exist relatively peacefully during her reign.

Elizabeth I never married, although she was in love with Sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a friend from childhood, who was the master of her horses.

Without a husband, Elizabeth would also never have any children, which meant that the line of succession was unclear.

Some thought that the throne would, once Elizabeth died, go to her cousin, the catholic, Mary Queen of Scots. Mary's possible claim to the throne, became such a problem that she was imprisoned in order to stop Catholic plots from creating a rebellion to put her on the throne.

Mary was executed for treason on the 8th February 1587 (She had been kept prisoner for almost twenty years!).

The execution of Mary created a great incentive for the Spanish to invade England. This led to one of the most famous events of Elizabeth's reign and it took place about a year after Mary's execution in 1588: the defeat of the Spanish fleet known as the Armada.

The last decade of Elizabeth I's rule proved difficult; there was trouble in Ireland and, in 1594, the Nine Years war started where thousands of English soldiers were killed in action fighting in Ireland.

Elizabeth died on the 24th March 1603, having ruled for over forty years.

During her reign, she had created a strong and prosperous country which flourished under her eyes.

The son of Mary Queen of Scots, James VI of Scotland was to follow her as the first king of England and Scotland, the first Stuart king, James I.

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