Elizabeth I
English II
November 21, 2002


Elizabeth I by Jacob Abbott is the biographical account of Queen Elizabeth I. The story follows the birth, childhood, reign, and death of England’s beloved Virgin Queen.


King Henry VIII of England is known best for his six wives (three Catherines, two Annes, and a Jane), the most famous of all being his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry married Anne before his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, with whom he had one daughter, Mary, was officially annulled. On September 7, 1533, Anne gave birth to a daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Though she was spoiled terribly as a baby, Henry was disappointed that she was not a son. After that, his marriage with Anne quickly went downhill, and he had a growing interest in the younger and more beautiful Jane Seymour. In 1536, he falsely accused Anne of committing adultery, and had her beheaded on May 19. When she was tried, only about half of the king’s jury was there, and it is said that he only invited those he knew would not vote in her favor.


Henry married Jane Seymour on May 30, only eleven days after Anne was beheaded. On October 12, 1537, Henry finally was given his first son, Edward. Jane died a few days later. While many parties welcomed Prince Edward VI, the heir to the throne, four-year-old Elizabeth was left with only her servants at Hatfield, where she called herself the “forgotten princess”. For years she was exiled there, where she often ran out of food or had to wear clothes that were too little for her. She was only called to court two or three times a year. During this time Henry married Anne of Cleves, the daughter of Germany’s Duke of Cleves, but had the marriage annulled after six months saying that it was purely a political match. He married Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn’s first cousin, a few months later. However, she too was charged with committing adultery and beheaded. In 1543 he married Catherine Parr to whom he was wed until his death on January 28, 1547.


At the time of Henry’s death, Elizabeth was fourteen years old. Her eleven-year- old brother, Edward, became king and ruled until his death at the age of 16. Before he died, the Protestant rulers of England convinced Edward to give the throne over to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, rather than his half-sister Mary. When Mary heard this she and an army marched to England where Lady Jane was convicted of treason and beheaded. Mary I then took over. England had been a Protestant nation since Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Mary’s mother. However, Mary believed her sole purpose as queen was to bring England back to the Roman Catholic Church. She married Philip II of Spain, another strong Catholic, and began her mission. She ordered all her subjects to repent their sins and give up their “pagan religion”. Her plan did not go as smoothly as she hoped, so she began to torture, burn and kill the Protestant leaders. This is how she received her title “Bloody Mary”. This only caused people to be stronger in their faith, and more and more began to leave the Roman church. Many Protestants left England for the “New World” where colonies were established with no religious laws. During this time Elizabeth was locked in the tower after being a suspect in a plot to overthrow Mary and claim the throne for herself. However, no evidence was found against her and eventually she was released. Mary was miserable with her marriage, and her people hated her, causing her to become very depressed and angry. By her death in 1558 she had killed thousands of Protestants men and women, and even four children.


After Mary’s death, many people tried to claim the throne of England. The Catholic rulers tried to give it to Mary, Queen of Scots, while the Protestants raised Elizabeth as the rightful heir. Elizabeth received the throne and had Mary beheaded after being convicted of treason and held in the tower for several years. After Elizabeth became queen, she received many proposals of marriage, though she declined them all. At her coronation she placed a gold wedding ring on her finger and announced “I