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Elizabeth I of England as a Very Successful Monarch Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2022

Elizabeth I of England can be acclaimed as one of the most famous monarchs not only in Europe, but all over the world and during all the history of humanity. The achievements of her rule are very important for solving a row of difficult problems existing in the country those days and for leading the country on a new level of the world supremacy both in the sea and overland. The queen’s politics can be characterized as a masterpiece of art of strategy and planning. Among her successful policies is her ability to wait before making important decisions or as it is also titled a “delaying” policy. This wise tactics made her far more successful than all her male rivals who were in a constant race to “catch” the queen on some of her mistakes. Generally, the policy of “delaying” in making critical decisions helped the queen to succeed in a countless list of the most problematic issues such as marriage, military actions, religious issue, economic issues and many more.

At a rather early age, Elizabeth appeared in an unprecedented situation for the country: she turned to be the person who was to inherit the throne, and the most unusual situation in this case was her gender. Never before England along with the other countries of the western world had a female ruler, and the society was in doubts concerning this questionable affair. According to Warnicke, ‘In 1558, when Elizabeth I became the third queen regnant of the British Isles, the prevailing models for her reign were not propitious”1. The strongest political figures in the country were separated into the two camps: those who longed to organize a marriage for the queen to provide a country with a male ruler, or to organize the situation in a way that would enable some other strong political figure to actually rein behind the queen’s back. According to Warnicke, this was explained by the following peculiarity of the way of thinking prevailing those days in the country:

THE England that the first Queen Elizabeth reigned over so gloriously for 45 years was obsessed with [gender issues] and awash with promiscuity. This unrestrained bawdiness was surprising for a nation that worshipped its head of state as an unblemished virgin2.

However, all those people who thought in the above mentioned way were strongly mistaken as Elizabeth appeared to be one of the most willful and influential monarchs in the history of the country and the world monarchy in general. According to Warnicke, “from the moment she became queen, she relied on her resources of profound intelligence, flirtatious recklessness and Tudor canniness, aided by a succession of mainly male advisers”3. These unusual and even outstanding character traits were inherited from her mother who managed to become a queen even having no lawful basis for this. Elizabeth became very successful in applying her remarkable intelligence and wisdom for the good of her nation and her own. One of the most important policies the queen developed by means of the use of her intelligence is the policy of “delaying”.

Those days the country was in a variety of complicated circumstances requiring wise and well-thought-of decisions. Among such decisions was the politics of England in the matter of strategic allies made in Europe by means of royal marriages, religious matter of whether England will continue as a Catholic country or will turn the official religion for Protestantism and wars for the supremacy in seas.

In every of the above mentioned situation, the policy of avoidance became a wise strategy. First of all, in the matter of strategic allies made in Europe by means of royal marriages the situation was rather ambiguous, and it even bordered on the issues critically important for the country. Politics was far more important for the queen than her own interests as it is seen from the following statement:

While her closest advisers wanted her to marry to secure the succession to the throne, there were dangers in marriage for a female head of state. Marry a foreign prince – from France or Spain, say — and that would mean subservience or compromise with a foreign power. Marry an English nobleman and she risked joining a faction and encouraging unrest or even civil war. But as long as she held men at bay, she could summon up ‘the spirit and stomach of a man’ and rule as if she were a king rather than an attendant queen. For the country’s sake, she opted for self-denial, but that decision came at a cost4.

In this difficult situation the queen chose the policy of avoidance of making decision which helped her to preserve a fragile balance within the country, and with its neighbors.

Further, the next important and very complicated issue was the issue of Catholicism vs. Protestantism. In this area, Elizabeth managed to avoid making her decision for the period which allowed her to prepare emotionally and to collect all the necessary evidences and appealing arguments in order to convince the Parliament in her historical speech. As a result piece was maintained within the country, and a basis for its secure development was established5. Additionally, “that Elizabeth’s Church of England joined the Protestant confession, which championed women’s vocation as marriage, caused the status of the already marginalised single woman to begin to decline even further”6.

Finally, similar strategy of being not in a hurry while making important decisions is explored in the queen’s politics in the area of military actions including her conflicts with the other precedents for the crown. Elizabeth was waiting for all the important solutions to come by themselves, and even the weather supported her as it was evident in a historical battle with the Spanish Armada. Considering all the above mentioned areas helps to see the queen Elizabeth I as one of the most successful rulers both in the history of the country and of the world. No wonder that Robert Cecil described Elizabeth as “more than a man and in truth somewhat less than a woman”7.

Concluding on all the information related above, it should be stated that Elizabeth I of England is a very successful monarch in the history of England whose wisdom and thinking ability separated her from the other representatives of her dynasty. The queen is especially famous for her “avoidance” strategy in postponing important decisions for “a better day”. Such strategy allowed her to see all the consequences of her decisions, to understand who can be classified as her real supporters and who can be seen as a dangerous enemy. The queen is also famous for outstanding love for her country and her nation which enabled her to sacrifice her own interests for the benefit of England.

Works Cited

“A Tudor Man about Town; the Earl of Leicester Was the Man Who Almost Swept Queen Elizabeth I off Her Feet. Chris Upton Explores His Relationship with the People of His Midland Empire.” The Birmingham Post (England). 2011: 28. Web.

Elizabeth. The Golden Speech of Queen Elizabeth to Her Last Parliament, 30 November, Anno Domini, 1601. London: Printed by Tho. Milbourn, and are to be sold at his house in Jewen-Street, 1659.

“Virgin Queen? She Was a Right Royal Minx! Nightly Visits to a Courtier’s Bedroom. Outrageous Flirting and Jealous Rages – with a Servant Paid Hush Money to Cover It All Up. A Major New Series Reveals the Secret Passions of Elizabeth I; Elizabeth and the Men She Loved.” The Daily Mail (London, England). 2011: 22. Web.

Warnicke, Retha. “Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics: Did It Matter the Fifth Tudor Monarch Was a Woman Rather Than a Man? Retha Warnicke Investigates”. History Review 58 (2007): 30 – 42. Print.

Footnotes

  1. Warnicke, Retha. “Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics: Did It Matter the Fifth Tudor Monarch Was a Woman Rather Than a Man? Retha Warnicke Investigates”. History Review 58 (2007): 30 – 42. Print.
  2. Warnicke, Retha. “Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics: Did It Matter the Fifth Tudor Monarch Was a Woman Rather Than a Man? Retha Warnicke Investigates”. History Review 58 (2007): 30 – 42. Print.
  3. Warnicke, Retha. “Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics: Did It Matter the Fifth Tudor Monarch Was a Woman Rather Than a Man? Retha Warnicke Investigates”. History Review 58 (2007): 30 – 42. Print.
  4. “Virgin Queen? She Was a Right Royal Minx! Nightly Visits to a Courtier’s Bedroom. Outrageous Flirting and Jealous Rages – with a Servant Paid Hush Money to Cover It All Up. A Major New Series Reveals the Secret Passions of Elizabeth I; Elizabeth and the Men She Loved.” The Daily Mail (London, England). 2011: 22. Web.
  5. Elizabeth. The Golden Speech of Queen Elizabeth to Her Last Parliament, 30 November, Anno Domini, 1601. London: Printed by Tho. Milbourn, and are to be sold at his house in Jewen-Street, 1659.
  6. “Virgin Queen? She Was a Right Royal Minx! Nightly Visits to a Courtier’s Bedroom. Outrageous Flirting and Jealous Rages – with a Servant Paid Hush Money to Cover It All Up. A Major New Series Reveals the Secret Passions of Elizabeth I; Elizabeth and the Men She Loved.” The Daily Mail (London, England). 2011: 22. Web.
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