Tag Archives: Elizabeth I of England
Once those pioneering sailors had brought news of strange new lands, all sorts of others saw opportunities of exploiting them in various ways. Martin Frobisher, a Yorkshireman, wanted to find a better route to China than round the southern tip of Africa or South America. He knew that the huge American continent lay in the way of going west, but he wondered whether might be a short cut, a north-west passage over the shoulder of North America into the China Sea.
Well aware of this increase in realism, Henry VIII decided to choose his fourth wife from her portrait. Traditionally, dynastic marriages were arranged between (often teenage or even pre-teen) parties who may never even have seen one another before the ceremony – they were pawns in power plays, and personal preference did not have much to do with it. Henry, however, in middle age, felt free to be choosy; he sent an artist to paint pictures of Europe’s most eligible young ladies.
Elizabeth I of England gained iconic status as the Virgin Queen. By refusing to bow to convention and take a husband who might rule for her, she carved out a role as one of the most formidable monarchs that England had ever seen. While this may have been a conscious political decision on Elizabeth’s part, she had been profoundly influenced by the experiences of her female relations and rivals.