I’d wanted to write about Queen Elizabeth I for some time and now that Queen Elizabeth II has died, it may be a good time to do so. The times were very different…
The recent beloved Queen of England was the head of a huge royal business which she managed astutely. As far as we know, she never ordered the death of anyone. However, the first Queen Elizabeth had absolute power.
Does someone really love you when you have unlimited wealth? And absolute power? And would he stick around if a gal won’t say ‘yes’?
The Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, the first Elizabeth’s lover, was in such a position. She moved his bedchamber next to hers in 1559, but chose not to marry.
The poor guy needed the security of a wealthy marriage. He took the opportunity to wed Countess Frances Burke, widow of the successful English writer Sir Philip Sidney. He may have believed he would still be welcomed in the Queen’s bed.
Essex overestimated his charm and in 1601 he had a really bad day. Elizabeth had him beheaded. So much for making decisions without the first Elizabeth’s permission.
Poor Elizabeth I. Her face had been badly scarred by smallpox. She managed to live to 70, a good age then even though she wore a thick paste of vinegar and lead to cover it. She must have had plenty of cream underneath but one wonders about the many British ladies who also adopted the dangerous style.
I sometimes wonder if Mary, Queen of Scots infuriated Elizabeth I further just by being beautiful. What think you?