“Bloody Mary,” daughter of Henry VIII, reigned five years, during which time her government sentenced 300 people to death.
On Oct. 16, 1555, facing their execution, Bishop Hugh Latimer exhorted Nicholas Ridley: “Play the man, Master Ridley. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
When Mary died, Nov. 17, 1558, her half-sister Elizabeth became queen. Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, replied at her coronation in 1558, when questioned as to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament:
Christ was the Word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it,
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.
Elizabeth stated: “There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles.”
Elizabeth continued the Church of England begun when her father, Henry VIII, separated from Rome. “Puritans” objected that the Anglican Church did not separate enough.
During Elizabeth’s 45 year reign:
- Shakespeare wrote plays
- Francis Bacon began the scientific revolution
- Sir Walter Raleigh began a colony he named Virginia, in honor of the “Virgin Queen Elizabeth”
Elizabeth told William Lambarde in 1601: “He that will forget God, will also forget his benefactors.”
Virginia’s Charter, 1584, stated: “Elizabeth, by the Grace of God of England … Defender of the Faith … grant to our trusty and well beloved servant Walter Raleigh … to discover … barbarous lands … not actually possessed of any Christian Prince, nor inhabited by Christian People. …”
Virginia’s Charter continued: “Upon … finding … such remote lands … it shall be necessary for the safety of all men … to live together in Christian peace. … Ordinances … agreeable to … the laws…of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith.”
In 1588, the Invincible Spanish Armada sailed to invade England. The Spanish Armada consisted of 130 ships, 1,000 iron guns, 1,500 brass guns, 7,000 sailors, 18,000 soldiers, plus 30,000 soldiers from the Spanish Netherlands.
Queen Elizabeth told her troops, Aug. 19, 1588: “Let tyrants fear. … I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that … Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm. … I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general. … Your valour … shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.”
The smaller, more maneuverable English vessels proved difficult for the Spanish to catch. At midnight, July 28, 1588, Sir Francis Drake set eight English ships on fire and floated them downwind to the closely anchored Spanish ships. In a panic, the Spanish ships cut anchor, and then were hit by a hurricane. With Spain’s Armada destroyed, its monopoly of the seas ended, England was established as a major European power, and Holland, Sweden, and France joined in founding colonies in America.
Queen Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch, stated in 1566: “I am your Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.”
Queen Elizabeth told the House of Commons in the “Golden Speech,” Nov. 30, 1601: “Though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves. … I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people. … The title of a King is a glorious title, but … we well know … that we also are to yield an account of our actions before the Great Judge.”
When rumors arose of a plot to assassinate her, Elizabeth executed dozens, including sadly her cousin who was under her protection, Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scots was the mother of James VI, who became England’s next monarch. King James I was noted among other things for the Jamestown Colony and the King James Bible.
Responding to Parliament regarding succession after her death, Elizabeth stated: “I know I am but mortal and so therewhilst prepare myself for death, whensoever it shall please God to send it.”
Elizabeth died March 24, 1603. Of her epitaph, Queen Elizabeth I said: “I am no lover of pompous title, but only desire that my name may be recorded in a line or two, which shall express my name, my virginity, the years of my reign, and the reformation of religion under it.”
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