In January 1559 Elizabeth the first was crowned Queen of England.
She was the last of the great Tudor dynasty.
A bright star who dazzled both a nation and the world.
The achievement of most stars fades quickly.
But Elizabeth's has lasted nearly four centuries, and it's easy to see why.
She reigned for forty-five tremulous years.
Her ships defeated The Spanish Armada and sailed around the globe.
In her time Shakespeare wrote plays and Spencer wrote poems.
English noblemen and foreign Princes wooed her.
But she the Virgin Queen made love to that loyalist of audiences, the English people.
Elizabeth was one of the daughter of King Henry the eighth.
But the right of women to succeed to the throne
was still in doubt and her path there would be perilous.
Her father would kill her mother and she will be disinherited.
Her sister would imprison her in the tower and threaten her with execution.
Men would love her for her royal status and not for herself.
She will be sexually abused by her own step-father.
Most monarchs are handed their crowns on a plate.
Elizabeth got hers by cunning and courage.
Elizabeth's sex was a dissapointment to Henry.
Astrologists had assured him that the baby to be born
in September 1533 would be a boy.
He already had one daughter,
the seventeen year old Mary. What he wanted was a son, an heir.
But although Elizabeth was a girl, the magnificent christening planned for the longed for Prince
went ahead. Every detail had been seen to down to the brazier to warn the water in the font.
She was even proclaimed Princess, the title of the heir to the throne.
PRIEST: "Elizabeth *prays in another language* Amen"
*CRYING* According to the French Ambassador
the whole occasion was so perfect that nothing was lacking.
Actually, things were far from perfect at Elizabeth's baptism.
Because Elizabeth was the child of a second marriage,
and Henry's second marriage like many second marriages today
aroused very strong feelings.
For instance the Imperial Ambassador refused point blank to attend the baptism.
He even refused to recognize Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother as Henry's wife.
Instead he sneeringly referred to her as, The Whore.
And as for little Elizabeth she was, The Bastard.
Even one of the officiating clergy when he was asked, had been baptized in hot water or cold?
Replied... Hot, but not hot enough.
Henry divorced his first wife Catherine of Aragon because she had not given him a son.
But now her replacement Anne Boleyn was having her own gynecological problems.
After two miscarriages she finally had a baby boy, but it was stillborn.
Anne had failed in her principal duty as royal breeding machine.
Meanwhile Henry had fallen in love with another woman, Jane Seymour.
For Anne the end came with terrifying swiftness.
She was accused of multiple adultery with four of the gentlemen of the King's chamber
and of incest with her own brother.
All of the accused were found guilty, and Anne herself was executed here on Tower Green
on the nineteenth of May 1536.
Henry showed a single gesture of mercy toward the woman he once loved so much.
And her head was removed with a single stroke, with a sword, rather than being hacked off with the ax.
Elizabeth was only three when her mother was executed as a traitor and a whore.
For many children this would have been a life long trauma.
But Elizabeth seems to have airbrushed her mother from her memory.
It was to be Henry, who filled her world.
Anne Boleyn's fall marked a major step down in world for the young Elizabeth.
Her parents marriage was declared null and void.
She was now illegitimate and unable to inherit the throne.
So instead of the right high and might Princess. The lady Elizabeth, inheritrix of the crown of England .
She became the Lady Elizabeth, the King's second bastard daughter.
Elizabeth's sudden loss of status thew the little court where she had been brought up into confusion.
Even her Governess, Lady Bryan didn't know what to do
and wrote to the King's minister Thomas Cromwell for guidance.
How should the little girl be treated?
By the way, could she please have some more clothes?
She's outgrown absolutely everything she had.
But above all, where should she eat?
Was she old enough to eat here, in the great hall?
Served on the dais, or should she continue to eat in her chamber
where it would be easier to keep her away from the rich foods that are so bad for her teeth and her digestion?
Whatever her status, no one could forget that Elizabeth was Anne Boleyn's daughter.
And it was in order to marry Anne that Henry had broken away from Rome
and made himself head of The Church in England.
It was a revolution and one of it's victims was the monasteries.
They were amongst the greatest English land owners.
Their assets were seized and their buildings dismantled.
One of them was Glastonbury Abbey,
then the largest church in England.
When I look out from my church across the other side of the road from these ruins
I'm filled with a feeling or a sense of sadness, a sense of loss,
sense of disbelief to a degree
that such destruction could have taken place in a country that
was supposedly very religions and Catholic.
This Abbey here was a place of pilgrimage.
The Abbey contained a statue of a lady, that Catholics would call Saint Mary.
And people would have come from far and wide to pay their respects to, to say their prayers,
to make their offerings and ask for various helps.
Within the space of nine years from the reformation
dissolution of the monasteries ,
this went from being one of the most grandest Catholic churches in this country
to pretty well what we see around it today.
Hardly one stone on top of another.
The damage to the Catholic church wasn't just physical
it was spiritual too.
Out of these ruins would grow a new Protestant faith.
Henry's religious revolution would divide his county and his family.
Henry had now embarked on his third marriage, to Jayne Seymour.
In just over a year she gave him the son that he craved
Edward, legitimate, and a boy was now undoubted heir.
*Christening taking place in the background in another language*
Elizabeth was his half sister, was no more than a minor royal.
She had once been Princess herself. Now she was an attendant at her baby brothers christening.
She also lost her governess to Edward.
As Lady Bryan was transferred to look after the young Prince.
Her replacement was Kat Ashley,
a well educated and devout woman who became very close to Elizabeth.
Her father on the other hand scarcely saw her.
For royal children like Elizabeth were brought up in the country away from the royal court.
There Henry communicated with here by messenger.
In December 1539 he sent Sir Thomas Wriothesley to convey his Christmas greetings.
She gave humble thanks, inquiring again of his majesty's welfare
and that with as great a gravity as she had been forty years old.
Children in the 16th Century has to join the starched and corseted adult world as quickly as possible.
They're expected to look like their parents and to behave like them.
Even slight misnomers were severely punished.
One royal tutor advised, never have the rod off a boy's back.
And the daughter especially should be handled without cherishing.
But Elizabeth was lucky her tutors belonged to the new school
which thought that kindness was a better teacher than the cane.
But then the young Princess was a model pupil.
And she studied languages from the age of four. She became fluent in French, Italian, Latin and Greek.
*Young Elizabeth can be heard speaking in other languages*
But it was how she learned languages that mattered as well.
She was taught by the method of double translation.
This means that the little girl had to translate a passage from Latin into English,
and then back again into Latin, getting it absolutely right word for word.
Now for most children this kind of this kind of thing would have been an absolute torment.
but Elizabeth seems to have reveled in it.
She must have had the mind of a computer programmer, or an expert solver of crossword puzzles
because she continued to do translations for the whole of the rest of her life.
She did them for fun, for relaxation,
but she also did them as a kind of mental discipline
to keep her emotions under control.
Just as nowadays people might practice yoga or medication.
Elizabeth was the kind of daughter of whom any father would be proud.
And this painting shows Henry's confidence in her. It commemorates his decision in 1944
to reinstated both his daughters in the succession.
No woman had ever sat on the English throne before.
Now if Edward died without an heir, first Mary and the Elizabeth would become Queen.
Henry then sailed to France to fight a war,
leaving his wife Catherine Parr as regent in charge of the Kingdom.
Elizabeth now witnessed first hand
an intelligent, well educated woman could rule effectively.
At about this time Elizabeth acquired a new tutor, Roger Ash.
He worked with the brightest minds in Cambridge
but he found Elizabeth more than their equal.
The Lady Elizabeth shines like a star.
The constitution of her mind is exempt from female weakness,
no apprehension can be quicker than hers.
She demonstrated her abilities in an extraordinary New Years gift for her father.
It'a work of pro's but it shows the twelve year old girl
to have been in her way just as much of a child prodigy as the young Mozart.
It's bound in red cloth of gold
heavily embroidered with Henry's initials top and bottom.
and while you can actually see it more clearly on the back
in the middle a cypher
that's the interlaced initials for Henry and Katherine spelled with a K, Katherine Parr
The cover is the work of a professional embroiderer
but inside it's all Elizabeth's own work.
And what work!
Page after page of perfect beautify rhythmic Italic
beautify rhythmic Italic handwriting.
It shows just how far she'd come on in a year.
Her new years present of the year before to her step mother
is filled with mistakes, corrections, second thoughts.
But here, nothing.
First the Latin, then the French, then the Italian
not a mistake, not a mistranslation, not a blot,
But it's the introductory letter that takes us into Elizabeth's own mind.
She addresses her father
a very striking phrase, matchless
and most kind father.
She even has her own views on the importance of the state of Kingship.
The state of Kingship
which philosophers say is equivalent to that of a god upon earth.
In love with her father, perhaps
even more in love with the idea of the monarchy.
Elizabeth had never been more secure in her role status she basked in Henry's attention.
In 1546 she had this portrait painted for him.
And shows her as she wished to be seen by her father.
So she is studious, one finger marking a page in a book.
She's pious, the book open on the lecturn beside her is certainly the Bible.
She is the virtuous renaissance Princess.
But this tranquility could not last.
Henry her father was dying.
At thirteen Elizabeth was about to lose
the giant of a father whom she revered.
Next decade would be the most threatening period of her life.
Christmas 1546 was a gloomy one at court.
For a long time the King had suffered from an old jousting injury to his leg
which had turned into a chronic ulcer.
Puss would build up causing the leg to swell.
The pain was intense.
On the 30th of December Henry complete his will
and then the decent was swift.
As Henry laid dying in his bed chamber
outside in the long gallery Edward Seymour
Prince Edwards Uncle was pacing up and down with his advisers
they were plotting the takeover of power in the new reign
Towards two o'clock in the morning Heny died
clutching the hands of Archbishop Cranmer, Elizabeth's godfather.
To make sure there was a smooth transfer of power
Henry's death was kept secret for three full days.
Finally all was ready and Seymour brought together Edward now Edward the Sixth and his favorite sister Elizabeth
and told them that their father was dead.
One account describes how the two children threw themselves into each others arms
Little King Edward the sixth had stepped into his fathers shoes
but they were several sizes too big for him.
He was just nine years old
and to begin with her was the pawn of his powerful royal councils,
and so was Elizabeth
her father's will had left her rich
and her place in the line of the succession
made her a temping target.
One man in particular, Thomas Seymour had his eyes on her.
They Seymour brothers as Uncle's to the young King were the most powerful family in the land.
Thomas the younger brother was bitterly jealous of his elder brother Edward
because Edward had made himself Duke of Somerset and Lord protect.
Edward built Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon
still owned by his decedent John Seymour.
Thomas I think was a wonderfully flamboyant an colorful character
like his brother he was very ambitious
and he took the most of the opportunities that were presented to him.
He was headstrong, I think he probably didn't think a great deal about
uhm, what was going to happen as a result of his actions.
But he was undoubtedly out of favor himself
and make the most of his opportunities in his life, which he did.
Thomas plotted his advancement to power
from his base Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.
His first idea was to marry one of Henry the eighth's daughters
either Mary or Elizabeth would have done.
The counsel vetoed that idea so Seymour went for the next best thing and proposed to Henry's widow, Catherine Parr.
Catherine had already been passionately in love with him even before she married Henry
so she accepted him like a shot.
Elizabeth was living with Catherine
so this meant that Seymour wasn't only her stepfather
he was also her guardian,
it was a position of trust which he abused, shockingly.
At first Catherine Parr's involvement made Seymour's game seem innocent enough.
Elizabeth found Seymour an intriguing playmate.
He was forty and she was just fourteen.
But Seymour saw a relationship with Elizabeth
as a means of drawing closer to the throne.
His game grew darker.
Catherine Parr was deceived by these antics
but Kat Ashley was worried.
He romped with her in the garden and cut her gown into a hundred pieces.
Seymour now got hold of the key to Elizabeth's bedroom.
He would come into her room partly dressed early in the morning,
sometimes he would tickle her and slap her buttocks.
THOMAS SEYMOUR: "Good Morning, my lady."
Elizabeth was confused by Seymour's behavior
and by her reaction to it.
Seymour was a handsome sexually charged man
and she was flattered by his attentions
but she was also scared by them.
So sometimes she'd behave it was all a game and play hide and seek behind the curtains of the bed.
On other occasions though Elizabeth would react as her maidenly modesty had been outraged
She'd get up early and make sure that she was dressed
as to avoid Seymour's attentions.
On the other hand Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess knew exactly what was going on.
But when she reproved Seymour for risking Elizabeth's reputation he brazened it out.
He had no intention of stopping his behavior he said
because he meant no harm by it.
But when Catherine Parr became pregnant
Seymour's flirtation with Elizabeth
grew more serious.
At first Catherine could not believe what was happening.
Finally she was left in no doubt.
CATHERINE PARR: "My Lord?"
ELIZABETH: "Your grace."
Following a painful interview during which Elizabeth hardly spoke
her step mother sent her away.
It was the last time Elizabeth saw Catherine.
When she moved to Sudeley to have the baby
Elizabeth wrote her to wishing her luck.
But Catherine died shortly after the birth of her child.
And she was buried here at Sudeley.
In her final delirium all her fears and jealousies about Seymour's behavior had revived.
With very good reason because Seymour soon renewed his suit to marry Elizabeth.
And this time he had the powerful backing of Kat Ashley
Elizabeth herself too was enthusiastic
but she had the good sense to say firmly
that she wouldn't consider the marriage without the backing of the counsel.
Seymour for his part hotheaded and impetuous as usual
was too impatient to wait.
Thomas was becoming more and more
attain some personal power
and to further his career and
one way of doing this was to
get Edward, the King, the young King
completely on his side.
And I think he decided that he was going to
actually abduct the King.
And as he lived in the neighboring apartment it was very easy for him to
have conversations and meeting with the young King.
how it happened I don't think it's really clear but
we do know that he was found in the King's apartment
with a sword in his hand.
The spaniel, one of the many spaniels I think that
the young King had, uhm started to bark
and I suppose in desperation
Thomas ran it through with his sword.
And there was a great kerfuffle and noise and uh
people burst in and Thomas was arrested.
Seymour was charged with treason.
His relationship with Elizabeth made her a suspect too.
A team of interrogators descended on Hatfield
to discover whether she'd been plotting with him.
Her closest confidant
Kat Ashley was arrested and taken to the tower.
Under threat of torture she described the scandalous events of the previous summer.
Her evidence was now used word for word against Elizabeth.
MALE READING ACCUSATIONS: "Another time at Hanworth he romped with
her in the garden.
and cut her gown
bringing black cloth to a hundred pieces.
And when I came and cheered Lady Elizabeth
she assured me she could not strive with all
for the Queen held her
while the Lord Admiral cut the dress.
Suspecting the often access of the Admiral
to the Lady Elizabeth
came suddenly upon them where they were all alone.
He having her in his arms."
Despite the evidence Elizabeth refused to admit any wrongdoing.
Then a rumor began that she was pregnant by Seymour.
She complained bitterly to Somerset.
ELIZABETH: "Master Tyrwhitt and others
have told me that go with rumors abroad that I am in the tower
and with child by my Lord Admiral.
These are shameful slanders.
I shall most haughtily desire your Lordship that
I may come to the court.
that I may show myself as I am."
Tyrwhitt told Somerset he was sure she was guilty but he could prove nothing.
Elizabeth had survived the crisis.
But Seymour's guilt was clear.
In March 1549 Somerset signed his brothers death warrant and Seymour was beheaded on tower hill.
Elizabeth's brush with Thomas Seymour marked a turning point in her young life.
It was a brutal initiation into the world of adult politics and adult sexuality.
She'd learned the hard way
that a sexual relationship, even a close friendship
might mean danger, perhaps death.
She knew now that when a man approached her
he got his eyes on the throne as much as on her.
From this point onwards she trusted almost nobody.
She kept her own counsel and she concealed her true thoughts.
It was her defense against a hostile world.
Elizabeth was left alone in the peaceful solitude of Hatfield.
Here she continued her studies,
she also indulged a passion for writing and hunting.
The clean air and exercise were a welcome antidote
to the headaches and sickness that had plagued her during the investigation
and would reoccur throughout her life during moments of stress.
At about this time Elizabeth's French tutor, John Balmain
gave her as a present his translation
of Saint Basil's epistol the Great Gregory on the virtues of the single life.
The saints argument was that marriage distracted the soul
from the worship of God.
Bearing in mind her recent experiences with Thomas Seymour
Elizabeth was well aware
of the practical political advantages of celibacy too.
It was the same with the rest of the saints arguments
about the need for temperance and sobriety of dress.
Elizabeth created a sensation at court by tuning up with her hair straight,
her face unmade up, and virtually no jewelry.
She was rehabilitating herself after the disaster of the Seymour affair
by playing the quaker maid.
There was more to it than just image
Elizabeth was caught up in the new Protestant mood in England.
The crosses and candles of the Catholic faith
were being stripped from alters everywhere.
New faith had the enthusiastic backing
of Elizabeth's brother, the young King Edward.
But by 1553 the young King was dying of tuberculosis
He was desperate to stop the religious reforms
being undone by his Catholic sister Mary
who would succeed under the terms of their father's will.
So he excluded her from the succession because she was a bastard.
But if Mary was a bastard, so too was Elizabeth.
Instead Edwards chose a Protestant cousin to succeed him
the fifteen year old Lady Jane Grey.
Anxiously, Elizabeth waited with her armed followers at Hatfield to see what would happen next.
In July 1553 Edward died
Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen
and Elizabeth and Mary were denounced as bastards.
But Mary was Henry's elder daughter
and in the eyes of the people she was rightful Queen.
She was supported by many of England's leading families.
So Henry Bedingfeld a substantial lawful land owner was one of the first to rally to Mary's banner.
His descendant still lived at Oxborough Hall.
So Henry at Oxborough gathered together
one hundred and sixty men
armed as they say cap-à-pie
that is to say with a certain amount of armor, leather jerkins,
swords certainly, and I'm sure a few horses.
His role is then to take this small group of people
to first of all Kenninghall where other
units such as his were joining up to make an army.
And then from there to Framlingham where the army swelled,
uh and they marched from there
to London with Queen Mary.
Princess Elizabeth joined them on route.
And as custom dictated at the gates
of the City of London they left the army behind.
And uh Elizabeth and Mary rode into the City of London
to wild rejoicing and cheers from the crowd.
In the face of this overwhelming support for Mary the opposition collapsed.
Lady Jane Grey was later beheaded at the tower.
On July the nineteenth 1553
Mary was proclaimed Queen.
Her vision was to lead England back to the true Catholic faith.
Elizabeth's Protestantism marked her out as a potential enemy.
For the first two months of Mary's reign Elizabeth contrived to avoid going to mass.
Finally Mary issued an ultimatum,
Elizabeth was to attend mass on the eighth of September the day of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin.
Cornered at last Elizabeth sough a personal interview with Mary at Richmond.
She threw herself on her knees before the Queen
tears steaming down her face,
She explained that she'd never been taught the old faith and please could she have priests instruct her.
Oh yes, and she would go to mass.
But on the morning she developed a diplomatic chill
and rather spoiled the solemnity of the occasion
by complaining loudly of a bad stomach ache.
Neither Mary or anyone else was deceived
Well Mary and Elizabeth had quite different attitudes to their respective religions
Mary of the old religion
would have had a slightly uhm
mechanistic expression of her religion not that she wasn't devout, and spiritual and prayerful
I'm sure she was all those things.
But her religion involved doing things
Pilgrimages, saying the rosary, going places, making signs of the cross, and so on.
For Elizabeth those things didn't take, didn't feature at all, in her faith.
People of a new religion would have been much more
Bible based and would have interpreted the Bible
in the light of their own reason and understanding
rather than relying on an authority from Rome telling them what the Bible actually meant.
Mary now tried to guarantee the Catholic future of England
by marrying King Philip of Spain.
But Mary's passionate love for a foreign Prince was deeply unpopular.
and Philips envoys were pelted with snowballs.
Mary brushed aside the protests.
Elizabeth now became a figure head for Mary's opponents.
Early in 1554 she received a letter from a gentleman called Sir Thomas Wyatt.
He told her that intended to rebel to prevent the Spanish marriage.
Elizabeth didn't reply in writing
instead she told Wyatt's messenger with careful ambiguity,
that she would do as God directed her.
Within days Wyatt had raised an army of seven thousand men in the south east
and marched on London
as Wyatt's army drew closer to the Capitol
there was panic in Mary's court.
Mary ordered Elizabeth to come White Hall where she could be kept under control.
But Elizabeth claimed she was ill.
Mary's Doctor's confirmed the illness
but said never the less that she was well enough to travel.
It took her eleven days
to cover the twenty three miles to London.
By the time she arrived Wyatt's rebellion had collapsed,
he had over estimated support for his cause.
Wyatt was beheaded and quartered on Tower Hill.
But first Elizabeth was detained and interrogated at White Hall.
Then it was decided to send her to the tower.
The night before the journey Elizabeth wrote to Mary.
She was writing for her life.
ELIZABETH: " I most humbly beseech Your Majesty that I be not condemned without without answer and due proof.
Which it seems that I now am.
But without cause proved I am commanded to go to the tower.
Place more wanted for a false traitor than a true subject."
This is the letter that Elizabeth writes
this most desperate moment of her life.
She begins with a fine firm clear hand.
But gradually as the pressure of circumstances gets to her,
remember she though that she only days, perhaps hours before she was executed.
The handwriting becomes loser and more irregular,
she makes mistakes and then she corrects them.
But finally she's run out of things to say
and time to say them in, and still
she's only a quarter the way down the second page.
Then as a primitive security device
to stop anyone forging her handwriting and making incriminating additions to the letter
she draws long diagonal strokes that almost fill up the page.
They leave just space on the very bottom for a post script.
I humbly crave but only one word with yourself.
Summarizes the entire letter.
And then at the right she signs off
Your highness's most faithful subject
from the beginning and shall be till my end.
Elizabeth's letter was a long one.
Deliberately so, because by the time she had finished
the tide was too high for a boat to be able to make the journey safely to the tower.
She bought herself a few precious hours,
but to no avail.
Mary didn't even deign to reply.
Early the next morning
Elizabeth was road up the river to the tower.
The rain was falling in a stead drizzle.
Elizabeth knew that most of those that made this voyage would never make another.
When Elizabeth landed
the river was very high
and the steps were very slippery.
She found it difficult to keep her feet.
She found it even more difficult to control her terror.
I never thought to come here
I beseech you all my friends and fellows.
Bear witness that I come here no traitor
but as true a subject to the Queen's majesty as any now alive.
At the top of the steps stood the soldiers,
they were there to guard her.
Instead they fell on their knees crying
God save your grace.
This is the room in the bell tower where Elizabeth is supposed to have been imprisoned.
The eight weeks of her captivity in the tower
were the darkest days of her entire life.
As so often happens at moments of psychological crisis she fell ill.
She thought constantly of death
after all she was only a few yards from the spot where her mother had been executed.
She prayed to be delivered from the same fate.
Two months dragged by
still there was no word from Mary.
Elizabeth could only expect the worst.
On the morning of the nineteenth of May 1554
Sir Henry Bedingfield Mary's staunch supporter
arrived at the tower with a hundred men.
Elizabeth believe that she was about to die.
And from Mary's point of view she deserved to.
Mary knew that she had been involved in the Wyatt plot.
But Elizabeth had cleverly covered her tracks.
Without positive proof Mary couldn't risk executing
the heir to the throne.
Bedingfield took Elizabeth too Woodstock Palace neat Oxford.
The relationship that Elizabeth has with Sir Henry was
from Sir Henry's point of view a very professional one.
And from her point of view I should think thoroughly frustrating.
Because he was there with a bunch of keys.
He kept her locked in garden gates were locked
of she wanted to go for a walk, there was, somebody had to accompany her an armed guard.
She couldn't receive anything in case there were messages were involved,
she in fact called him
Elizabeth was locked up for almost a year
before Mary summoned her to court.
The Queen believed that she was pregnant and she wanted
Elizabeth to play a walk on part of the Christening.
But it was a phantom pregnancy and
as his wife sickened Philips attitude to Elizabeth changed.
He thought that he could use her to keep control of England
by marrying her to a friend.
In the Autumn of 1555
Elizabeth got Mary's permission to leave court
and to come here to the peace and security
of her country estate at Hatfield.
She wanted to escape the court
with it's poisonous atmosphere of intrigue and surveillance.
But she also wished to put a metaphorical distance
between herself and the actions of Mary's government.
Because that summer the burning of Protestants had really got underway.
More than three hundred people
met this horrible death during Mary's reign.
A few were lucky,
kind executioners would tie bags of gunpowder to their legs to finish them off quickly.
Most roasted alive.
Every death created a martyr for the Protestant cause,
Making England Catholic wasn't going to be easy.
Sensing that her time was near
Elizabeth fiercely resisted Philips plans to marry her off
to a Catholic Prince, the Duke of Savoy
She would be no ones puppet
Mary was dying but still she resisted
naming Elizabeth as her successor.
Ten days before her death she finally relented
under pressure from her counsel .
It as the seventeenth of November 1558.
Towards noon messengers arrived at Hatfield
to inform Elizabeth that her sister Mary was dead
and that she was now Queen.
The story goes that they found her walking in the park underneath a great Oak tree.
As they fell on their knees before her she too knelt
uttering the words of 118 Psalms:
a Domino factum est istud et hoc
mirabile in oculis nostris
This is the Lord's doing it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Spanish ambassador de Feria told Elizabeth
she owed her throne not to The Lord, but to King Philip.
Elizabeth would have none of it.
She is a very vain and clever woman.
She puts great stall by all the
people who put her in her present position and she will
not acknowledge that your Majesty or the nobility of the realm
had any part in it.
She is determined to be governed by no one.
On Wednesday the twenty third of November
Elizabeth rode through these great gates of the
Charter House in London to take possession of her Capitol.
Her journey from Hatfield had tuned into a
She was accompanied by a great train of a thousand Lord's, Ladies and Gentlemen.
And vast cheering crowds greeted her arrival.
Elizabeth consulted the astrologer Doctor John Dee
Before choosing Sunday the fifteenth of January 1559
for her coronation.
The Queen walked along lengths of blue cloth from Westminster Hall
to the entrance to Westminster Abby.
The crowds behind her fell on the cloth
cutting off pieces as souvenirs.
Today Elizabeth would play the part
that she had understudied so long,
and in what a setting.
Her Christening at Greenwich had been high theater,
but her Coronation in Westminster Abby
would be a performance on the grandest scale.
First Elizabeth was acclaimed by the people
and swore the oath.
Next her outer robes were removed and she knelt solemnly for the anointing.
Bishop Oglethorpe anointed her in the
seven traditional places, on the shoulder blades, on the breasts,
on the palms of the hand, finally
on the crown of the head.
Then she was enthroned,
Successively three different crowns were put on her head
and on her forefinger, a ring as a symbol
of the mystical marriage between Elizabeth and her kingdom.
Tradition, mystery, and symbolism had made
her Queen of England as fully and completely
as any of her predecessors had been King.
Elizabeth at last wore the crown.
Now came the difficult bit.
She'd to show that she could grasp the reality
of power and govern a divided country.
And to do that she'd to disprove
two wide spread assumptions
that no monarch could ever match the achievement of her father
and that no woman could ever make an effective ruler.