Sunday, March 24, 2013

On This Day in Elizabethan History: The Death of Queen Elizabeth I

The wooden head of a funeral effigy of Queen Elizabeth I.

On this day in 1603, after 44 years on the throne of England, Queen Elizabeth I passed away at the age of 69 at Richmond Palace. 

The impressive marble effigy of Queen Elizabeth I on her tomb in Westminster Abbey. This photo was shared for public use provided credit was given by Lara E. Eakins of

To read about Queen Elizabeth's final days before her death, and to re-visit the highlights of her illustrious reign, please view our article, The Death of Queen Elizabeth I, and the End of the Elizabethan Era.

The funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth I, circa 1603. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

Rest in Peace, Queen Elizabeth I. It was an honor to share your legacy with others yesterday when I presented two of my original BeingBess programs, Queen Elizabeth I Addresses Her Troops at Tilbury, and In Her Own Words: An Audience With Queen Elizabeth I at The Higgins Armory Museum.

The author as Queen Elizabeth I presenting one of her original BeingBess programs on 3/23/13. Photo by L.Jensen.

What do you find most impressive about Queen Elizabeth I or her reign? Please share your opinion below so that together, we can celebrate her memory!


  1. Elizabeth saw what happened to her father's multiple wives when they "failed" in some way. She also saw what happened to her sister, Mary, when she made a ill-fated match with a Spaniard, and thus alienating England.

    She was a keen observer of people and politics and knew where her sister made major mistakes. She knew how to use her wit, intelligence, charm and sexuality to keep people, diplomats and countries guessing - and thus mostly kept peace in England.
    Sadly, in the end, this also kept her away from marrying her one true love.

  2. First of all, let me express my delight at your chosen screen name, ElizabethR1533!

    Secondly, I agree with your assessment that Elizabeth Tudor was a keen observer of people and relationships, a skill no doubt honed in her traumatic childhood and difficult adolescence. She learned from her relatives many mistakes, especially concerning matrimony and foreign policy. She was a master at PR and diplomacy, and as you stated, "She knew how to use her wit, intelligence, charm and sexuality to keep people, diplomats and countries guessing - and thus mostly kept peace in England."

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, ElizabethR1533!

  3. Janae J. writes on the BeingBess Facebook page,

    "One thing that always impressed me about Queen Elizabeth I was her loyalty. She grew up watching her father lop off the heads of people who had served him well and is may be one reason she cultivated and maintained such long and devoted advisers. Also, I admire how she stood up to Philip of Spain (who broke her sister's heart) and defeated the Spanish Armada. I don't think she antagonized him for so many years just for gold: I think she always remembered Mary's dashed hopes and dreams and Philip's disregard for Mary. Elizabeth ruled with both her heart and her head, making England strong both as a nation and as a people."

    To which I replied,

    "I agree with you, Janae-Queen Elizabeth's dedication to her people has always stood out to me as one of her most admirable qualities as a ruler. Queen Elizabeth prided herself on being accessible to all of her subjects, a practice which her councilors deemed rather reckless, especially in the midst of so many Catholic assassination plots. Elizabeth took great care to visit with the common people during her annual progresses, and she founded more grammar schools than any of her predecessors, thus affording more educational opportunities to the middle classe. Like her father and grandfather, she promoted "new men" of merit to positions at court, and she did everything in her power to please as many of her subjects as possible, irregardless of social class or religious conviction. She truly married herself to England, as she herself said, and became a mother to her people!"

  4. Linda M.U.H. writes on the BeingBess Facebook page,

    "She should have secretly wed her Robin. Who could have resisted him?"

    To which I replied,

    "I certainly could not have resisted him,Linda! But one could never keep a secret like that at court for very long, especially if one was the Queen! I have no doubt Elizabeth and Robin loved one another dearly; author Sarah Gristwood's book is the best book I have ever read about their unique and powerful relationship."

  5. Norbert R. writes on the BeingBess Facebook page,

    "Hail and Farewell Ms. Tudor, you were a model CEO and a master at PR, You showed taste, courage, judgement, and given your time, great humanity,and love of your country"

    And I couldn't agree more!

  6. I think the most impressive about her is that she survived all the dangers of her youth, especially the reign of Mary. Some officials were even considering plans to kill her (Bishop Gardiner). No wonder she saw her accession as miraculous!

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  9. @AllThingsRobertDudley Hello Christine! I agree with your statement wholeheartedly; Elizabeth survived seemingly insurmountable odds, so I think that she genuinely believed she had been preserved through a traumatic youth and dangerous adolescence to become Queen of England.

    As you pointed out, Bishop Gardiner was in favor of taking drastic action against Elizabeth. Thank goodness Mary I listened to her husband in the end; Philip persuaded Mary to rethink her decision to do away with Elizabeth. Of course, Philip wasn't acting out of any genuine concern, but instead he was motivated by the fear of losing England in the event of his wife's early death. Philip wanted to preserve Elizabeth as a potential ally or potential future wife. And we all know how that turned out...