Elizabeth 1 was born 7. September 1533 and died 23. March 1603. Elizabeth was the queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. She was sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne’s marriage to Henry was annulled, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate.
Her half-brother Edward ruled to his death and ignored the claim of his two half-sisters, in spite of statue law to the contrary. Edwards will of bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey was set aside and his half-sister Mary became queen.
Elisabeth was imprisoned for a year under Mary’s reign on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. In 1558 upon Mary’s death, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel.
One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. And as a queen, she was expected to find a man, marry and produce an heir. She never did. Elizabeth’s reign became known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.