- from Shakespeare
Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled during Shakespeare’s life, was probably the greatest monarch ever to sit upon the English throne.
During her reign (1558–1603), England became a first-rate power with a strong navy. Commerce, industry, and the arts flourished. However, Elizabeth almost didn’t make it to the throne. Her father, Henry VIII, beheaded her mother for treason, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. But at the age of 25, as Henry’s only surviving heir, Elizabeth was crowned queen of England by an act of Parliament. Strong-willed and well educated, she inspired her people. On the eve of the Spanish invasion, Elizabeth, dressed in armor, addressed her soldiers: “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.”