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  • Created on: 25-03-19 14:55
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  • Queen, government and religion
    • Situation on Elizabeth's accession
      • Elizabeth was the second child of Henry VIII and the daughter of Anne Boleyn, his second wife. She was part of the Tudor family (House of Tudor).
      • Society was extremely hierarchical (classified into levels) at this time: the queen was at the top of society, surrounded by the royal court and the Privy Council. 19 men sat on the Privy Council, and they met several times each week.
        • There were around 100 nobles who had responsibility for the regions of the country which they owned. The gentry, knights and lawyers came below the nobles and helped to lead the local administrations in the counties.
      • Monarchs were expected to fund the costs of running the country. To raise money through taxes, they needed to call Parliament. This frustrated rulers who did not want Parliament to have too much power.
        • A costly war with France had just come to an end. Elizabeth inherited debts of about 300,000 pounds. Nonetheless, she spent a further 100,000 pounds on arms and munitions due to the threat of further conflict.
      • Elizabeth faced urgent problems when she became queen in 1558.Some people feared that England could be invaded by France or French troops in Scotland.
      • Parliament was called when Elizabeth wanted to consult it.This was usually when money was required for war or when there was a crisis, or when she wanted to levy a tax. Between 1558 and 1588 parliament held only nine sessions.
        • The House of Lords consisted of around 100 lords, bishops and judges.The lower house, the House of Commons, had 450 MPs, elected by wealthy landowners.
        • MP Peter Wentworth was arrested three times for suggesting that MPs should be allowed to express their views on any matter they wanted.
      • A growing merchant class was followed by a large group of yeomen who owned land.
        • Tenant farmers rented from those who owned farmland.
          • At the bottom came labourers, servants and the poor.
      • Even before she became queen, she had faced challenges. She had been accused of conspiring against her half-sister, Queen Mary I.Because of this ‘conspiracy’ she was put under house arrest for almost a year in 1554.
    • Elizabeth's background
      • She had an older sister (Mary I) and younger brother (Edward VI).This meant that she was third in-line to the throne.Because she was third in-line to the throne, not many people expected her to become queen.
      • Her mother, Anne Boleyn, had been executed for treason by her father, Henry VIII.
        • Her elder sister, Queen Mary I of England, saw her as a threat.
      • Henry VIII said that Elizabeth was illegitimate in 1536 when Anne Boleyn was executed.
        • Although, Henry VIII changed his mind, lots of Catholics thought that Elizabeth was illegitimate because the marriage of her parents’ was ‘illegal’ (the marriage was not legitimate because Henry had done it himself).
    • Elizabeth's character
      • Her acceptance of both Catholics and Protestants allowed England to live in peace.
        • Before her, Edward and Mary had both taken extreme positions that had disrupted society.
          • This pragmatism may reflect her intelligence and her good schooling.
      • Elizabeth was more cautious than her father, Henry VIII.
        • Mary Queen of Scots spent years in England, threatening her rule, before she was finally executed.
          • But, her period of rule was successful and she was an intelligent leader.
    • Court and key ministers
      • A few trusted individuals, most of whom were privy councillors (20 people who were the Queen’s most trusted advisors), were the most powerful people at court.
        • Elizabeth made sure that people were loyal using a system of patronage. She awarded titles, land and monetary incentives to make sure that courtiers (members of the royal court) would support her.She used patronage to help to create political stability.
      • Elizabeth could reward courtiers with titles, power and positions of authority without it costing the treasury money.The economy was weak at the start of Elizabeth’s reign and the funds available to win the support of noblemen were small.
    • Difficulties of Elizabeth as a female ruler
      • Many parliamentarians (people in parliament) saw it as their responsibility to find Elizabeth a husband
        • This was seen as important because having a husband was the only way for Elizabeth to produce a legitimate heir.Having an heir would provide stability if Elizabeth were to die. If not, there was a risk of civil war.
          • She rejected many suitors, including King Philip of Spain, King Eric of Sweden, and Archduke Charles of Austria. Some people wanted these suitors to rule for Elizabeth.
            • She could not marry a Catholic, because England was now a Protestant country after the split from Rome.
      • Having a child that could take over as king or queen (an heir) was very important.
        • This put pressure on Elizabeth to marry and have children
    • Mary, Queen of Scots
      • Because Elizabeth did not produce an heir, Mary was next in line for the English throne.
      • In 1567, Mary was accused of murdering her second husband, Lord Darnley (a Scottish nobleman).
      • Because of the murder and the marriage to Bothwell, the Scottish nobles, against Elizabeth’s wishes, rebelled against Mary.She fled to England and abdicated (gave up the throne and her role as monarch). Her son James was crowned King of Scotland when he was 1 year old.
      • Mary was seen as a threat by Elizabeth.Mary was Catholic and was a figurehead for many who wanted England to return to Catholicism.
      • Elizabeth was hesitant to act too harshly. Lots of privy councillors wanted Mary to be executed.Instead, she was held captive for 19 years, whilst an inquiry into the murder of Darnley was done.The Casket Letters (writings between Mary and Bothwell) were used in this inquiry and suggested that they were guilty of murder.
      • The Northern Rebellion and other plots had their roots in Elizabeth’s treatment of Mary, who was a Catholic member of the royal family.The 1586 Babington Plot appeared to involve Mary directly.
      • Mary's son James was crowned King of Scotland when he was 1 year old.


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