Elizabeth I: Court

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  • Elizabeth and Court
    • government through patronage
      • power came from the top down
      • God appointed the Queen
        • who chose nobles to help her rule
          • who appointed the gentry to help locally
      • patronage meant that friendship and favour counted more than talent
      • personal relationships were important
    • the court
      • nobles and higher gentry met at Whitehall, Windsor, Richmond, Greenwich etc
      • some got accommodation at court and others built houses nearby
      • Mary I was criticised for isolating herself so Elizabeth I was seen in public often
      • court had dances, plays, feasts, open-air sermons, jousting tournaments and  hunting expeditions
      • the Queen relied on the nobles to keep the peace and they relied on her for power
      • patronage was offered to a wide range of nobles to deter rebellions
      • although she was protestant, she allowed some power to catholics
    • the privy chamber
      • most time spent here
        • treading; talking; playing music or cards
      • looked after by ladies-in-waiting
        • informed her of conversations at court
      • only most trusted courtiers allowed
    • the privy council
      • met almost every day but didn't always attend
      • advised on finance, trade, law, defence
      • enacted policies
      • selected directly by the Queen
      • limited to 19 members, 7-8 at most meetings, had different viewpoints
      • used her temper, sometimes attended
    • secretaries of state
      • Sir Francis Walsingham
        • in office 1572-90
        • strong puritan
        • servant of state not Queen, wanted to repress catholics
        • had a fit and was made to keep working
          • died 4 days later
          • Elizabeth didn't grieve
      • Sir William Cecil
        • in office 1558-72 and 1590-98
        • moderate protestant
        • ready to repress catholics, thoughtful and charming
        • well-trusted by the Queen but she did rebuke him
        • persuaded Elizabeth to execute Mary Queen of Scots
        • died of exhaustion
          • Elizabeth was very sad
    • the rebellion of the Earl of Essex
      • Robert Devereux was good friends with Elizabeth
      • he angered the Queen a few times
        • married without her permission
      • member of the privy council (1593)
      • fell out with William Cecil and his son Robert
      • he led an expedition to put down a rebellion in Ireland and displeased the Queen
      • plotted to put James VI of Scotland as heir
      • tried to rebel in London with 300 men
        • was executed in 1601


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