Problems facing Elizabeth in 1558

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  • Religion
    • Elizabeth knew religious changes in past caused rebellion
      • Father (Henry VIII) broke with Rome
        • Brother carried on with protestantism
          • Mary I restored Catholicism
    • Problems facing Elizabeth I in 1558
      • Gender
        • People thought a woman meant to be under authority of a man
          • Too weak minded to do things for themselves
        • Mary I started unpopular war for her even more unpopular husband
          • This only reinforced belief over ruling capabilities of a queen
        • Elizabeth either had to marry immediately or prove self by ruling on own
          • Chose to remain virgin queen to prove to her people capable of ruling on own
      • Legitimacy
        • Not only single + female; also considered by some illegitimate
        • Father (Henry VIII) married Anne Boleyn (mother) after divorced wife
          • This meant Catholics saw her  as illegitimate - father's marriage not authorised by pope
        • Many Catholics preferred Mary I
          • She was also Catholic + had arguably much stronger claim
          • However, had strong links to France, England's enemy
      • Marriage
        • Expected to marry & secure heir to throne, then hand over rule to husband
          • However, during early reign had to turn down many suitors to focus on war with France
        • Couldn't marry English noble - would cause jealousy
        • Most foreign royalty Catholic
          • People didn't want another foreign king
        • Would create problems regarding succession of throne - no direct heir
      • Succession
        • Decision to remain unmarried created instability regarding legacy + succession
          • While rule wasn't secured, Mary Queen of Scots was threat as many Catholics who would have preferred her claim
    • Any foreign suitors likely Catholic
      • All powerful countries in Europe Catholic
    • Pope could excommunicate her
      • Catholic subjects would be released from obeying
      • He could call crusade against her
    • Elizabeth + advisors were Protestant. Belief in external souls important
    • She had to form compromise
      • This risked appeasing none of different religions


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