What problems face Elizabeth I in 1558?
Condition of Government:
- Decide on composition.
- Choice would be early indication of her governing style
- Elizabeth was not regarded as a legitimate heir to throne.
- Many people supported her Catholic cousin MQS.
- Majority of English welcomed Elizabeth as Queen.
- Some feared weak rule, from an inexperienced women
- Stability within tudor gov. linked to indisputed male heir.
Condition of finance:
- Royal finances were severly strained by Mary's war with France.
- Mary had left a debt of £300,000
- Mary had resorted to selling crown lands - weakened monarchy's finances
Rises in prices and unemployment:
- Most important industry, wool, had lost its trading place in Antwerp after it collapsed
- This meant thousands of people were out of work and lost finances for England
- England turned to debasting coins to increase money circulation, but this decreased the worth of English coinage, once again reducing trade
- Traditional English alliance to preserve the balance of power in Europe
- Habsburgs staunchly Catholic
- Elizabeth had to work out how to keep alliance despite a Protestant England
- Elizabeth had to decide on the nature of her settlement
- Pope may excommunicate her at any moment as he regarded her as illegitimate
- She had a choice between her familys turbulent choices in religion.
- Gentry and nobility plus the majority of people were Catholic
- Protestantism was strong in the south east, especially in London
- Marian Exiles had immigrated to England expecting to be influential within Government.
Unrest in Ireland:
- Mary Tudor attempted to colonise Ireland which had caused unrest.
- Ireland was staunchly Catholic, which could cause problems later on.
French troops in Scotland:
- Ruled by Mary of Guise, on behalf of MQS
- Presence of French troops within Scotland posed a threat to England's security
War with France:
- Mary had sent forces to aid her husband in his war against the French
- England's last stronghold in France, Calais was lost
- Elizabeth needed to make peace, but permanent loss of Calais would be humiliating for Elizabeth
Threat from abroad:
- England was a weak country compared to Spain and France
- If England became protestant Spain may lead a Catholic Crusade
- Scotland was under French control
- MQS had made a claim to the Englsih throne, which was supported by English Catholics
Loss of Calais:
- English saw the loss of Calais as a stain on England's honour
- If Elizabeth excepted the loss its status in Europe would decreased further