Elizabeth I

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Elizabeth I:

Character and aims

  • 25 when came to throne, well educated & learned from personal experience
  • she was shrewd & proved a good judge of character 
  • however, she was cautious due the difficult of existence of a Protestant during Mary's reign

Her short term aims were:

  • to consolidate her position
  • to settle religious issues
  • to end war with France

Consolidation of power

She swiftly consolidated power:

  • Mary's councillors accepted Elizabeth's succession; many of them personally assured her of their loyalty. Proclaimed queen in November
  • William Cecil appointed Principal Secretary
  • Elizabeth presented herself to the people from the Tower of London
  • her coronation took place in January

The Elizabethan religious settlement

It was clear that the English Church would again break with Rome & Elizabeth would seek to re-establish royal supremacy over the Church of England.

The Elizabethan Church Settlement of 1559 provided the framework for this by creating a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism. Enacted in her first parliament, Jan-Apr 1559, not only established royal supremacy, but set out the way the church would be organised, the content & conduct of service.

The Act of Supremacy 1559

  • repealed papal supremacy
  • reinstated religious legislation of Henry VIII's reign and revived powers of royal visitation of the church
  • made queen 'Supreme Governor' (rather than 'Supreme Head') of the Church of England
  • demanded an oath of supremacy from all clergymen & church officials

The Act of Uniformity 1559

  • demanded everyone should go to church once a week or pay…


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