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Was Elizabeth A Good Queen?

Both men would have thought she was a good and admirable queen, but Shakespeare was enjoying the benefits of this whereas King Philip II of Spain would have been in a worse position due to England’s rapidly growing power. They would have admired her because she was leading England to a better future. This is portrayed in the “Ditchley Portrait” which shows Queen Elizabeth leading England out of the darkness (symbolized by storm clouds) and into the light. But of course, this image was commissioned by herself so may not be such an accurate source but it was true that England was becoming a stronger nation.

A quote from a school textbook: “England was rapidly becoming a great sea power – a great protestant sea power”. This is one of the reasons why King Philip would not have liked her as before, Spain had been the strongest sea power before and a catholic one too. That doesn’t mean he didn’t admire her though. Her success as a Queen would have meant he admired her and was probably very envious of her. Although she was a protestant, Soon after she had beheaded his second wife (Mary Queen of Scots) King Philip asked to marry her which shows that he must have appreciated her actions as a queen (even if it simply was a ploy to gain his power over England).

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Privateers like Drake started intercepting Spanish treasure ships from the Americas and the economy and lifestyle of many English people got better. This means they had more leisure time and it meant that playwrights like Shakespeare were better off. This is another reason why Shakespeare would have thought of her as a good queen as she was leading England forward. Again because of Drakes’s actions, Philip would not have been worse off because his country would be at a loss. This means that although he may not have liked Elizabeth for what her country was doing under her reign, he still would have admired her for her strong political figure, her control over her country and her ability to lead. Politically, she was making England strong by forming alliances with France in 1564 and stayed allied with the Dutch for her entire reign. This is a good reason why they would have thought of her as a good queen.

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She was devoted to her country, saying “I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the kingdom of England”. She was also a strong speaker and her words in Parliament helped to calm the disputes of Protestantism and Catholicism, once saying: “There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles” and “I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls”. At Tilbury, she made a speech to her men, saying: “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too”. This again shows her courage and her devotion to her country.

This was something that would have made her a good queen in the eyes of both men. Shakespeare expresses his love for England in a play called Richard II and in Act II Scene I in which he wrote that expressed the pride and confidence that the people of England felt for their country: “… This royal throne of kings, this sceptre’d isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise… this precious stone set in the silver sea… this blessed plot, this earth, this realm this England…” This is another example of how great and powerful people thought England was; which was all down to their Queen.

In conclusion, both men would have thought of Queen Elizabeth I as a good queen. Although King Philip II of Spain went to war and fought against the English, it is quite clear that he must have admired her leadership and skills as a queen and was probably extremely jealous and envious of her too. Shakespeare would have also thought of her as a good queen as he was really feeling the benefits of her actions as a queen as she made England stronger economically, which meant more people had leisure time for watching his plays. Overall Elizabeth’s actions as a queen made it hard for people not to like her. She was probably the greatest monarch in English history. When she became the queen, England was a third-rate power and a place in religious dispute and distress. When she died, England was the most powerful nation in Europe, and religion was much more settled. Who wouldn’t admire someone who had made their country such a success?

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  • Facts on Elizabeth from Dorling Kindersley: Kings and Queens of England and Scotland
  • Dates from Usborne Hotshots: World History Dates
  • Notes on King Philip II from

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Was Elizabeth A Good Queen?. (2021, May 30). Retrieved August 14, 2022, from