There is no short answer to this question, though I will try to
encapsulate some of the major events that brought about
Elizabeth's ascention to the throne. Along with the timeline
here, it cannot be overstated that Elizabeth's intelligence and
cunning helped her immensly along the way. (And for a
comprehensive but not overwhelming study of Elizabeth's reign,
please visit the links below):
- Elizabeth is born to Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn.
Although the king would have preferred a son, Elizabeth was the
"heiress presumptive" to the throne of England.
- Boleyn is beheaded. Elizabeth and her half-sister, Mary
live in exile.
- In 1544, Parliament passes the Acts of Secession, making
Elizabeth the "true" heir (and declaring Mary a "bastard.") But
Elizabeth still had obstacles, one being her 9 yr old brother,
Edward, who took the throne first.
- Struggles with Mary, who was devoutely Catholic, and the
Protestant Elizabeth. Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower for 2
- In 1558, Mary dies and Elizabeth becomes Queen.
In response to the final part of your question, yes, I think
females in power have long been more accepted and revered than in
the States. There is still an Elizabeth on the throne of
England and Margaret Thatcher enjoyed a long term as PM, while we
have relatively few women in positions of power, and since Sandra
Day O'Connor left the Supreme Court, only one woman (Ruth Bader