What do you think about Queen Elizabeth's reign and her as a ruler? I am fasinated by Queen Elizabeth. I think she was an extraordinary women and especially since she ruled a whole kingdom by herself! She didn't need to marry a man or have children (even though people pestered her about it) in order to be such a great ruler!

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I, too, am a huge admirer of QEI. 

Her Queendom was possibly even more significative in that the obstacles she encountered from the minute she was born (as her father hastily added the letters "ss" to the document which would have otherwise presented his heir, the Prince to England), to her captivity as a teenager, to the treatment of the many stepmothers, to the isolation, and the way she obtained the throne make her stick out in the ranks of Bodecia, and Mary de Gies and other great female rules.

What is also very interesting is that, overall, England has had a good share of great Queens, (my favorite is Victoria) and it is amazing to see the strenght of character and authority that these little women (in size) possess in front of such a massive task at hand.

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As far as men not grasping the significance that Elizabeth I holds for contemporary women, it appears some contemporary women project 21st century feminism back to 16th century Elizabeth. It's important to study history within its own context and not project current attitudes on past events.  It's important to gather all the facts and understand them within their culture.  Henry VIII was syphilitic; Elizabeth either had the disease congenitally or acquired it herself.  Historians have suggested that she may, as a result of the disease, been sterile.  Had this been widely known in her time, the same problems of succession that dogged her father would have dogged her as well.  The Protestant - Catholic issues that tore England apart were still in play during her reign, and although it was somewhat settled, factions still existed.  Her projection of herself as the "Virgin Queen" served to cover the issue of her issuing progeny, and at the same time served to supplant the Catholic iconography of the Virgin Mary, and thereby garnered Catholic support, keeping the country stable. Throughout her reign, she successfully played the "marriage card" between Spain, The Netherlands, and other European powers of the day to England's advantage.   Supplanting the Virgin was a brilliant maneuver, no matter if originated by her or her advisors.  Perhaps the lesson here is how to take a detriment, and transform it into a strength.  She did not rule by herself; the Age of Absolute Monarchy was nearing its end in England as Parliament and representative government grew stronger, precisely because of the chaos in the religious conflicts within the country.  England's navy for many years had been in ascension as Spain's had been on decline;  she was queen when the transition happened and saw the beginning of England becoming the supreme sea power for 250 years.  During her reign, England did not devolve into a religious civil war; sadly her more rigid successors could not avoid internal warfare. The peace and prosperity that flourished under her reign allowed England to colonize and eventually to become the Empire that it was. Such an environment, maintained by any king or any queen in any age, is indeed remarkable.

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dbello posted:

In the end however Queen Elizabeth paid a price for her strength, at a time when women were not supposed to possess such strength. Her love for a man of lesser status could never be legitimate, she never married, and as a result never bore children.

This is the great irony of Elizabeth's success; in order to achieve her greatness, she had to forfeit the family life that most women treasure. Even today, women are still paying that price; if they do choose family life, they have to wait for career success until their children get older, or they have to juggle a million balls in order to achieve that success while their children are still young. Accomplished women are still largely viewed as somehow not deserving of the same support that accomplished men take for granted from their spouses.

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The reign of Queen Elizabeth I is considered among historians' as England's 'Golden Age', the question is why? Queen Elizabeth faced a tremendous amount of adversity when she became Queen. Her father King Henry VIII plunged England into religious turmoil, and it was only after the death of her half brother, and catholic half sister that she gained the throne. There is no denying the girl faced obstacles. Elizabeth grew into her position and I have great respect for her ability to do so. Anyone with less resolve would have failed. I think Queen Elizabeth's presense and rallying speech tapped into every English soldier who heard her. In that moment she demonstrated such a high level of leadership qualities, the soldiers didn't see a woman...they saw a leader, one they all aspired to. England defeated The Spanish Armada in 1588 at the time when Spain was undeniably the foremost power on the face of the earth. Her accomplishments proved that a woman had as much capability, dedication, and strength as a King. In the end however Queen Elizabeth paid a price for her strength, at a time when women were not supposed to possess such strength. Her love for a man of lesser status could never be legitimate, she never married, and as a result never bore children. In some ways she was an unconventional woman for her time, but her strength and resolve excused the 'Queen' who acted as a KING. In other ways she was just a woman who happened to be THE QUEEN.  I have great respect for her on many different levels.

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I understand, and I didn't take offense at your post #2. I'm just offering an explanation for why females might have such strong opinions on Elizabeth I. Although you believe that women are no less than men, as do I, the fact remains that it is much more difficult for female leaders to reach the pinnacles of authority the way that Elizabeth I was able to do. She is a true role model for the ages.

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I love this topic! Re #2, it appears from your avatar that you are a male; I don't think that men can possibly grasp the significance that a ruler like Elizabeth I holds for contemporary women. The idea that a woman could reject the conventional wisdom and live her life on her own terms, and at the same time retain control of an entire government, is mind-boggling in the context of the 16th century. I have read several biographies of Elizabeth I and admire her greatly for her ability to manipulate society's expectations, leading her advisors and suitors to think that she would eventually marry, and all the while retaining her independence and her power. She is an amazing icon of feminine power.

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