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There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth I faced opposition and conflict as soon as she was placed upon the throne. From royal legitimacy, her religious beliefs, to her choice of a husband. (which she never decided upon) Elizabeth's reign was one that was under constant scrunity, however what made Elizabeth's reign so spectacular was her ability to perservere in the face of adversity. Her father King Henry VIII set England upon unchartered territory for the sake of a male heir. His discontent with the Roman Catholic Church over a denied divorce from Catherine of Aragon led to Henry's break with the Roman Catholic Church. Although he had a living daugther with Catherine, Princess Mary was reduced to the status of Lady Mary while he pursued Anne Boylen. Henry and Anne had a daugther, Elizabeth who was exiled upon Anne's execution. It was not until his marriage with Jane Seymour that Henry restored the title of princess to his living daugthers. There can be no doubt that these actions effected the future Queen. Henry's marriage to Jane Seymour produced a son and as such Henry's line was secured. After Henry died his son became the new Angelican King, unfortunately he died during his teenage years. Upon his death Mary took the throne restoring Brtiain to Roman Catholicism. After she died there were several claims to the throne, Queen Mary of Scotland the cousin to Elizabeth and Philip II of Spain half brother-in-law to Elizabeth. When Elizabeth took the throne she was thrusted into the religious differences her country faced as well as the ill intentions of members of her own family. As Elizabeth grew into her status as Queen there can be no argument as to her ability, she defied all expections. Although she was successful in her dealings with her advisors and an uncanny judge of situation and character, her unmarried status presented a problem for the future of England. She made several attempts to secure a rightful marriage on the advise of her Lords, however Elizabeth was an independent woman. Queen Elizabeth understood the importance of a suitable marriage, however detested the invasion of what she considered extremely personal. As the years passed Elizabeth continued to entertain potential candidates for marriage for the sake of protocol. There is some evidence that suggests Elizabeth did fall in love, however since he was not of royal birth she could not marry him. I do not think Elizabeth was ever really able to reconcile this, and as a result turned her efforts to her country. The true greatness of Elizabeth's reign came in 1588. Catholic Spain and The Spanish Armada set out to destroy Protestant England and the Queen who was referred to as 'whore' by most of Catholic Europe. Elizabeth cared little for the name calling and faced her adverseries head on. She understood there was a chance that England might lose therefore it was up to her alone to inspire and motivate her soldiers. In that spirit she mustered the strength that had sustained her for so many years, she personally addressed her soldiers. The rallying speech she gave is considered one of the best in human history. Queen Elizabeth I was a leader, she demonstrated the leadership qualities that up until that time were mostly considered a King's quality. England defeated the Spanish Armada, and Elizabeth's Lords never questioned her marriage intentions again. The irony of Elizabeth's conflict lies in King Henry VIII quest for a male heir. Although he finally had a legitimate son, it would be his daugther who he banished from his presense, stripped a royal title, born of a mother he would convict and execute for treason that would be Henry's greatest legacy.
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