Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Tudor Year: November

Theme: education

Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, queen at last at the age of twenty-five.

November 17th is the 450th anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth Tudor to the throne, a day celebrated as "crownation day" during her reign and long after her death. While she was maddeningly indecisive with her councillors, the fascination of her personality combined with England's Renaissance flowering -- and military success against superpower Spain -- made the cult of Gloriana inescapable. If nothing else, her education staggers us. Languages, classic ancient literature, religion, penmanship, music, embroidery, and horsemanship were all expected excellencies in a Tudor lady. A gentleman like Robert Dudley added to these his skills in the joust, in tennis, and in archery. As estate owners, both would have understood things like farming, sheep-herding, and minding the books as naturally as we know how to drive a car.
November 14th: Marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, 1501

November 17th: Death of Queen Mary; Accession of Queen Elizabeth, 1558

November 30th: Queen Elizabeth's "Golden Speech" to her last Parliament, 1601

David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989. See pp. 136-137.
Carrolly Erickson, The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books, 1983. See pp. 99-100.
Anne Somerset, Elizabeth I. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1991. See pp. 10-13, 115-116.


  1. I am a great fan of Elizabeth I.
    Her life fascinates me.

  2. Me, too! Come back in December (and beyond) for more of the calendar.