Elizabeth (I, Queen of England 1558-1603)

 Born  7 Sep 1533   Born At  Greenwich Palace
 Died  24 Mar 1603   Buried At  Westminster Abbey
 Father  Henry (VIII, King of England 1509-1547)   Mother  Boleyn, Anne
Preceded by  Mary (I, Queen of England 1553-1558, Bloody Mary, Mary Tudor) Succeeded by
 Royal House   Tudor
lizabeth was the only child of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace on the 7th of September 1533. Henry had wanted the child to be a boy to become heir to the English throne but was disappointed that Anne had given birth to a girl. The festivities planned to celebrate the birth were cancelled. Elizabeth had an elder half-sister called Mary who was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife. Mary had been declared illegitimate when the marriage between Henry and Catherine was annulled. There was a question of whether Elizabeth was illegitimate because of the timing of her birth and the marriage of Henry and Anne at the end of January, but also because the marriage between Henry and Catherine of Aragon had not been annulled until May. Elizabeth was less than 3 years old when Anne, her mother, was executed after being found guilty of treason and adultery.


Even before her mother's death Elizabeth had been brought up separately from the Royal household. She was nursed at Hatfield Palace (now part of Hatfield House) just to the north of London by Lady Margaret Bryan. After her mother's death Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and lost her title of Princess, becoming simple Lady Elizabeth. The money granted to her for her household expenses was reduced. When Lady Margaret moved to take care of Henry's son Edward at the end of 1537 Elizabeth was given a new governess, Catherine Ashley, who Elizabeth called Kat. Elizabeth was very well educated, learning many languages including Latin, French, Italian and Greek. She was taught music and excelled at it like her father. Elizabeth had several tutors mainly from St. John's College Cambridge. Amongst them was William Grindall, who taught the princess Greek. Grindall died from the plague in January of 1548. He was followed by Roger Ascham.

As a family again

In 1537 Jane Seymour gave birth to a son. Although the birth was difficult and the complications led to Jane's death, Edward her son survived. The king now had a male heir to inherit the English throne. After the death of Jane Henry married Anne of Cleves and then Catherine Howard. These two marriages failed and Henry's final marriage in 1543 was to Catherine Parr, his sixth wife. Catherine understood what Henry's children meant to him and so she brought them all to court to live together.

The death of Henry VIII

Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII King of England, died in January 1547. Even though Prince Edward was the youngest of Henry's three children he was the only male and so became the next king of England. Prince Edward was only nine years old at the time of his father's death and was too young to rule. Henry had made plans that a council of advisors should run the country after his death in the event that Prince Edward was too young, but these plans were ignored by Edward Seymour, the brother of Jane Seymour and the uncle of Prince Edward. As effective ruler of the country Seymour took the title Protector Somerset.

Thomas Seymour

Edward Seymour had a younger brother called Thomas Seymour. He was young and handsome and was given the title Lord High Admiral, a position without much power. Jealous of his brother Edward's position Thomas plotted against him. His plan was to gain power by marrying either Mary or Elizabeth. But these plans were blocked by Edward so he turned to Catherine Parr, the Queen Dowager. Catherine was happy with the interest that Thomas began to show her as the pair had been close before Catherine's marriage to Henry VIII. In April 1547 Catherine and Thomas were married and Thomas became a member of the household where Elizabeth lived.

Family Tree Details
Father: Henry (VIII, King of England 1509-1547) (b.1491 - d.1547)
Mother: Boleyn, Anne ( - ex.1536)
Elizabeth (I, Queen of England 1558-1603) (b.1533 - d.1603)

View Graphical Family Tree


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Partial Personal Timeline

Early Modern Period (1500-1800)
1533 Sep 7  Birth of Elizabeth to Anne Boleyn
 Anne gave birth to Elizabeth a healthy girl at Greenwich Palace. Henry had hoped they would have a boy to ensure the continuation of the Tudor line.

Episode: Henry VIII and his Six Wives  
 Dec  Princess Elizabeth moved to Hatfield
 Princess Elizabeth was moved from Greenwich, London to Hatfield were she was looked in the household of Lady Bryan. [1]

Episode: Henry VIII and his Six Wives  
1534 Jan  1yrsMary moved to Hatfield
 By the order of Henry VIII Mary's title of Princess had been removed and she was taken to Hatfield to be a servant in the household of Princess Elizabeth, her younger step-sister. Mary was around eighteen years old at this time. Mary was not happy with this arrangement and could not accept that Elizabeth had a better claim to the English throne than she did.[1]

Episode: Henry VIII and his Six Wives  
1536 Jul  3yrsElizabeth declare illegitimate
 Parliament declared that Elizabeth, like her elder step-sister Mary, was illegitimate. This allowed the next son of Henry VIII to be born to become the heir to the English throne.[1]

Episode: Henry VIII and his Six Wives  
1543   10yrsSuccession to the Crown Act
 An act passed by Parliament specifiying the order of succession to the English throne after the death of Henry VIII. Although Edward was the youngest the order would be Edward, Mary and the Elizabeth. [1] 
1547 Apr  14yrsCatherine Parr marries Thomas Seymour
 Jealous of his elder brother's power Thomas Seymour married Catherine Parr to enter the household of the young King Edward and the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth.[2] 
1553 Aug 3  20yrsMary arrives in London
 Mary Tudor arrived at London to a huge welcome. Entering through Aldgate she was met by Elizabeth, Anne of Cleves and many others. Mary quickly ordered the release of her supporters that had been locked up at the Tower of London. The Duke of Northumberland and his supporters were placed in the Tower to await trial and execution.

Episode: Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen  
 Sep 8  Elizabeth attends mass
 Mary and Elizabeth disagreed strongly over religion. Elizabeth refused to attend any Catholic ceremony including the one that Mary had arranged after the death of Edward. Eventually Elizabeth agreed to attend a mass but when the day came she pretended to be ill and only took part under protest.[3] 
 Dec  Elizabeth returns leaves court
 Issues over religion and succession to the throne became too much for Elizabeth and she requested that she could leave court and return to Hertfordshire and to Hatfield (or Ashridge). Mary granted her request against the advice of her ministers who suspected Elizabeth was preparing to remove Mary from the throne. 
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