It’s hard for someone like me to know where to begin describing Elizabeth Tudor. I’ve loved and idolised her since being a small child in awe of the events unfolding while watching Young Bess on the television. Through countless trends, lifestyle changes and the whole process of growing up there hasn’t been a time when I couldn’t turn to her example when things were tough.
She truly seems the ultimate female role model for the modern age. Especially considering that she ruled in an era when women were presumed not to have much thought in their heads and that we live in a time where we’re only just beginning to accept the idea of female leaders. Skimming over the surface of her life as it is often presented to us, she seemed to have everything in perfect balance.
Independent yet constantly gaining new loyalty and new followers. Strong willed yet knowing when to take advice. Intelligent and knowledgeable yet always watching a situation in case there is something new to be learnt from it. Charming yet not to be messed with. Elegant and beautifully dressed, but able to out ride any man who dared to hunt by her side.
When you look at her as a Queen and a role model she seems to have everything, yet she becomes all the more magnificent when you realise her background. Cast aside so many times that she could hardly know from one minute to the next whether she were beloved Princess or the shunned bastard. One moment not having enough resources to keep her own household, then being told by her sister the Queen to dress better for court. She could have literally lost her head so many times, on the instruction of those who were family and friends to her, but something about her made the subjects of England want to protect and elevate her even at the risk of their own lives and fortunes.
Unlike many statesmen and celebrities of the modern era, she never forgot that her subjects had placed her on the throne and kept her safe. She relied on their love to support her and gave them everything she had. From the moment she graced the throne it was no longer how own desires that were important, everything was for the good of her realm and her subjects. Casting aside suitors such as Robert Dudley and the Duc d’Anjou from whom she could have had love and support because her people were against them. As if it were not hard enough for her that marriage to her signified danger, a lessening of her powers and possible wars from realms who opposed her match, she also had the people of England to keep happy.
A lone woman inheriting a realm with a debased coinage, subjects separated by religion and the constant threat of war from abroad she managed to turn her reign into one of the most glorious times England has ever known.
On top of all that the magnificent Gloriana who gave everything for her country and is known for her endless study and determined keeping of her own account books is also remembered for her love of life’s pleasures. A famed horsewoman who could outride anyone in her court save her Master of Horse, the player of many instruments, a writer of poetry, and a patron of the arts. Her love of clothes in her later life is well known, but the influence she had over court dress is still felt today with modern designers like Vivienne Westwood still turning to Good Queen Bess for inspiration.
500 years later Elizabeth is still a major part of our culture, a part of history that refuses to fade into the background and become lost on the pages of dusty old books. Her life is still portrayed lavishly on film and television, her painted image is so well known that it’s difficult to find people who don’e recognise a picture of her. She’s quoted, discussed, revered and studied as though she were a modern phenomenon. And to this day she’s still thought of with great love by the subjects of her realm.