What did Elizabeth I die of?

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It is thought that Elizabeth's death on 24th March 1603 resulted from blood poisoning. She had been suffering from "melancholy" after the deaths of close friends, so was probably rather "run down". She was aged 69 when she died, a good age in those days.

10 Responses to “What did Elizabeth I die of?”

  1. Annie says:

    how does one get blood poisoning? what does that exactly mean? it must have been terrible to live so long in an age where all your friends and family died early…

  2. Claire says:

    Here is an explanation of blood poisoning/sepsis (see below) and, yes, it must be awful to outlive all the people you care about:-

    Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by the body overreacting to an infection.

    The body’s immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions that can lead to widespread inflammation (swelling) and blood clotting in the body.

    Sepsis occurs in three stages:

    * Uncomplicated sepsis is caused by infections, such as flu or dental abscesses. It is very common and does not usually require hospital treatment.
    * Severe sepsis occurs when the body’s response to infection has started to interfere with the function of vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs or liver.
    * Septic shock occurs in severe cases of sepsis, when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level, preventing your vital organs from receiving enough oxygenated blood.

  3. Annie says:

    Ah i see. I read that Elizabeth had progressively terrible teeth, especially because she refused to have them removed. So it makes sense.

  4. csf says:

    Elizabeth’s makeup contained arsenic, lead, and sulfur. After years of wearing thick layers of poison on her face, (some sources say she never removed it), that would explain the “blood poisoning” , and is generally considered the most likely reason for it.

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