7 September 1533 – Birth of Elizabeth I, Gloriana

On this day in history, 7th September 1533, Elizabeth Tudor, the future Queen Elizabeth I, was born at Greenwich Palace. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and even though today people from all over the world, from all walks of life, recognise her from her iconic portraits and her life is celebrated by many history books, novels, movies and documentaries, her birth at 3pm on that September day was a blow to her parents. Elizabeth was not the Edward or Henry her father was so desperate for, she was, instead, a useless girl. How ironic that this seemingly useless girl grew up to be Gloriana, a monarch known for her Golden Age!

In the August edition of BBC History Magazine, historian Susan Doran examines Elizabeth I’s life, a queen who “faced more difficulties as a monarch than any other Tudor”  but “who somehow emerged to unite her country as a Protestant martial power”. Doran lists the two huge difficulties from which Elizabeth I “emerged triumphant”:-

  • The fact that her “right to rule never went unchallenged”
  • She inherited a divided and “traumatised” England – The country had suffered from religious divisions, economic recession and the loss of Calais

Doran says:-

“From these problems Elizabeth emerged triumphant. She confounded her Catholic enemies, imposed her will on the political scene, turned England into a strong Protestant state, presided over a glittering court culture and died in her bed at the age of 69.”

This is my Elizabeth I, the queen I love and admire, not G J Meyer’s pathetic queen who faked her Gloriana image and whose “longevity” and “survival” was “all she ever really aspired to” – see “Elizabeth I’s Reign – Just Survival?”. “Great Gloriana, Greatest Majesty”, I raise a toast to you! Happy Birthday, your Majesty!

Notes and Sources

8 thoughts on “7 September 1533 – Birth of Elizabeth I, Gloriana

  1. Happy Birthday, great Eliza, the longest reigning of all the Tudors!

    I purchased a download audiobook from the BBC History magazine website (just 1.99 pounds) with very interesting interviews about all the Tudor monarchs. I recommmend it to everybody as it was much better than the weekly podcasts about them were (especially on the three men).

  2. If only Henry could have seen his daughter though our eyes, and with our knowledge, I think his disappointment would have been short lived and replaced with immense pride….Many happy returns your Majesty

  3. Happy Birthday to the one who proved conclusively that Henry VIII was wrong, and, that women can rule and rule well! As to Meyer’s comment on Elizabeth only interested in survival … I think he has part of her success. The other part is the way in which she became one with her people … so her survival was their survival and their best interests became her best interests. I think this is shown, in party by the Elizabethan Poor Laws, which were one of the, if not the, earliest attempt at government mandating that the poor be cared for, rather than punished/enslaved, the way the earlier Tudors did. (Meyer ignores this, BTW). Also, I think one of her strengths was her concentration on the earthly, rather than sharing her sister’s “heavenly” ambitions or her father’s confusion between his own desires and the will of G-d.

  4. Hail, Gloriana! It’s good to review all of the good things that happened during her reign. So often we nitpick at her missteps or policies we don’t agree with, or think of her as that poor unwanted child, who by her intelligence, courage and innate caution survived to ascend to the throne.

    Her reign is even more remarkable when we remember all the strikes against her. She had a very steep learning curve in governing, but I think her unfeigned devotion to her people helped her survive those first tentative steps of her rule. She understood that the goodwill of the populace was important in an age when I think most rulers considered the common man simply another resource to be exploited and expected unquestioned loyalty no matter what they did. She had an uncanny understanding of PR and “spin” before those concepts were well articulated. I think she got that from both her parents.

    I so wish Anne could have known as she went to her death that Elizabeth would not only survive, but thrive, and would become one of the greatest monarchs (of either gender) England has ever known.

  5. A gem was born one fine day in September- Elizabeth. Queen Anne was a winner with her. Her blood was well spent indeed. That’s called poetic justice. Henry VIII’s desire for a son and the many terrible things he did for the same proved to be such a futile exercise.

    The unfortunate mother who couldn’t spend much time with her little girl but did everything in her power to ensure she became queen and her great daughter who didn’t fail her mother are feminist icons. Their lives can easily guide many women who came and are going to come into the world later.

    Beautiful article. Thank you.

  6. Elizabeth is my hero and I spent yesterday going through my books and digital collections concerning her.
    Elizabeth most definitely proved Henry VIII (and all other male chauvinists) wrong.
    It is interesting how the month of September played an important role in Elizabeth’s life:
    Sept 2nd 1532 – Anne Boleyn made Marquess of Pembroke
    Sept 7th 1533 – Elizabeth born
    Sept 8th, 1560 – Amy Robsart’s death
    Sept 4th, 1588 – Robert Dudley’s death

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