Elizabeth I Facts

Here is some interesting Elizabeth I trivia!

  • Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn.
  • Elizabeth was named after both her grandmothers, Elizabeth Howard and Elizabeth of York.
  • Elizabeth’s mother Anne Boleyn was executed when Elizabeth was just two years old.
  • The majority of historians believe that Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth’s mother, was innocent of all charges and that her execution was down to a conspiracy planned by Thomas Cromwell.
  • Although Elizabeth I only mentioned her mother a couple of times during her lifetime, she wore a locket ring which contained a miniature of herself along with a miniature of her mother.
  • After her step mother Catherine Howard’s execution, Elizabeth reputedly told her friend (and later favourite), Robert Dudley, “I will never marry”.
  • Although her father had her mother executed, Elizabeth was fond of him and revered his memory.
  • Elizabeth was born on the 7th September 1533 at Greenwich Palace.
  • Elizabeth I died on 24th March 1603 at Richmond Palace. It is thought that she died of blood poisoning.
  • “Nicknames” for Elizabeth I include “The Virgin Queen”, “Good Queen Bess” and “Gloriana”.
  • Elizabeth herself gave nicknames to people she loved and trusted – She called William Cecil her “Spirit” and Robert Dudley her “eyes”.
  • Elizabeth I reigned between 1558 and 1603.
  • Elizabeth I never married, although she had a number of suitors, and thought of herself as married to her country and the mother of her subjects.
  • Although Elizabeth was known as “The Virgin Queen”, scandal surrounded her – There were rumours over her close relationships with Robert Dudley (the Earl of Leicester), Robert Devereux (the Earl of Essex), Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Hatton.
  • There was scandal in her youth when her governess Kat Ashley found that Catherine Parr’s husband, Thomas Seymour, was tickling and slapping Elizabeth in bed and coming into her room in his nightclothes. Although at first Catherine Parr thought of this as innocent fun, she later sent Elizabeth away and there were even rumours that Elizabeth had a child by Seymour. It is not known how Elizabeth felt about Seymour, but on hearing of his execution she said: “This day died a man of much wit, but very little judgement”.
  • It has been rumoured that Elizabeth I wrote some of William Shakespeare’s plays! There is, in fact, no evidence of this.
  • Elizabeth I’s funeral took place on 28th April 1603 and she was buried at Westminster Abbey.
  • Elizabeth I’s motto was “Semper Eadem”, meaning “Always the Same”.
  • Elizabeth’s main rival was her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, who had plotted against her life – Elizabeth had her executed in 1587 after keeping her prisoner for many years. It was a difficult decision for Elizabeth because she believed that anointed sovereigns, such as Mary, were answerable only to God.
  • Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a time in Mary I’s reign for suspected involvement in Wyatt’s rebellion. She thought she would be executed.
  • Elizabeth I became queen at the age of 25 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 15th January 1559.
  • Although Elizabeth founded the Church of England and was thought to be a protestant, she was tolerant of both Catholic and Protestant viewpoints and famously said: “There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith, all else is trifles” and that she had “no desire to make windows into men’s souls”.
  • Elizabeth I’s skin became badly scarred by smallpox after she suffered from the disease in 1562. She covered these scars with a face paint of white lead and vinegar.
  • Her favourite dress colours were white and black which symbolised purity.
  • Wigs were in fashion and Elizabeth made good use of them.
  • Elizabeth I, like most people of her time, was very superstitious and consulted astronomer and astrologer, John Dee, and it was even said that she asked him to undo a death curse that she thought had been put on her.
  • Although there were rumours that Elizabeth I was bald, there does not seem to be any truth to them and there are records of people having seen her hair.
  • Elizabeth I frequently swore – When angry, she would curse and swear.
  • Elizabeth’s reign is known as “The Golden Age” because she made England strong and prosperous.

174 thoughts on “Elizabeth I Facts

  1. Hello,

    You’ve stated here that “After her step mother Catherine Howard’s execution, Elizabeth reputedly told her friend (and later favourite), Robert Dudley, ‘I will never marry’.”

    I’ve read this fact in numerous books, but have been unable to find a reference for it. Do you know if there is a primary source where this fact about Elizabeth is found?

    Thank you,


  2. Hi Lauren,

    Alison Weir reports Elizabeth saying this to Dudley in her book “Elizabeth the Queen” but does not cite any source for it. Tracy Borman in “Elizabeth’s Women” writes that Dudley told the French Ambassador twenty years after the event that he had known Elizabeth since she was 8 and that from that age she had always declared “I will never marry”. Again there is no source cited for this. Sorry.


  3. Thank you for answering my question. After I posted this I actually found the complete reference to Dudley’s exchange with the French Ambassador in Agnes Strickland’s “Lives of the Queens of England Vol. VI.”, 1864.

    Again, much thanks.


  4. I have heard it asserted ( most recently on a catholic radio program) that Mary Tudor’s record of executions compares favorably to Elizabeth’s, by the sims measure of raw numbers ca. 280 to 700+.
    Leaving aside the difference in length of reign, I have always been taught that Mary’s were overwhelmingly ‘religious’ in nature, whereas Elizabeth’s were primarily legal/ political–responses to actual crimes or plots–which may have had religious elements to them. Please do what you can to enlighten me.

  5. Ron- yes that’s true. Elizabeth was very reluctant to kill people but at times her ministers forced her too. Back then if you didn’t kill people who plotted against you it was an open invitation. So she sometimes had to but she didn’t want to most of the time. She agonized especially over the decision to kill Mary Queen of Scots but there was so much pressure from her ministers she caved in.

  6. i found this website very useful for my coursework as i forgot most of my facts about elizebeth 1 so thank you for making this website

  7. HAI!
    this website is so great its has helped with my history homework!this is the best queen elizabeth website ever!thanks for helping!XD 🙂

    From Chloe year 8 wrckadine wood arts collage – Age 12!

  8. Hey this really helps, could anyone tell me Elizabeth I’s full name please, =D also does anyone know Elizabeth’s ‘Limits of Kingdom’

  9. Hi,
    Great website, but I want to set a few facts right. Elizabeths ministers were reluctent to kill anyone as they were scared they were going to upset Elizabeth. Finally Elizabeths motto was not ‘Semper Eadem’, Her main one was ‘Non, Novis, Nati’ (Born not for ourselves)
    Thanks, Benjii

  10. Hi Benjii,
    Elizabeth I’s motto on her royal coat of arms was “Semper Eadem” and she did not have Non nobis nati as her motto. When you say “Elizabeths ministers were reluctent to kill anyone as they were scared they were going to upset Elizabeth”, what are you referring to?

  11. I was referring to the year 1572 when The duke of Norfolk was beheaded for taking part in the ridolfi plot. Elizabeths ministers were thought to have wished to keep the duke in the tower not to aggravate the spanish who weren’t there closest friends at the time. I’m sorry about the earlier fact as I followed up on it and you were right. I got told the wrong information by professor ujjall Ray of Warwick university. He was referring to the st Albans school motto which I got totally wrong.

  12. Hi Guys,
    I cant help but notice such an intresting debate occuring. I noticed ‘Benjii’, that you said Proffeser Ujjal Ray worked at Warwick University, which is incorrect. Ujjal Ray is currently working at Leeds University, I know this because I went to school with him. Anyway reffereing to Elizabeth 1st, Ben Harvey Khushal is right when he describes the Ridolfi plot; The Duke of Norfolk was beheaded in 1572.

  13. Has anyone read “Legacy” by Susan Kay. I am currently reading it and enjoying it very much. I was wondering if anyone who has read it can attest to it’s accuracy. I’m asking because I was taken aback by references that when Elizabeth I had smallpox that she was left unmarked on her face. Yet, I have read that she was badly scarred and that is when she started wearing white makeup. Your input is welcome!

  14. Hi, I was wondering if you could help me. I am designing a play Mary Stuart and I was wondering if other than the locket ring, what the other rings that she wore looked like?

  15. is there anything that she was famous for because i am doing an obituary on her and so far you have been great help but i haven’t found any facts on what i am looking for.

  16. Hi Laura,
    Elizabeth I achieved so much during her reign. If you click on “Elizabeth I Achievements” in the category box on the left hand side menu you will get a whole load of articles related to her achievements. Historian Sarah Gristwood says:-
    “The England she inherited was described by one of her own agents as “a bone between two dogs” – France and Spain. Few believed then that she (a mere woman, with a disputed claim) could hold the throne without tying the country to some greater power. Instead, after 45 years of solo rule, she left a realm sure of its place in the world, with the confidence only half a century of stability could give. One that had seen the expansion of its interests, the securing of its borders, and the regularisation of its currency, as well as the great flowering of the Renaissance” – see https://www.elizabethfiles.com/elizabeth-i-englands-greatest-monarch/3401/

  17. This is a really helpful website! It helped me complete 100% of my history project! THANK YOU! 😀

  18. Hi! I was just wondering if anyone knows what groups Elizabeth l was in? Also what books and music did she like?

  19. Thank u sooo much for the help of my History homework about Elizabeth I….These facts really helped me doing this work…Thank you once again!! 🙂 xx

  20. This web-site is amazing! I love learning all the different facts about Queen Elizabeth I. She is a fascinating person, with all of her achievements and strong will. Do you have any other random facts about her?

    1. Mary was not an innocent in this and Elizabeth had held off taking action against her for years even though she was a very real threat. Walsingham and Cecil led Mary into a trap by allowing the Babington Plot to escalate under their watchful eyes but it was really a plot and Mary was involved. As John Guy points out, Mary consented to Elizabeth’s assassination and foreign invasion, she showed her support and “Mary’s complicity in the plot was undeniable.”

  21. Thanks, this helped a lot for my homework 😀

    And my cat liked it too!
    =( ‘ ; ‘ )=
    …(U U)_/

  22. Hi!!!!!!!
    I have to make a project about queen Elizabeth 1 and my professor said us to find interesting facts about her.I want you to help me find any other curiosities about her,from different books and please give me any suggestions about what i can talk. P.S he don’t want me to talk about her life and what she did for England because it is on History books ,but sth special. Please help me! 🙂

    1. There’s the story about Elizabeth and her teeth. She had toothache and really needed a tooth extracting but didn’t want to do it. The Bishop of London tried to persuade her that it wasn’t as painful as she thought and to convince her he had a tooth extracted in front of her, see http://books.google.es/books?id=GN05AAAAcAAJ&pg=PA193&lpg=PA193&dq=elizabeth+i+tooth+bishop+of+london&source=bl&ots=z4TPDByRwj&sig=QQQVJXwB8yMJf-t8yVBosyV2h9s&hl=es&ei=tv-7TrrCJYK_8gOB-7GhBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
      There’s also some interesting myths surrounding her, see https://www.elizabethfiles.com/the-old-myths-regurgitated-the-bisley-boy-and-more/4697/
      For interesting facts, see https://www.elizabethfiles.com/resources/elizabeth-i-facts/
      Other interesting facts – she was the daughter of a woman executed for adultery, incest and treason (Anne Boleyn), and her stepmother’s husband was rather inappropriate with her and slashed her gown to bits with a dagger (https://www.elizabethfiles.com/catherine-parr-and-elizabeth/2906/)

  23. Hello,
    for my history studies i must say why Elizabeth signed like she did.
    Does anyone know why she signed like this?

  24. i need 10 questions about Elizabeth 1 life plz help mee 🙂 homework is soo harddd!!! thankyou soo much. need it really quick plz helpppp.:)thanx alot

    1. What kind of questions do you need?
      Some examples:-
      1) Who was her mother? Anne Boleyn
      2) What was her date of birth? 7th September 1533
      3) Where was she born? Greenwich Palace
      4) How long did she reign? 44 years
      5) What year did she die? 1603
      6) What disease did she nearly die of in 1562? Smallpox
      7) What is her reign traditionally known as? The Golden Age
      8) How old was she when she became queen? 25
      9) What was Elizabeth I’s motto? Semper Eadem or “Always the same”
      10) What dynasty did she belong to? The House fo Tudor

    1. Elizabeth didn’t have any children so she named James VI of Scotland, who was descended from her aunt (Margaret Tudor), as her heir and he became James I of England.

  25. thankyou so so so so much i love this website its amazing im a number 1 fan please make a new website peace out 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. I don’t know where on earth they got that information from! Very odd! Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married and was not known to have any sexual relationships, although some wonder if she did sleep with Robert Dudley. I would say that they might have been referring to Elizabeth II, the present queen, but she has four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

  26. Also it is believed by others that Elizabeth 1 was pregnant with Thomas Seymor’s( Katherine Parr latest husband) child but then it was discoved Elizabeth miscarried. But it was kept a secret because she would have been considered of committing treason and could of been beheaded.

  27. ohhh well thats good to know thank u for helping me with that problem and is there other things that can help me alot

  28. please tell me the correction did she miss carry or keep the hole thing a secret? and was she bald? did she wrote any of shalespears plays ifsp did she have any relation ship woth him if so what kind? how dp you know if she had a realationship with any other bloke? how did she actually get her cusin executed?

  29. I just watched Elizabeth for the 3rd or 4th time….and always wondered what the significance of the “white makeup” was….Now I know, scarring….Interesting woman..Too bad about Sir Robert !!

    1. In what way? Elizabeth II’s reign is a constitutional monarchy so she does not actually govern the country, whereas Elizabeth was a full monarch who ruled the country. On that basis, I would have to say Elizabeth I.

  30. I wouldn’t be resubmitting my comment, but my original seems to have disappeared. Please show my comment as I happened to be a direct descendant of Sir Robert Dudley. My maternal grandfather’s name was Hugh Edward Dudley Sr. We have just discovered this fact and my whole family is so excited! Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      Comments are moderated to prevent spam and I’m in Europe so was asleep when your comments were written – sorry about that.

      Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, had one surviving child, his illegitimate son the explorer Sir Robert Dudley. That Robert Dudley had quite a few children so do you know which branch you descend from? How exciting!

  31. OMG! this has been sooooo much help with my history homework!!! thanx to everyone who made this website! every fact was accurate. thank you all so much for the hard work that was put into this site!
    ^_^ xxx <3

  32. I am currently reading Elizabeth 1 by Margaret George on e book and all the relevant details concur. History details can vary depending on who is reporting and some details can be cofirmed while others others are pure speculation.
    Nice to know so many of the younger generation seek out the information for their school projects but I am concerned with their ability to spell correctly. A sign of how words and language change?

    1. In what way? She had a rather hot temper and was said to have broken one of her ladies’ fingers and her reign saw the persecution of Catholic priests.

  33. Wow!!! You helped me to reaserch my homework.. one thing. Is there any games or quizes about Elizibeth 1 that ican use in my handbook??

    1. Lots of different things – meat (about 75% of a rich person’s diet was meat), fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, ale or wine. Poorer people would eat a lot of pottage, a type of stew or soup made from vegetables and grains.

  34. does anyone know anything personal about her? like did she like to read or what were her hobbies? i have to do a project

  35. Claire
    Could you do an article on Elizabeths legacy on ireland and how she affected the country? I’m Irish and I learned that the Munster plantations took place under her rule
    as did several laws against catholics.
    I admire Elizabeth greatly but I recognise that she might not have had an altogether positive effect on Ireland

  36. Just to clear any misunderstandings up, there is absolutely no evidence that Elizabeth was ever pregnant let alone miscarry. Although Thomas Seymour acted very inappropiatedly there is no evidence that they had any full-blown sexual relationships. The rumour that Elizabeth was pregnant is just down to malicious rumours spread by her enimies and should always be taken with a pitch of salt.


  37. great this really really helped me i got an a* in my test because i used this page to revise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. 1559 Queen Elizabeth’s Second Act of Supremacy repealing legislation passed during Queen Mary’s reign and restoring to the Crown jurisdiction over the Church as well as the Realm

    1559 Act of Uniformity of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacrament whereby attendance at church became compulsory and non-attendance was punishable by fine or imprisonment. Known as the Recusancy laws

    1562 – Highways Act extending the period of labour required for the maintenance of highways from 4 to 6 days

    1563 Poor Law Act – The different types of Poor people were categorised in order to determine the treatment that they might receive

    1572 Poor Law Act in which the first compulsory poor law tax was imposed at a local level making the alleviation of poverty a local responsibility.

    1574 Queen Elizabeth I enforced some new Sumptuary Laws called the ‘Statutes of Apparel’.

    1576 Poor Law Act in which each town was required to provide work for the unemployed

    1593 An Act for the Necessary Relief of Soldiers and Mariners in which each parish was charged with a weekly sum towards the relief of sick, hurt and maimed soldiers and mariners

    1597 Poor Law Act in which Justices of the Peace were given more authority to raise additional compulsory funds to provide for the poor. A new position of ‘Overseer of the Poor’ was created

    1601 Poor Law Act formalised earlier practices making provision for a National system to be paid for by levying property taxes.

  39. This Really Helped Me With My History Homework!!!! THANK YOU!!!
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  40. This website is amazing also,mt homework got sent to the headteacher because it was so good that he gave me a headtecher award! =)

  41. This website really helped me with my school project to make a presentation for interesting facts about Elizabeth I. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. I’ve watched a couple of documentaries of Queen Elizabeth I (with David Starkey narrating), and I’ve seen a few questions asking “what were her hobbies?”.

    I found out that she loved read and learn several foreign languages. She started when was 4 years old and used a special and rather complicated way of studying, called “double translation”. She perfectly pronounced and wrote French, Italian, Latin, and Greek. When she was 12 years, during New Years Day/Eve she made a gift for her father (king Henry VIII) a book written in French, Italian, and Latin. Which was perfectly written, its all bloody perfect!

    She also played the lute and was very good at it. and she loved to go horseback riding, which meant she could spend more time with her supposed lover (Robert Dudley), who was in charge of the horses in the royal court. She also loved to hunt, just her father did.

  43. Some of this is actually lies such as the part where it says she wrote Shakespeare’s plays. We all should know that Shakespeare wrote his own plays and she was only fond of them, she was not writing them for him.

  44. Here is a fact: She had rotten teeth because in the Tudor times, rich people were meant to eat sugar which was very expensive and the only way to show they were rich was to really eat so much sugar and then get rotting bad teeth. (We can’t all forget that fact!)

  45. If you all want to know what she ate then take this as useful information: She ate a LOT of meat (because rich people were supposed to eat meat and poor were supposed to eat veggies grown out of the soil / dirt) and she hardly ate any vegetables. She didn’t eat much, but she did eat some. She ate fruits (not as much as meat, though) and she ate quite a lot of fish, but she ate meat most. And, she ate LOTS of sugar to show she was rich! Unfortunately, that’s the reason why she had bad teeth. 😐

  46. OK, why does everyone want to know what she ATE?! Isn’t it a bit random?! Out of all the interesting facts, you want to know what she ate?! Well, “food” would be a good guess. Perhaps meat, fish, little bit of veggies, little bit of fruit, sugar… What’s it to you? Anyway, since you all want to know… My comment above explains more details.

  47. This really helped , Thanks. So much . On Monday I have a test . To write our opinion on wether she was a successful queen . Thank to the facts 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  48. this sites amazing I have never read a site that has so many people interested with the virgin queen this site is so helpful thank you creators of this site it helps so much

    I’m Ute Plegeger and i’m found of elisabeth! It is my love!! And thanks to her I had a great mark 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 Kiss chiken <3

  50. This is so helpful becouse I have to great a fake Facebook page and it’s all about queen elizabeth1.And this really helps me so much .

  51. Very useful for exam revision
    Her hobbies were mostly learning subjects such as Spanish or arithmetic
    Her 2 greatest loves, however were hunting and horse riding. This scared her supervisors as she may have been injured.
    Hope this helps!!(;

  52. Put a bibliography and author on your website please. How can I be certain all this information is true and the person who wrote this isn’t in high school or middle school. Thanks anyway even though I did not use this information in my research.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Most of my articles are referenced and you can click on the About page to find out about me – https://www.elizabethfiles.com/about/. I don’t actively run this site any more as I’m busy with the Anne Boleyn Files website and my writing, but I am an ex-teacher and a writer of nine history books.
      Best Wishes,
      Claire Ridgway

  53. This has helped me with my topic homework thanks so much:):):):):):):):):):):):):. U have done lots of work to help us. once again, THANKS

  54. I just wanted to say thank you for all the amazing work you have put into this. I’m just here to read up on Elizabeth 1. I love the history of England. It’s very intriguing. Again, thank you for all you do, including, I notice, answering many questions.

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