Updated: Sep 6, 2022
1 September 1399 - Richard II was imprisoned in the Tower of London, after surrendering to Henry Bolingbroke
The king's dependence on a small number of courtiers caused discontent among the influential, & in 1387 control of government was taken over by a group of aristocrats known as the Lords Appellant. By 1389 Richard had regained control, & for the next eight years governed in relative harmony with his former opponents. In 1397, he took his revenge on the Appellants, many of whom were executed or exiled. The next two years have been described by historians as Richard's "tyranny". In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt's son, Henry Bolingbroke (later king Henry IV), who had previously been exiled. Henry invaded England in June 1399 with a small force that quickly grew in numbers. On 19 August, Richard surrendered to Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle, promising to abdicate if his life were spared.
Both men then returned to London, the indignant king riding all the way behind Henry. On arrival, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 1 September.
According to the official record, read by the Archbishop of Canterbury during an assembly of lords & commons at Westminster Hall on Tuesday 30 September, Richard gave up his crown willingly & ratified his deposition citing as a reason his own unworthiness as a monarch. On the other hand, the Traison et Mort Chronicle suggests otherwise. It describes a meeting between Richard & Henry that took place one day before the parliament's session. The king succumbed to blind rage, ordered his release from the Tower, called his cousin a traitor, demanded to see his wife & swore revenge throwing down his bonnet, while Henry refused to do anything without parliamentary approval. When parliament met to discuss Richard's fate, John Trevor, Bishop of St Asaph, read thirty-three articles of deposition that were unanimously accepted by lords & commons. On 1 October 1399, Richard II was formally deposed. On 13 October, the feast day of Edward the Confessor, Henry Bolingbroke was crowned king.
Henry had agreed to let Richard live after his abdication. This all changed when it was revealed that the earls of Huntingdon, Kent, & Salisbury & Lord Despenser, & possibly also the Earl of Rutland – all now demoted from the ranks they had been given by Richard – were planning to murder the new king & restore Richard in the Epiphany Rising. Although averted, the plot highlighted the danger of allowing Richard to live. He is thought to have been starved to death in captivity in Pontefract Castle on or around 14 February 1400, although there is some question over the date & manner of his death.
1 September 1532 - Lady Anne Boleyn was granted the title Marquess of Pembroke by her fiancé, King Henry VIII of England.
On 1 September 1532, Henry VIII made Anne Boleyn, a Marquis of Pembroke, a title in her own right, to “fit” her for the European stage & in readiness for the couple’s upcoming meeting with King Francis I of France.
Anne became a rich & important woman: the three dukes & two marquesses who existed in 1532 were the King's brother-in-law, the King's illegitimate son, & other descendants of royalty; she ranked above all other peeresses.
'The Great Matter'* was still not resolved & Anne was not yet Henry’s wife & Queen, so she required some status befitting of England’s future Queen.
The ceremony took place at Windsor Castle & was an elaborate affair, witnessed by the highest ranking peers & clergy in the kingdom. Anne, loose haired & dressed in jewels & ermine trimmed velvet, looked like a queen. Accompanied by her cousin, Mary Howard, & the Countesses of Derby & Rutland, Anne was taken into Henry VIII’s presence by the Garter King-at-arms. She knelt in front of the King & the Dukes of Norfolk & Suffolk, & listened as Stephen Gardiner read out the patent which gave her the title of Marquis of Pembroke, a title that would pass on to her offspring.
After this patent was read, the King crowned her with the gold coronet of a marquis & placed on her a crimson velvet mantle. Anne received not only the patent but also her own lands, which were worth over £1000 per year. Anne would be the first & last holder of the title.
* Henry was seeking the pope's blessing for his wish to divorce Queen Katharine, so he could marry Anne, he called this 'The Great Matter'.
The then extinct title of Earl of Pembroke had been very significant for the House of Tudor. It was held by Henry VIII's grand-uncle, Jasper Tudor, & it referred to the birthplace of King Henry VII. .
1 September 1878 – Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born (d.1942)
Princess Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the fourth child & third daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, & Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. As the wife of Ernst II, she was Princess consort of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. She was a granddaughter of both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom & Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
2 September 1192 - The Treaty of Jaffa was signed between king Richard I of England and Saladin, leading to the end of the Third Crusade.
The Great Fire of London, depicted by an unknown painter (1675), as it would have appeared from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666. To the left is London Bridge; to the right, the Tower of London. Old St Paul's Cathedral is in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames.
2 September 1666 - The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London from Sunday, 2 September to Thursday, 6 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, & most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants.
The fire started in a bakery shortly after midnight on Sunday, 2 September, & spread rapidly. The use of the major firefighting technique of the time, the creation of firebreaks by means of demolition, was critically delayed due to the indecisiveness of the Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Bloodworth. By the time large-scale demolitions were ordered on Sunday night, the wind had already fanned the bakery fire into a firestorm which defeated such measures. The fire pushed north on Monday into the heart of the City. On Tuesday, the fire spread over nearly the whole City, destroying St. Paul's Cathedral & leaping the River Fleet to threaten Charles II's court at Whitehall. Coordinated firefighting efforts were simultaneously getting underway. The battle to put out the fire is considered to have been won by two key factors: the strong east wind dropped, & the Tower of London garrison used gunpowder to create effective firebreaks, halting further spread eastward.
The death toll is unknown but generally thought to have been relatively small; only six verified deaths were recorded. Some historians have challenged this belief claiming the deaths of poorer citizens were not recorded & that the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims, leaving no recognisable remains. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1,250 °C (2,280 °F; 1,520 K). After the fire, London was reconstructed on essentially the same medieval street plan which still exists today.
A panorama of the City of London in 1616 by Claes Visscher. The tenement housing on London Bridge (far right) was a notorious death-trap in case of fire; much would be destroyed in a fire in 1633.
The London Gazette for 3–10 September, facsimile front page with an account of the Great Fire.
The LONDONERS Lamentation, a broadside ballad published in 1666 giving an account of the fire, and of the limits of its destruction.
2 September 1705 - George II married Caroline of Ansbach
On 22 September 1705 Caroline arrived in Hanover for her wedding, which was held the same evening in the chapel at Herrenhausen. Caroline's ten pregnancies resulted in eight live births. One of their children died in infancy, & seven lived to adulthood.
Frederick, Prince of Wales (1 February 1707 - 31 March 1751). He married Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha in 1736; among his children was the future George III.
Anne, Princess Royal (2 November 1709 - 12 January 1759), married William IV, Prince of Orange in 1734.
Princess Amelia (10 June 1711 - 31 October 1786), never married.
Princess Caroline (10 June 1713 - 28 December 1757), never married.
Stillborn son (20 November 1716).
Prince George William (13 November 1717 - 17 February 1718).
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland (26 April 1721 - 31 October 1765), never married.
Princess Mary (5 March 1723 - 14 January 1772), married Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel in 1740.
Princess Louisa (18 December 1724 - 19 December 1751), she married Frederick V, King of Denmark and Norway in 1743
3 September 1189 - King Richard I coronation at Westminster Abbey
Richard I was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey on 3 September 1189. Tradition barred all Jews & women from the investiture, but some Jewish leaders arrived to present gifts for the new king. According to Ralph of Diceto, Richard's courtiers stripped & flogged the Jews, then flung them out of court.
When a rumour spread that Richard had ordered all Jews to be killed, the people of London attacked the Jewish population. Many Jewish homes were destroyed by arsonists, & several Jews were forcibly converted. Some sought sanctuary in the Tower of London, & others managed to escape. Among those killed was Jacob of Orléans, a respected Jewish scholar. Roger of Howden, in his Gesta Regis Ricardi, claimed that the jealous & bigoted citizens started the rioting, & that Richard punished the perpetrators, allowing a forcibly converted Jew to return to his native religion. Baldwin of Forde, Archbishop of Canterbury, reacted by remarking, "If the King is not God's man, he had better be the devil's".
Offended that he was not being obeyed & realising that the assaults could destabilise his realm on the eve of his departure on crusade, Richard ordered the execution of those responsible for the most egregious murders & persecutions, including rioters who had accidentally burned down Christian homes. He distributed a royal writ demanding that the Jews be left alone. The edict was only loosely enforced, however, & the following March further violence occurred, including a massacre at York.
Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine & Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, & Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, & Nantes, & was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine & seemed unlikely to become king, but all his brothers except the youngest, John, predeceased their father. Richard is known as Richard Cœur de Lion (Norman French: Le quor de lion) or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader & warrior.
3 September 1660 - James, Duke of York (later King James II) married Anne Hyde
On 31 December 1660, following his brother's (Charles II) restoration, James was created Duke of Albany in Scotland, to go along with his English title, Duke of York. Upon his return to England, James prompted an immediate controversy by announcing his engagement to Anne Hyde, the daughter of Charles's chief minister, Edward Hyde. In 1659, while trying to seduce her, James promised he would marry Anne. Anne became pregnant in 1660, but following the Restoration & James's return to power, no one at the royal court expected a prince to marry a commoner, no matter what he had pledged beforehand. Although nearly everyone, including Anne's father, urged the two not to marry, the couple married secretly, then went through an official marriage ceremony on 3 September 1660 in London.
Charles, Duke of Cambridge (22 October 1660 - 5 May 1661)
Mary II (30 April 1662 - 28 December 1694), she married William III, Prince of Orange in 1677.
James, Duke of Cambridge (11 or 12 July 1663 - 20 June 1667)
Anne, later Queen Anne (6 February 1665 - 1 August 1714). She married Prince George of Denmark in 1683.
Charles, Duke of Kendal (4 July 1666 - 22 May 1667)
Edgar, Duke of Cambridge (14 September 1667 - 8 June 1671)
Henrietta (13 January 1669 - 15 November 1669)
Catherine (9 February 1671 - 5 December 1671)
Samuel Pepys wrote that James was fond of his children & his role as a father, & played with them "like an ordinary private father of a child", a contrast to the distant parenting common with royalty at the time. James's wife was devoted to him & influenced many of his decisions. Anne died in 1671, & James later married Mary of Modena in 1673.
4 September 925 - Athelstan coronation at Kingston upon Thames
Æthelstan presenting a book to St Cuthbert c.930, the earliest surviving portrait of an English king. Illustration in a manuscript of Bede's Life of Saint Cuthbert presented by Æthelstan to the saint's shrine in Chester-le-Street. He wore a crown of the same design on his "crowned bust" coins.
Æthelstan or Athelstan (Old English: Æðelstān [ˈæðelstɑ:n]; Old Norse: Aðalsteinn; lit. 'noble stone'; c. 894 – 27 October 939) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 & King of the English from 927 to his death in 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder & his first wife, Ecgwynn. Modern historians regard him as the first King of England and one of the "greatest Anglo-Saxon kings". He never married & had no children. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.
When Edward the Elder died in July 924, Æthelstan was accepted by the Mercians as king. His half-brother Ælfweard may have been recognised as king in Wessex, but died within three weeks of their father's death. Æthelstan encountered resistance in Wessex for several months, & was not crowned until September 925. In 927 he conquered the last remaining Viking kingdom, York, making him the first Anglo-Saxon ruler of the whole of England. In 934 he invaded Scotland & forced Constantine II to submit to him. Æthelstan's rule was resented by the Scots & Vikings, & in 937 they invaded England. Æthelstan defeated them at the Battle of Brunanburh, a victory that gave him great prestige both in the British Isles & on the Continent. After his death in 939 the Vikings seized back control of York, & it was not finally reconquered until 954.
Æthelstan centralised government; he increased control over the production of charters & summoned leading figures from distant areas to his councils. These meetings were also attended by rulers from outside his territory, especially Welsh kings, who thus acknowledged his overlordship. More legal texts survive from his reign than from any other 10th-century English king. They show his concern about widespread robberies, & the threat they posed to social order. His legal reforms built on those of his grandfather, Alfred the Great. Æthelstan was one of the most pious West Saxon kings, & was known for collecting relics & founding churches. His household was the centre of English learning during his reign, & it laid the foundation for the Benedictine monastic reform later in the century. No other West Saxon king played as important a role in European politics as Æthelstan, & he arranged the marriages of several of his sisters to continental rulers.
4 September 1241 - Alexander III, king of Scots was born at Roxburgh Castle.
Coronation of King Alexander on Moot Hill, Scone. He is being greeted by the ollamh rígh Alban, the royal poet of Scotland, who is addressing him with the proclamation "Benach De Re Albanne" (= Beannachd Dé Rígh Albanaich - "God Bless the King of Scots"); the poet goes on to recite Alexander's genealogy. Malcolm II, Earl of Fife, depicted holding the sword standing beside King Alexander.
Alexander III was King of Scots from 1249 until his death in 1286. He concluded the Treaty of Perth, by which Scotland acquired sovereignty over the Western Isles & the Isle of Man. He was the only son of Alexander II by his 2nd wife Marie de Coucy. Alexander's father died on 6 July 1249 & he became king at the age of 7.
He married twice; firstly to Margaret of England, daughter of Henry III of England & Eleanor of Provence on 26 December 1251, when he was ten years old & she was eleven. She died in 1275, after they had had three children.
Margaret (1261 – 1283), who married King Eric II of Norway.
Alexander, Prince of Scotland (1264 - 1284).
David (1272 – 1281)
Towards the end of Alexander's reign, the death of all three of his children within a few years made the question of the succession one of pressing importance. In 1284 he induced the Estates to recognize as his heir-presumptive his granddaughter Margaret, the "Maid of Norway". The need for a male heir led him to contract a second marriage to Yolande de Dreux on 1 November 1285.
Alexander died in a fall from his horse while riding in the dark to visit the queen at Kinghorn in Fife on 19 March 1286 because it was her birthday the next day. Alexander ignored the repeated warnings about travelling in a storm. The king became separated from his party near Kinghorn, & was found dead with a broken neck near the shore the following morning. It is assumed that his horse lost its footing in the dark. After Alexander's death, his realm was plunged into a period of darkness that would eventually lead to war with England.
He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey.
As Alexander left no surviving children, the heir to the throne was his unborn child by Queen Yolande. When Yolande's pregnancy ended, probably with a miscarriage, Alexander's three-year-old granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, became the heir. Margaret died, still uncrowned, on her way to Scotland in 1290. The inauguration of John Balliol as king on 30 November 1292 ended the six years of the Guardians of Scotland governing the land.
4 September 1346 - Siege of Calais begins
4 September 1588 – Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, English academic and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk died (b. 1532)
Robert Dudley was the fifth son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, & his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Edward Guildford. In 1553 after his father, the Duke of Northumberland, had failed to prevent the accession of Mary I. Robert Dudley was condemned to death but was released in 1554 & took part in the Battle of St. Quentin under Mary's husband & co-ruler, Philip, which led to his full rehabilitation. On Elizabeth I's accession in November 1558, Dudley was appointed Master of the Horse. He later became a Privy Councillor, Lord Steward of the Royal Household & Earl of Leicester. Ge was one of the greatest landowners in North Wales & the English West Midlands by royal grants.
He was one of Elizabeth I's leading statesmen, involved in domestic as well as foreign politics alongside William Cecil & Francis Walsingham. Although he refused to be married to Mary, Queen of Scots, Dudley was for a long time relatively sympathetic to her until, from the mid-1580s, he strongly advocated for her execution. As patron of the Puritan movement, he supported non-conforming preachers but tried to mediate between them & the bishops of the Church of England. A champion also of the international Protestant cause, he led the English campaign in support of the Dutch Revolt (1585–87). His acceptance of the post of Governor-General of the United Provinces infuriated Queen Elizabeth. The expedition was a military & political failure, & it ruined the Earl financially.
He was engaged in many large-scale business ventures & was one of the main backers of Francis Drake & other explorers & privateers. During the Spanish Armada, the Earl was in overall command of the English land forces. In this function, he invited Queen Elizabeth to visit her troops at Tilbury. This was the last of many events he had organised over the years, the most spectacular being the festival at his seat Kenilworth Castle in 1575 on occasion of a three-week visit by the Queen. Dudley was a principal patron of the arts, literature, & the Elizabethan theatre.
The tomb of Robert & Lettice Dudley, erected by the Countess. Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick
4 September 1759 - Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain died
Princess Elizabeth Caroline was born at Norfolk House, St James's Square, Westminster on 10 January 1741.
Her father was The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George II & Caroline of Ansbach. Her mother was The Princess of Wales (née Augusta of Saxe-Gotha). Little is known of her short life other than a fragment preserved in the Letters of Walpole.
'We have lost another Princess, Lady Elizabeth. She died of an inflammation in her bowels in two days. Her figure was so very unfortunate, that it would have been difficult for her to be happy, but her parts & application were extraordinary. I saw her act in "Cato" at eight years old, (when she could not stand alone, but was forced to lean against the side-scene,) better than any of her brothers & sisters. She had been so unhealthy, that at that age she had not been taught to read, but had learned the part of Lucia by hearing the others study their parts. She went to her father & mother, & begged she might act. They put her off as gently as they could—she desired leave to repeat her part, & when she did, it was with so much sense, that there was no denying her.
— Horace Walpole, letter to Horatio Mann, 13 September 1759.
She died on 4 September 1759 at Kew Palace, London & was buried at Westminster Abbey.
5 September 1548 - Catherine Parr died
Catherine Parr (born c. August 1512) was Queen of England & Ireland (1543–47) as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, & the final queen consort of the House of Tudor. She married him on 12 July 1543, & outlived him by a year & eight months. With four husbands, she is the most-married English queen. She was the first woman to publish under her own name in English in England
Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry's three children & was personally involved in the education of her stepchildren Elizabeth I & Edward VI. She was influential in Henry's passing of the Third Succession Act in 1543 that restored both his daughters, Mary & Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne. Catherine was appointed regent from July to September 1544 while Henry was on a military campaign in France & in case he lost his life, she was to rule as regent until Edward came of age. However, he did not give her any function in government in his will. On 25 April 1544, she published her first book, Psalms or Prayers, anonymously. On account of Catherine's Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of anti-Protestant officials, who sought to turn the King against her; a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1545. However, she & the King soon reconciled. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name on 2 June 1545. She assumed the role of Elizabeth's guardian following the King's death, & published a third book, The Lamentation of a Sinner, on 5 November 1547.
Henry died on 28 January 1547. After the king's death, Catherine was allowed to keep the queen's jewels & dresses as queen dowager. About six months after Henry's death, she married her fourth & final husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley. The marriage was short-lived, as she died on Wednesday, 5 September 1548 due to complications of childbirth. Parr's funeral was held on 7 September 1548. Parr's funeral was the first Protestant funeral in England, Scotland or Ireland to be held in English.
Her four marriages;
Sir Edward Burgh (m. 1529; d. 1533)
John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer (m. 1534; d. 1543)
Henry VIII of England (m. 1543; d. 1547)
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley (m. 1547)
6 September 1997 - The Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales took place in Westminster Abbey
✝️ Diana's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. The previous day Queen Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast. Her sons walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, along with the Prince of Wales & the Duke of Edinburgh, & with Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. Representatives from the charities with which she worked during her life were invited to walk behind her coffin. Re-written in tribute to Diana, "Candle in the Wind" was performed by Elton John at the funeral service (the only occasion the song has ever been performed live), while the global proceeds from the subsequent sale of the song have gone to Diana's charities.
The burial occurred privately later the same day. Diana's former husband, sons, mother, siblings, a close friend, & a clergyman were present. Diana's body was clothed in a black long-sleeved dress designed by Catherine Walker. A set of rosary beads was placed in her hands, a gift she had received from Mother Teresa, who died the same week as Diana. Her grave is on an island within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home for centuries.
The burial party was provided by the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, who were given the honour of carrying the Princess across to the island and lay her to rest. Diana was the Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief from 1992 to 1996. The original plan was for Diana to be buried in the Spencer family vault at the local church in nearby Great Brington, but Lord Spencer said that he was concerned about public safety & security and the onslaught of visitors that might overwhelm Great Brington. He decided that Diana would be buried where her grave could be easily cared for & visited in privacy by William, Harry, & other Spencer relatives.
Read our Diana biography here
7 September 1191 – Third Crusade: Battle of Arsuf: Richard I of England defeats Saladin at Arsuf.
7 September 1533 - Queen Elizabeth I was born
Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace & was named after her grandmothers, Elizabeth of York & Elizabeth Howard. She was the second child of Henry VIII of England born in wedlock to survive infancy. Her mother was Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn. At birth, Elizabeth was the heir presumptive to the throne of England. Her older half-sister, Mary, had lost her position as a legitimate heir when Henry annulled his marriage to Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne, with the intent to sire a male heir & ensure the Tudor succession.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England & Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
Elizabeth was two years & eight months old when her mother was beheaded on 19 May 1536. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, & Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother Edward VI ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey & ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, the Roman Catholic Mary & the younger Elizabeth, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside & Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.
Upon her half-sister's death in 1558, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne & set out to rule by good counsel. She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the supreme governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry & produce an heir; however, despite numerous courtships, she never did. She was eventually succeeded by her first-cousin twice-removed, James VI of Scotland, laying the foundation for the Kingdom of Great Britain. She had earlier been responsible for the imprisonment & execution of James's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.
In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father & half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see & keep silent"). In religion, she was relatively tolerant & avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 & released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, manoeuvring between the major powers of France & Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, & Ireland. By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain.
As she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult of personality grew around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day. Elizabeth's reign became known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare & Christopher Marlowe, & for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic & military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer & a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle & limited, & when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom & helped forge a sense of national identity.
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