‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.’
She was the daughter of one of the most feared Kings to ever sit on the throne of England – and a Queen whose fierce intellect and courtly charms split the church in two. Elizabeth would become one of England’s longest serving monarchs (she ruled for 44 years) and would restore stability, defining her reign so effectively we now refer to it merely as ‘Elizabethan’. The best bit? She did so without a man by her side. Instead, Elizabeth declared she was married to her kingdom, referring to her subjects once in 1599 as ‘all my husbands, my good people’. Over the decades she would become as feared and revered as her father, Henry VIII, with Pope Sixtus V declaring: ‘She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all’.