Elizabeth I

(1533 - 1603)

The only child of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I ascended to the throne in 1558 after the deaths of her half-brother, Edward VI (son of Henry and Jane Seymour) and her half-sister, Mary I (daughter of Henry and the Catholic Catherine of Aragon). She ruled England for nearly half a century, during which time England defeated Spain at sea, securing the British Empire’s position as the dominant seafaring power of the sixteenth century. Culture, too, flourished under Elizabeth, with the dramas of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe being particularly associated with her reign. She had a wide array of nicknames, though none so lasting as the Virgin Queen, a nod to the fact that Elizabeth never married, choosing instead to use the promise of union to secure favors from nobles at home and abroad.

All Writing


The West’s first flushable indoor toilet was designed in 1596 by John Harington, the “saucy godson” of Queen Elizabeth. He published his findings as The Metamorphosis of Ajax, the title a pun on a jakes, slang for a lavatory. Harington was banished from court for the pamphlet but allowed back in 1598, when he installed a water closet in the queen’s Richmond palace.

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king.

—Elizabeth I, 1588

Voices In Time

1588 | Tilbury

Taking Up Arms

Elizabeth of England vs. Philip of Spain.More

Voices In Time

1601 | London

At Capacity

Elizabeth I banishes the blackamoors.More

Issues Contributed