Legacy of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England


If there is one monarch who remains famous and relevant even today, then that monarch has to be queen Elizabeth 1 of England. She was born on September seventh, 1533, and died 24th March, 1603. She ascended to the throne on seventeenth November 1558, at the age of twenty five years. At her death, she was still the queen. However, she never married, and as such, she ended up been the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.

Her leadership was objective, and she had a group of advisers who she trusted with advice on running the monarch. They included William Cecil and Baron Burghley. She achieved a lot as the queen, credited with having been the first to visualize England as a superpower. She oversaw the golden age of England, having brought her country to a prosperous level. This was a great fete considering the fact that her sister handed her a country that was plagued with foreign debts and other economic ills.

Queen Elizabeth 1: The Great Queen of England

Her stature in England and all over the world attained an idol-like status after her death. However, many historians like Anne Somerset and Jasper Ridley view her reign as a succession of failures (Howard: 177). They especially point to her military failures both at sea and on land. She is regarded by these historians as been a shade too soft when it came to foreign policy. She never stamped her authority forcefully in Ireland and in Spain.

However, a fair judgment will rule that the virgin queen, as she was popularly known for her

Legacy of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England

mysterious virginity, was one of the most successful leaders in the world. Historians A. L. Rowse (1950) and J. E. Neale especially paint a glowing picture of her reign and legacy. She was able to maintain a balance between the church, the government and the parliament, a fete that her successor was unable to attain (Howard: 177). One of the reasons why she was able to appeal to the church is because of her support to the protestant divide. Soon after ascendancy, she became the leader of the Protestant Church, best known as the Church of England. This is a national identity that she created and is still maintained to date.

On the military front, she was able to check the aggression of Spain to England territories. She is especially remembered for the defeat of the Armada (Howard: 176). She also led successful raids against the Spanish empire, one of the most aggressive administrations at the time. She recorded victories in Cadiz both in 1587 and 1596 (Howard: 172). Her foreign policy, despite what Somerset and her likes say, was by any means a success. This is well captured by Neale when he quotes Pope Sixtus V as saying “she is just a woman, a mistress of half an island. But she makes herself revered by Spain, France and the whole empire” (Howard: 177).

But perhaps she made the greatest mark in the economic front. When she took over from her sister, England was in the brink of economic meltdown (Howard: 175). The country was riddled with a lot of foreign debts, a legacy of misinformed economic management of many years. She was able to turn this around with the help of her advisers. She steered England to her golden age, as far as economic prosperity is concerned (Howard: 176).


It is true that Queen Elizabeth 1 had some challenges during her reign. For example, she had to contend with a nagging parliament, which was demanding for her marriage and subsequent heir. But she was steadfast, and was able to lead this country to attain the status of one of the most influential global players.

Legacy of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England


Howard, Newton H. “The Legacy of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England.” London: London University Press, 2007. 171-177.