The Proclamation of the Death of Queen Elizabeth I
A proclamation of the Queen's death was written and preparations for the funeral began. The proclamation of Elizabeth's death and the succession of King James was written to impart the news to the people. Robert Cecil read the proclamation himself first at Whitehall and then at St Pauls. It was greeted with stunned disbelief. Most of the population of England had known no other monarch than Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth I - The Cause of Death
The cause of the death of Queen Elizabeth was not confirmed as there was no post mortem. She was generally believed to have died of blood poisoning possibly caused by the application of the white make-up called ceruse - a mixture of white lead and vinegar, which was poisonous! Other possibilities are cancer or quite simply old age. The body of Queen Elizabeth I was embalmed and laid in state in a lead coffin at Whitehall. The coffin was then taken to Westminster where it stayed until the funeral
The Funeral of Queen Elizabeth I - 28 April 1603
The new King James was welcomed by the people of England. He was a Protestant, married and already had an heir. His popularity did not last and perhaps a sign of things to come was indicated by the funeral arrangements which he approved. The people showed the dead Queen the greatest respect and the funeral procession consisted of over 1000 mourners. This number was swelled by the many Londoners who watched the procession. The coffin was draped in purple velvet, befitting a Queen of England. The coffin was drawn by four horses which were draped in a black livery. The coffin was covered by a large canopy which was held by six Knights of the Realm. On top of the coffin lay an effigy of Queen Elizabeth, dressed in the finest of clothes. The effigy was so life-like it made the people of London gasp. The chief mourners were all dressed in black - the materials varied according to their rank. The long procession of mourners wound its way to Westminster Abbey. The great Queen Elizabeth I was to be laid to rest next to her half-sister. The sister who had always disliked Elizabeth and who had imprisoned her in the Tower of London - the Catholic Bloody Mary. The tomb inscription reads in translation:
"Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary,
in hope of our resurrection."
So the Great Queen Elizabeth I of England was finally laid to rest - one can imagine what she would have said if she had known that she would share her resting place with Mary I for all eternity!