Picture of The Virgin Queen
 

The Virgin Queen

  • Interesting Facts and information about the Virgin Queen
  • The reasons why Elizabeth never married
  • The Virgin Queen - The scandal of her teenage years
  • Her role as the Sovereign
  • The image of the 'Virgin Queen'

Picture of  The Virgin Queen

The Virgin Queen

 

Queen Elizabeth I was refered to as the Virgin Queen because she remained unmarried to her death. Whether she was a virgin or not is a question of debate.

The Virgin Queen - The reasons why Elizabeth never married
To understand why Queen Elizabeth I never married we need to understand the role of a woman during the Elizabethan era. England was hundreds of years away from women obtaining the right to vote, even longer to the Women's Lib movement.

 
 
 

Elizabethan Women were governed by the rules of society and their roles were subservient to the male members of their families. Elizabethan woman were raised to believe that they were inferior to men and that men knew better! Disobedience was seen as a crime against their religion. The Church firmly believed this and quoted the Bible in order to ensure the continued adherence to this principle.

Understanding the subservient role of Elizabethan women provides an understanding as to why Queen Elizabeth was reluctant to marry, thus earning herself the title of the 'Virgin Queen'. All of her immediate male relatives had died. She was answerable to no male member of the family. Had she married all this would have changed. Elizabeth would have been expected to obey her husband.

 

The Virgin Queen - The scandal of her teenage years
When Elizabeth ascended the throne of England she deliberately nurtured the notion that she was a 'Virgin Queen'. At her coronation she wore her long red hair in a long and flowing style - identifying her as a virgin. Perhaps this 'statement' was designed to quash any remaining rumours of scandal regarding her teenage relationship with Thomas Seymour.

The Virgin Queen - Her role as the Sovereign
Queen Elizabeth I  had to gain the acceptance, obedience and the respect of her subjects despite the fact that she was a woman. A difficult task as, being a female, would normally mean that she occupied an inferior position to virtually every male in the country. Queen Elizabeth I had to create a multi personality with different images of herself:

  • The first as a woman  - which allowed her to retain her femininity
  • The second as a Virgin Queen - who was not bound to obey any husband or male relative
  • The third was of the Sovereign with all the authority that this superior position decreed
 
 

Queen Elizabeth I often referred to herself as "Prince" rather than as Queen thus asserting her position as the Sovereign over that of a woman. The following quote by Queen Elizabeth I taken from her famous speech in which she addressed the English soldiers at Tilbury Fort in 1588 when invasion by the Spanish Armada was imminent.

 

"I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king - and of a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms - I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people."

Queen Elizabeth I Spanish Armada Speech of 1588

 
Queen Elizabeth I
 

Queen Elizabeth I  had to gain the acceptance, obedience and the respect of her subjects despite the fact that she was a woman. A difficult task as, being a female, would normally mean that she occupied an inferior position to virtually every male in the country. Queen Elizabeth I had to create a multi personality with different images of herself:

  • The first as a woman  - which allowed her to retain her femininity
  • The second as a Virgin Queen - who was not bound to obey any husband or male relative
  • The third was of the Sovereign with all the authority that this superior position decreed

Queen Elizabeth I often referred to herself as "Prince" rather than as Queen thus asserting her position as the Sovereign over that of a woman. The following quote by Queen Elizabeth I taken from her famous speech in which she addressed the English soldiers at Tilbury Fort in 1588 when invasion by the Spanish Armada was imminent


The Virgin Queen

Whilst Queen Elizabeth I remained unmarried she retained the unassailable power of the Sovereign. She was also free to enjoy the constant attentions and adulation that she received from her handsome courtiers. Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen was associated with many men who attended the Elizabethan Court - Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert Dudley, Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex, Sir Christopher Hatton to name but a few. Had she married she would have needed to adopt the role of a subservient married matron. Is it any surprise that she remained unmarried to her death - the Virgin Queen?

 

Queen Elizabeth I
Some interesting facts and information about "The Virgin Queen
". Additional details, facts and information about the life of Queen Elizabeth I can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

The Virgin Queen

  • Interesting Facts and information about the Virgin Queen
  • The reasons why Elizabeth never married
  • The Virgin Queen - The scandal of her teenage years
  • Her role as the Sovereign
  • The image of the 'Virgin Queen'
  • Why Queen Elizabeth I remained the 'Virgin Queen'
 
 

Queen Elizabeth's Coat of Arms

 

Queen Elizabeth's Coat of Arms

The Virgin Queen

 

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