QUEEN ELIZABETH I
The Armada Portrait
As Elizabeth was single and childless,
the issue of the succession concerned a number of people, and opinion was
divided over who should succeed. Many, especially Roman Catholics, believed
that the best right lay with Mary, Queen of Scots, who was
VII's great granddaughter, while others favoured Arabella Stuart
or the sons of Catherine Grey. Because Mary, Queen of Scots, was Roman
Catholic, and Elizabeth's prisoner after her deposition in Scotland, many
Roman Catholics plotted to kill Elizabeth and make Mary queen instead.
One such man was Anthony Babington, and it was for involvement in his plot
to free her, that Mary was executed at Fotheringay Castle in the February
of 1587. The following year, Philip II of Spain sent his famous Armada
against England, in the hope of deposing Elizabeth and bestowing the throne
on his daughter, Isabel the Infanta. Determined to lead and inspire her
people at this critical hour, Elizabeth left London for Tilbury, and there
delivered a powerful speech to her soldiers. After a long battle in the
English Channel, the English triumphed, and the defeat of the Spanish
Armada is one of the most famous events in English history.
Elizabeth died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace, London. Her funeral was held the following month, and witnesses reported that the grief of her subjects was so profound that when they saw her coffin being carried through the streets of London with the Queen's effigy upon it, there was such a crying and moaning that the like had never been known in history for the death of a sovereign.
The House of Tudor died with Elizabeth, and she was succeeded by King James VI of Scotland, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, who became James I