Monday, April 22, 2013

Elizabeth I and Other Women

Did Elizabeth really hate other women? Or just the idea of marriage in general? From author Sandra Byrd:
There has long been an “urban rumor” that Elizabeth Tudor hated other women. It’s true that she was a female monarch in a time which greatly preferred sovereign men.  (Note the extent to which her father, Henry VIII, extended himself to get a male heir, as well as  the contents of John Knox’s much-circulated pamphlet, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” which railed against sitting queens and regents of the era.) Elizabeth  didn’t forestall imprisoning women for long periods of time, such as her Grey cousins and Mary Queen of Scots, when she felt they threatened her throne, which admittedly may have seemed unfeminine and harsh.

Because of her ruling position, Queen Elizabeth was never really able to be an equal companion with anyone.  William Cecil,  1st Baron Burghley, who dedicated his life to her service, once said the queen was “more than a man and, in truth, something less than a woman.” And yet, perhaps that was a man's perspective, or one man's perspective of a woman with power.  

Elizabeth knew how to dress like a woman, flirt like a woman, fall in love like a woman, and there were certainly women who were in every sense her lifelong friends. Take for example, Katherine Carey Knollys, daughter of Mary Boleyn.  Shortly after Elizabeth became queen, she installed this cousin as Chief Lady of the Bedchamber and kept her close at hand, perhaps to the detriment of Knollys family, till the day Lady Knollys died. (Read entire post.)

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