Henry VII (1457-1509)
Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)
James VI and I (1566-1625)
John Knox (c. 1513 – 1572)
George Buchanan (1506-1582)
Charles I (1600 -1649)
'The Old Pretender' (1688-1766)
'Bonnie Prince Charlie' (1720 – 1788)
Henry VIII's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, is celebrated as one of England's greatest monarchs. She ruled for 44 years, at the time when England was proving itself a powerful nation, keen to expand into the world. She was a rarity up until that point – an English female monarch – and she had to use all her undoubted political skills and personal charms to succeed and remain in power. This she did, maintaining a stable government, restraining the different religious groups from extremism, and avoiding the confrontations that her predecessor had faced. Importantly, she dealt with the difficult situation presented to her by Mary, Queen of Scots' flight to England.
Her reputation was further enhanced by her military success with the defeat of the forces of King Philip II of Spain, in 1588, when the English navy repelled the invading Spanish Armada. Her speech to the assembled troops at Tilbury gives an indication of her powers: “I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart 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 realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms.”
Elizabeth - the “Virgin Queen”- did not marry and did not produce an heir. As she was the last of the Tudor line, her successor was a major source of debate. She eventually settled on the man most people already regarded as the King-elect – not least the man himself – the Scottish Stewart King, James VI.
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