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Focus on Tudor Life: Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I is the second daughter of King Henry VIII.

As a princess, she doesn't think woman is a weaker sex, she said: "I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, bu I have the heart and stomach of a king..."

After she succeeded Queen Marry, who is her elder sister, the successor of King Edward VI, the son of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth always maintained high standards at her court. She even refused to employ anybody who was ugly - a young man was once denied employment because he had a front tooth missing. Elizabeth hated being disobeyed. Her ladies-in-waiting were expected to ask her permission before they married. Nobody was allowed to sit while she stood, and anyone addressing the Queen had to do so on bend knee.

Even though England was not a rich country, Elizabeth insisted that her coronation appear grand and extravagant. She wanted to show people that she was the rightful heir to the throne.

Elizabeth never married. When Elizabeth was a teenager, she said: "I will never marry!" As reigning Queen, she was under enormous pressure to find a husband and have children. but she said: "I am already bound unto a husband, which is the kingdom of England."

Elizabeth loved poem and court drama, the court became famous for promoting the theatre. Plays by William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were performed before the Queen. Shakespeare believed to  have written The Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night especially for her.

Most summers Elizabeth went on a grand tour of her royal palaces and the homes of her courtiers.  Elizabeth visited her favourite Robert Dudely, she stayed for ten days and was treated to torch-lit dinners, music and fireworks. It is said that when Elizabeth told Dudley that she couldn't see the new gardens from her bedroom, he had a garden built overnight under the Queen's window.

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