On this day some 427 years ago the coronation of Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors, began with her taking possession of the Tower, and ended two days later in Westminster Abbey, where she was finally crowned Queen of England. She had succeeded her half-sister “Bloody” Mary to the throne when the latter died on 17 November 1558. During her long reign (until 1603), also called the “Golden Age” or Elizabethan Era, England would gradually recover from decades of political and religious turmoil, prosper and expand internationally, and develop a strong navy that managed to defeat the Spanish Armada (1588). Growing national pride and prevailing optimism found expression in music, literature, art and architecture, among others, all of which thrived in the context of prosperity and relative political stability. It is in this context that one of the most famous poets and playwrights England’s emerged: William Shakespeare.

You might enjoy reading BBC’s Elizabeth I: An Overview , or explore its History site.

History Today carries an article that explains in detail medieval coronation proceedings, which lasted several days.

A factual summary of Elizabeth’s reign can be found here.


An illustration of Queen Elizabeth I holding the orb and sceptre.

Source: BBC-Primary History