I've changed the banner to Elizabeth the First since she came to power on the 17th November 1558 - ushering in the English Elizabethan Age.
She reigned as Queen from 1558 till her death in 1603 - a considerable length of time
Her parents were King Henry the Eighth and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
Anne Boleyn was beheaded for the false charges of adultery, treason, incest, and witchcraft in order to make way for wife number 3, Jane Seymour. Elizabeth was only three years old at the time of her mother death.
Elizabeth's half brother Edward and half sister Mary took the throne before her, not forgetting the Nine day queen , Lady Jane Grey .
During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London due to fears that she would be the focus of a protestant coup - Queen Mary had returned England to Catholicism [and was given the nickname 'Bloody Mary' due to burning 300 people at the stake for heresy]
Elizabeth never married, and this was her deliberate policy despite the attitudes at the time requiring marriage and an heir to the throne. Possibly her fathers attitude to marriage had some impact on her own decisions , but its also possible that seeing so many women die after childbirth that marriage to her country was preferable.
She was also very well educated which was unusual at the time; women were not generally taught to read, and yet, Elizabeth was taught latin, greek, french , spanish and italian and also public speaking, which stood her in good stead once she became queen.
Opinions differ regarding Elizabeth's reign- some say that she was too indecisive and other say this was a political ploy to delay things until the political climate was right, however her intelligence is undisputed.
Her main rival was her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, a Catholic who had the potential support of France and Spain. Mary was no real match for Elizabeth , and when she was forced to abdicate the throne of Scotland, she fled to England. Mary was imprisoned, and finally executed in 1587.
Mary's death was in part responsible for the Spanish Armada sent by King Philip of Spain in an attempt to invade England.
The Armada was defeated and the ships were forced to head north past Ireland and Scotland, and many ships ran aground.
[My dad once found a goblet on the beach in Dunoon, Scotland ,which was identified as being something washed ashore from a wrecked Spanish Armada Galleon ]
The lot of the common people did not necessarily improve much under Elizabeth, though she did pass the 'Poor Laws' which allowed some help to the 'deserving poor'.
However, her reign is said to be a golden period due to her patronage of the arts - writers like Shakespeare and Marlowe and her investment in exploration [or priracy according to your point of view] Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Releigh.
elizabeth the first
good queen bess