A portrait of Elizabeth I (circa 1600) in the golden robes she wore at her coronation in 1559.

Queen Elizabeth I's rule set a golden legacy for Britain

Elizabeth II's 70-year 'platinum' reign has set records, but it was the first Queen Elizabeth who set the standard for monarchs who followed.

A portrait of Elizabeth I (circa 1600) in the golden robes she wore at her coronation in 1559.
Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman Images

The United Kingdom is pulling out all the stops between June 2 and 5, 2022, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70th year on the throne—the longest reign for any British monarch. Another Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth I (1533–1603), made history in the late 1500s, not for the length of her reign (“only” shy of 45), but for moving England into a booming period of politics, exploration, and the arts—a so-called Golden Age. Clever and strong-willed, she faced numerous obstacles along the way, each one seemingly more challenging than the next—yet nothing she couldn’t overcome.

Elizabeth wasn’t supposed to be queen. Born on September 7, 1533, to Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth lost her line to succession when her father had her mother executed for adultery and treason in 1536, and Henry disowned Elizabeth. Eventually she was welcomed back into the family and reinstated third in the line of succession.

(How Anne Boleyn won and lost the heart of Henry VIII.)

Read This Next

Why seashells are getting harder to find on the seashore
225-year-old working warship sustained by a Navy forest
To discover wild America, follow Bigfoot’s mythical steps

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet