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.