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Memoir Historical Investigation for Elizabeth I: The outcast who became England’s Queen by Alicia Siddons


Primary Source

This photograph shows Queen Elizabeth I’s signature. Like all in the Tudor family and their court, Elizabeth took great care in adding grand loops and majestic swirls to her name, making it fit for a Queen of such magnificence. This source is of interest to me for Elizabeth used this signature to sign manuscripts, letters, and any official documents. These were truly important throughout her life for it was very often the only way to contact her family and to address other people in power. Through raised suspicions that were consequence to a forged letter, Elizabeth was condemned to the tower. This shows how her signature, a valid mark of the composer's honesty, is of value to both herself and her kingdom, for it was to secure safety in a hard time of corruption and foul play. Another reason I chose this source, is because I am astonished by the amount of care Elizabeth put in and how she could replicate such an impressive piece of art each time she signed her name.


Secondary Source "Would I had known no more...but she must die, / She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin, / A most unspotted lily shall she pass / To th' ground, and all the world shall mourn her" (V. iv. 59-62). These are they final words of praise that William Shakespeare, a famous poet and playwright, spoke of his deceased patron. He addresses the Virgin Queen with grace and speaks of the grief that befell the country after her death. This quote is an example of the influence Elizabeth had over the great artist such as Shakespeare, and proves how she was loved by her subjects as Shakespeare states, “...all the world shall mourn her�. Within this quote, Shakespeare also regards her as the Virgin Queen which refers to her decision to remain single. In claiming this title, Elizabeth showed the world that a woman can govern a country and is not dependent on any man in order to do so. For this I truly admire her, the reason for which I choose this particular source.


Review Elizabeth I: the outcast who became England’s queen, by Simon Adams, is a colourful and engaging biography that conveys the story of one of England’s most memorable and honoured monarchs, Queen Elizabeth the First. While addressing the royal birth and family history of the incredible woman, the book includes portraits and pictures of the famous royalty and their grandiose attire. The biography does not fail to also describe the history behind her beheaded mother and the gruesome tale of her father’s six wives. After recollecting the Tudor family history, Simon Adams moves into Elizabeth’s childhood as an orphan, referring to the teenage scandal with Lord Thomas Seymour, and the Princess’s imprisonment in the dreaded tower. However, the book’s greatest treasures come as it moves into Elizabeth’s coronation, and the challenges she faced bringing religious peace to the country, warding off unwanted suitors, and most importantly defeating the Spanish armada as Queen of England. This biography portrays the marvellous achievements and legacies of the adored “Good Queen Bess”, along with the wealth and power she brought throughout her remarkable reign. There are many aspects of this book which make it an appealing read. It is full of details and fun facts that refer to Elizabeth in ways one would an actual human. By doing this, the book makes her seem less a simple historical figure and someone worth admiring as one would any other. Such act is demonstrated when the book adds, “Although Elizabeth was good at learning languages, her spoken French was not that good. The French ambassador used to mimic her accent, for she made all her “A” sounds faaaaar too long!” (16) Another engaging feature is the time line which runs at the bottom of each page. By including this, the book aids those who are not familiar with English history, for one can simply refer to it for clarification. This timeline begins by stating, “1485: Henry Tudor defeated Richard III in battle to seize the throne as Henry VII, the first Tudor King.” (8), and ends with “2003: The 400th anniversary of Elizabeth’s death is commemorated with a major exhibition in Greenwich.” (59) These two additions alone make the book inviting, however the overall package of the biography is enticing. Being short in length makes it a quick read yet it still manages to capture the most important aspects of Elizabeth’s life in rich descriptions that do justice to Elizabeth’s great achievements. Within 59 pages, the book manages to fill its pages with pictures, illustrations, portraits, signatures, letters, and quotes along with many other graphics and facts. It describes England’s political position as a war between the Catholics and Protestants tore the country apart, along with England’s rivals, descriptions of Elizabeth’s suitors, and England’s victory over the Spanish armada. By also naming the successes by the likes of Sir Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and William Shakespeare, the book provides in depth knowledge of the era, as well as portraying Elizabeth’s reign in its worthy light. The essence is found in Elizabeth’s own words, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too. -Elizabeth rallying her troops at Tilbury, August 8, 1588” (49) For these reasons stated, I believe others would thoroughly enjoy reading this book, any feminist or fan of old English history in particular.


Torn in Scarlet I am once again alone in this world. I sit in the rattling carriage as I travel through the miserable rain England so frequently bestows upon its subjects. It is May 1548, and I, Elizabeth, have been sent away to the country in disgrace. I am a princess, in blood, in virtue; in a torn silk gown that Katherine hadn't even the heart to repair. In my lonely wonderings of this wicked world, I contemplate the most shameful of events. Only yesterday I had strolled through the blossoming gardens, exploring the neatly trimmed maze with Katherine. As we circled Hatfield Palace, we conversed of matters at court, rehearsing in Latin and Greek, at times a little Italian or Spanish. Threading her arm through my own, Katherine proposed: “My dear Elizabeth, shall we not recite some French poetry?” Then pointing at the oak trees she continued, “It shall sound most delightful under this shade.” “Absolutely not,” I retorted, “I shall not be condemned to further mockery.” “Mockery? Good heavens Elizabeth, what an absurd thought that is. Have I not always treated you as my own daughter; treasured you and loved you as my own?” “Indeed, you have, dear Katherine, yet I cannot remove myself from the painful recollection of the French ambassador’s mimics. Apparently, I hold my ‘A’s for far too long.” Katherine laughed then and replied, “Well in my eyes you are most splendid in all that you do. You have not a sin in your heart.” “Merci beaucoup Kaaaathrine,” I gushed as we both giggled. “Come; let us enjoy this shade while it lasts. I fear nightfall is upon us.” At present, I smile at this sweet memory. Yet the corners of my mouth sink as the proceeding events engulf my mind. Late that evening, Katherine, Thomas and I had huddled in the drawing room by the fire. A foreboding storm swept across the grounds, and the house trembled in its wake. Katherine embroidered while Thomas sat opposite reading poetry. With every flash of lighting and thunderous roar, he glanced up from the pages of his book and directed his gaze upon me. Engaged in studying ancient Greek philosophy, I struggled to focus on my text. I took a glimpse at Thomas. Our eyes locked. He smiled contentedly before he proposed: “Elizabeth, does the weather not cast such melancholy upon the evening? Would you not gift us with a short performance? You always play so well. I’d love to hear your latest improvements.” I blushed at hearing this and replied, “If it be your wish, Lord High Admiral of England, I, a mere princess, shall have to oblige.” Katherine smiled, but neglected to tear her eyes from her work to catch her husband wink at me. Removing myself from the drawing room, I scurried upstairs to fetch my lute. When I returned, Katherine had excused herself for the night, and I was left playing for the single company of Lord Seymour.


I progressed through the pavans before moving into the galliards I had just recently learnt. As I did so, Thomas pulled faces, twisting his lips, puffing his cheeks, and widening his eyes. I stifled a fit of giggles, giving way to errors in consequence. Thomas began to circle me, playfully poking my sides and stomach with each false note. I ought to have stopped him them, I suppose. Yet I did not, as his behaviour was in custom, as I recall. Once, Thomas had burst into the nursery during my studies, heaved me off my chair and galloped around the room exclaiming, “Mighty heavens above! A monster has kidnapped the Princess!” My governess had scowled, several servants raised their eyebrows, but none protested. It was no more than simple jest. And with no father to spoil and supply me, my spirits rose in his presence. However, last evening, I had not lost all my sense. “Let us dance,” Thomas had pleaded next. I reminded him, “But the hour is far too late! I must retire to my chambers.” “In which case I shall escort you,” he announced as he swept me into his arms and waltzed me to my bedroom. My hushed giggles echoed through the halls. He then wished me goodnight, and left my room. I crept to my door in order to lock it, but the key was not to be found. Thomas had taken it, I now know, yet in my dreamy haze, I regret that I had thought nothing of it. Most days I woke at dawn and hurriedly dressed. Thomas sometimes liked to appear in the morning. I would engross myself in reading as my cautious protection. However, with the wild weather wailing throughout the night, I tormented in my slumber, and did not rise early. “Good morning Elizabeth,” Thomas whispered, looming above me in my bed. “Do wake, I believe you promised me a dance.” Throwing back my covers, he dragged me from my bed. “But Thomas, we have not had breakfast yet...Lydia!” I called hastily to my servant who bustled in the neighbouring room. Thomas attempted to hush me, tracing my lips with his fingers. I tried shouting louder, “Lydia, is breakfast prepared—” I had not the time to finish for Thomas, in a state of panic, grabbed my arms and pulled me towards him. I struggled, of course, startled by his sudden embrace. “Princess, grant me a kiss, quickly,” Thomas pleaded before he thrust himself upon me. Now, the proceeding events arise before me in the gloomy light of the carriage, as I continue to recollect in agony. Lydia had entered the room to find my bed sheets strung upon the floor, my night dress ripped, and Thomas seized in a passionate fit. With breakfast dismissed, Katherine had wept, her sobbing audible from the confinements of her room. She did not bid me goodbye. With only several servants to aid me, I was ordered to pack my belongings and take leave to the countryside.


Oh what news shall circulate! The whole of England wrought in false assumptions. Thomas shall wriggle himself out of the dreadful affair, I have no doubt. Most assuredly, he shall blame all upon me. And what of Katherine? Once her child is born, will she forget me entirely? I was foolish to think I was ever protected. I have no one to selflessly care for me. How I tremble at the thought! After all, in this empty carriage, there is nothing to catch my tears but the murky roads of this foreign homeland.


Works Cited

Signature Of Queen Elizabeth I . Fine Art. EncyclopĂŚdia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 10 Oct 2012.http://quest.eb.com/images/108_292108 Hunt, Maurice. "The double figure of Elizabeth in 'Love's Labor's Lost.' (Queen Elizabeth I in William Shakespeare's play)." Essays in Literature 19.2 (1992): 173+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. Elizabeth I: The Outcast Who Became England's Queen. N.d. Photograph. Elizabeth I: The Outcast Who Became England's Queen. By Federico Zuccari. Hong Kong: National Geographic, 2005. N. pag. Amazon. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.


Alicia's Historical Investigation