Engraving of Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

YouTube link to Dress to Power When King Henry VIII died in 1547 he was succeeded by his children – first young Edward VI, then Queen Mary I and finally Queen Elizabeth I, who came to the throne in 1558, aged 25. Her reign has been regarded one of the most glorious in English history.

The Queen gathered around her at court all the most powerful and ambitious characters of the age. She played on her subjects’ chivalry to ensure their loyalty and devotion and the greatest men in the kingdom competed for her attention and favour.


Although the Queen did not compete in tournaments herself, they remained popular events held in her honour. Elizabeth’s knights took part in a special tournament to celebrate her accession on the 17 November each year. These Accession Day tournaments grew ever more elaborate reaching spectacular proportions. The tournaments took place at Whitehall Palace and included not only tournament games but also poems, speeches and plays praising the Queen. Thousands of people attended to cheer on the champions and to get a glimpse of the Queen herself.

Did you know?

Mass-produced steel

The first mass-production process for making steel was invented by Englishman Henry Bessemer. Rejected by the British his process was adopted by the German gunmaker Alfred Krupp, who became the most advanced armaments manufacturer in Europe.

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