Saturday, 6 January 2007

The Mystery of Queen Elizabeth I

Well, having just finished reading Alison Plowden's "Marriage With My Kingdom", about the suitors of Queen Elizabeth I, and the reactions to them, both amongst the English people, and the European political circles, I have been pondering that old question - Why didn't she get married?

Robert Dudley at some point was said to remember of a time when they were children and she swore then that she would not marry. Most childhood pledges drop by the wayside don't they? Maybe there is a lot more to her convictions in this case, seeing as she actually ended up unmarried. Could this have been a reaction to the deaths of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and her step-mother Katherine Howard, at the hands of her father and his government?

Later in life, when she was negotiating a marriage with the Duc de Alencon, she spoke privately and frankly with the Earl of Sussex, about marriage. She is said to have told him that her reasons for avoiding marriage she "would not devulge to her twin soul." This seems to me to have something a lot deeper behind it than her wish to not name an heir, and have everyone looking to the next ruler of the kingdom. Could it have been some reason that she was ashamed of? Could there have been more to the scandal of Thomas Seymour when she was but a teenager, or with Robert Dudley? Was she so afraid of a husband that may find out that she had been "neglectful of her honour", and the scandel this would cause?

Different historians have had many different interpretations for her declining marriage, some medical (unlikely in my opinion), and physological. The questions surrounding her motives are endless.

Now I have started reading "Dublin" by Edward Rutherford. Having enjoyed "London", and "Sarum" particularly, and his other works, I'm already hooked on this book. I don't know much about the history of Ireland. Some of my ancestors are Irish. Some were from County Tyrone in the north, but I also have a strong link to the Byrne (O'Byrne) family from Wicklow near Ireland and this family gets a mention in the book. So I am keen to get a feeling about them! I might write a post about my family history one day, we will see!