Elizabeth I

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 I (15331603) was one of the most important, famous and emblematic monarchs of England, also the last Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII. Since she was also the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who was executed when she was 2, she was initially considered illegitimate and her half-brother Edward VII (son of Jayne Seymour) took the throne. When he died, after a Nine Days Queen and her elder sister (Mary Tudor) who also, and promptly, died, she acceded to the throne. She governed with the assistance of trusted advisers in a way that would eerily look like the parliamentarian system that was to come and empower Britain, endowing the country with a national identity. She was also pivotal for enforcing Protestantism, unlike her sister, who tried to revert to catholicism, to the extent of jailing Elizabeth, and being known as Bloody Mary for the rest of them. This is however Elizabeth indeed who had Mary, Queen of Scots beheaded (although she kept her imprisoned 18 years in jail before reluctantly coming to that decision. Since Elizabeth produced no heir (she is also known as the "Virgin Queen"), the throne went to the Stuarts anyway, namely, James VI of Scotland, who however did not restore catholicism. Regarding her virgin status, Henri IV (of France) declared that whether this was true or not was one of the great questions of Europe. Elizabeth proved to be a successful politician (whether from skill or luck is disputed), who marked her time so much as it is known as the Elizabethan era, defeating the Spanish armada and installing an aura of invincibility to the British territory, with the flourishing of literature (Shakespeare) and the onset of the English maritime dominion. She also was, seemingly, someone who understood the benefits and duties of her function. She regularly undertook big tours of her kingdom, that she called "progress", going as far north as Stafford (in 1575), where she mixed parades for her subjects, to ensure her popularity, and lavish entertainments for herself. She was close to Bess of Harwick, who was also a remarkable woman of great modernity. A highlight of Elizabeth's life is her relationship with Robert Dudley, whom she appears to have loved and wanted to marry, but this was politically disapproved by her supporters and confiders. Dudley was married but his wife died in murky circumstances, possibly as one of his many efforts to prove to be a suitable husband. Another such prowess was his construction of the Leicester (his original name) house in Kenilworth castle.