The virgin queen, Elizabeth? who didn’t get married throughout
her life proves to be an eternal subject in the western biographic
It was found literature and keeps appealing to her descendants.
that her refusal to marriage was not due to her unwillingness to
share power with her future husband. It was also found the true
reasons are British situation at that time and her personal
experience. With the knowledge that she has devoted all her
energy and soul to the imperial affairs, it is indisputable that
Elizabeth? is on the list of greatest monarchs in British history.
The Virgin Queen
As an unmarried monarch of world history, Elizabeth?, whose love
life is a misery, is an eternal subject in the western biographic literature and keeps appealing to her descendants. After she ascended the throne, she was required by the parliament to choose a husband and get married, but she put on a ring and said: “I have contributed myself to a husband, and his name is Britain.” Elizabeth?, the so-called “virgin queen”, has
been studied in depth by Christopher Hibbert (1992) in his book “The
Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age” and by Cheng
(2000) in his book “Why didn’t Elizabeth? get married throughout all
her life”. There is a question however as to why she wasn’t willing to
get married. Some historical experts claimed that it was because of her anxiety concerning sharing power with her husband, however this is under dispute.
The previously stated topic poses a question: Was Elizabeth? really
too dying for power to refuse marriage? If not so, why did she choose to be unmarried throughout all her life? I believe that her miserable love life didn’t result from her desire for power that was too strong to share it
with her future husband. I also, believe that it was attributed to British situation at that time and her personal experience.
When Elizabeth? came into power, Britain was still weak and
served as the chip between Spain and France and her marriage was directly linked to her nation’s destiny. The first person proposing to her
was the Spanish king Philip ?. At that time, Philip ? was contending
with France and tried his best to keep the alliance between Spain and Britain. But being aligned with Spain to fight France publicly was not in accordance with the interests of Britain. As a maritime state, the rise of Britain had to depend on the sea, whereas Spain was maritime overlord at that time. If Elizabeth? and Philip ? got married, Spain was
doomed to restrain the rise of Britain. As to France, which believed in Catholicism, if she married the French king, she must alienate the British people who believed in Protestantism inevitably. Since Catholicism and Protestantism were incompatible in Britain then, she wouldn’t sharpen the
contradictions because of her marriage. In terms of the European situation at that time, as the British monarch, whoever she married to, it
Just as Churchill said, “The meant forming alliance with that country.
marriage of monarch can be a peaceful link with her neighbor, and also a guarantee to win a war”. In order to achieve the interests of Britain,
Elizabeth? had to keep the balance among the big countries, weakened the two biggest countries by the utilization of contradictions, and then sought for the development of her kingdom. Durant (1963), an American historian, pointed out that the most secret diplomatic method of Elizabeth was her unmarried life in his book, “The Golden Age”. Fu
(2004), in her article, “Marriage Diplomat of Elizabeth?” detailed how
Elizabeth? kept political balance and finally achieved the interests of Britain.
The queen’s experience was also a major obstacle to her marriage. Her father, Henry ? put her mother, Anna Boleyn to death when
Elizabeth? was less than 3 years old. She witnessed the scene that her mother was executed, which made her regard marriage as no more than a nightmare. In the following turbulent ages, she experienced complicated and cruel court fighting and she was put into the Tower of London twice which was used to imprison the criminals convicted of grave crime. Nothing could make her feel safe except power. In addition, actually, the queen did indeed fall in love with a pretty man
named Robert Dudley (Morton, 2004). However, Robert had already got married and he didn’t tell the queen the truth. When she learnt it,
she was extremely sad and couldn’t stand the cheat and betrayal of Robert.
This experience made her more pessimistic about marriage.
With the information provided, it can be concluded that power was not the only reason why Elizabeth? refused marriage. It was also
found that she did so due to her intention that she took her unmarried status as diplomatic advantage for the sake of the interests of Britain, as well as her uncommon experience. With the knowledge that she has devoted all her energy and soul to the imperial affairs and thus made Britain the overlord around the world, it is indisputable that Elizabeth?
is on the list of greatest monarchs in British history.
Hibbert, C. (1995). The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden
Age. Cambridge: Da Capo Press.
Cheng, S. (2000). Why didn’t Elizabeth? get married throughout all her
life. Beijing: International Culture Press. Durant, W. (1963). The Golden Age. New York: Simon and Schuster. Fu, J. (2004). Marriage Diplomat of Elizabeth?. History Teaching, 8(5):
Morton, A. (2004). The Virgin Queen’s Love. New York: St Martin’s