Elizabeth l. Did the execution of Mary Stuart lead to the Spanish Armada?


Essay, 2017
12 Pages, Grade: University

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne

2. Religious relations of the sovereign

3. Relations with Philip II and with Spain
3.1. Philip II, King of Spain
3.2. The failed marriage proposal

4. Relations with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots
4.1. A threat to Elizabeth
4.2. The execution of Mary Stuart
4.3. One conspiracy too many

5. The Spanish Armada

6. Famous speech at Tilbury

7. Conclusion:

8. Nodegoat Visualization

9. Bibliography

1.Introduction

The enigmatic Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I of England, left many questions unresolved, particularly in regard to religion. Elizabeth was the “saviour” of Protestantism, together with her rise to the throne; she established it as the state religion as of today. She put in place an uncompromisingly Protestant Church in parliament, of which she became the Supreme Governor. Actually, it was a return to her brother’s, Edward VI, settlement. However, five hundred years ago, this religious change provoked a lot of irritation and anger among Catholics within and without England.1 During this time, many people ardently supported Roman Catholicism, as did Elizabeth’s half-sister, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth’s cousin Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.2 Consequently, as supporter of Protestantism, Elizabeth I made herself numerous enemies throughout her reign and England was constantly on the brink of a religious war. Thus, even her cousin Mary Stuart, became unavoidably her rival.

The following essay aims to provide an understanding of religious relations and the rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, as well as Philip II, King of Spain. In order to do so, it is essential to deliver a suiting context in addition to a thoroughly analysis on the development of these relations. To facilitate this task it is necessary to set up a central question, which will guide the assignment. Our central question is: Did the execution of Mary Stuart lead to the Spanish Armada? Finally, a conclusion will sum up the main points of this essay and give a final perspective on the central question.

1.1. Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne

When Elizabeth became queen in 1558, on the death of her half-sister Mary, she inherited a country in which there was deep religious division. With Elizabeth l’s ascension to the throne, England was now a Protestant nation. Yet, many Catholics in England and overseas didn’t accept Elizabeth as the rightful queen of England. They thought that the Catholic Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, should be given the throne because of Elizabeth's illegitimacy. In fact, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate in 1536, since the Catholics would not recognize Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn as being legal. Plus, they did not condone Henry’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon. Therefore, Catholics saw Elizabeth’s cousin Mary Stuart, granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, as the legitimate queen of England.3

Under Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, the country had split from the Catholic Church and established the independent Church of England, Anglican Church. This development was part of a larger Protestant movement spreading over Europe, led by Martin Luther, a former Catholic priest in Germany. Later, throughout Mary Tudor’s bloody reign, England became Catholic once again. Once Elizabeth reached the throne, she made it her aim to set an end to religious persecution and establish an agreement, or "middle way," which she wished would satisfy both Catholics and Protestants.4

2. Religious relations of the sovereign

The middle way made it possible for both Catholics and Protestants, to keep practicing their beliefs, as long as they went to the Church of England in public. However, people who refused to go to the Church of England, called “recusants”, were punished. Puritans who wanted to get rid of bishops were also punished. Catholics represented the biggest threat to Elizabeth. Some Catholics tried to organize an uprising against her. Elizabeth could never be sure that the English Catholics were loyal. When Mary Queen of Scots came to England in 1568, she became the focus of English Catholic and Spanish plots to overthrow her cousin.5 Therefore, she executed Catholic plot leaders and Catholic priests, who were involved secret services and were plotting against her. Executions were very common in Tudor England. Under Elizabeth I’s reign, 130 Catholic priests who were captured and publicly executed.6

In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth, which meant she was banded from being part of the Catholic community, and released all her subjects, even when they had "sworn oaths to her", and excommunicated any that obeyed her orders. He claimed that the pope alone was head of the earthly Church, not the “pretended queen of England.7

3. Relations with Philip II and with Spain

In the late 16th century, Spain was the most powerful empire in the world. Philip II, Spain's monarch, reined over a great part of the New World and much of Western Europe. England and Spain had been allies for much of the 16th century.8

3.1. Philip II, King of Spain

King Philip II of Spain, often referred to as Philip the Prudent of the House of Habsburg, was one of the most significant rulers in Spanish history. Spain was at the peak of its influence and power, under his rule. At some point, Philip II was also known as the King of Portugal, King of Naples, Duke of Milan, and lord of Seventeen Provinces of Netherlands. Through his marriage to Mary Tudor, he became the King of England and Ireland, but only for a short period of time. Philip’s father Charles V arranged his marriage with Queen Mary l of England in 1554. For Philip, this arrangement was entirely political. Their marriage was essentially a business contract between England and Spain, under which Philip became King of England and Ireland. With the death of Mary Tudor in 1558, he no longer had a claim to the English throne.9 “Far from being saddened, Philip was probably relieved to be rid of a wife who meant nothing to him and who could not bear him any children. To maintain the alliance with England, he offered to marry Queen Elizabeth I.”10

3.2. The failed m arriage proposal

Philip II of Spain was disliked by the English population as the prior husband of Mary I, as supporter of Catholicism and as king of the most powerful country in Europe.11 Elizabeth was seen as treacherous and a dissident by Philip. Still, they tolerated each other, but that had changed by the 1580s and relations had become seemingly averse.

When Elizabeth became Queen in 1558, and England had a good relationship with Spain. The marriage between Philip II and Mary certainly helped to strengthen this bond, even if the marriage itself was not a very happy one as the couple remained childless and Mary deceased. Some believed that Elizabeth would marry Philip II to keep a good alliance with Spain and avoid a possible war. Yet, this did not happen, Elizabeth opposed Philip’s ambitions.12 “She was certainly not going to bring an unpopular Spanish king back into England when she had a chance to re-establish England's independence from foreign influence. In any case, she was intending to make England into a Protestant country again, a plan to which Philip would never agree.”13

4. Relations w ith M ary Stuart, Q ueen of Scots

“If there was one issue which caused Elizabeth more anguish and heart-searching than the decision to sign the Treaty of Nonsuch and provoked more deceit, mind changing and procrastination, it was the fate of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.”14

Mary had grown up in the comfortable security of the French court, where, as first the espoused and then the wife of the Dauphin, she had been indulged in every way. In 1558, she married Francis, heir to the French throne and they became king and queen of France in 1559 upon the death of her father-in-law Henri II. She was Queen of France for about one year and a half; at the age of eighteen she was a widow and a dowager. “The time had now come to return to her remote northern kingdom, of which she had in theory been queen since she was a few weeks old.”15

But by the time she arrived home in, Scotland was no longer the Catholic country she had left. Due to Elizabeth, Scotland was run by a council of Protestant nobles and had established a Calvinist Church. Still, the position of Mary Stuart was strong; no one disputed her title as she had an excellent claim to the throne of England. Unless Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir, Mary had every right to consider herself the successor. “On this basis she could cause trouble for her cousin if she chose and this was a useful bargaining counter.”16

However, her French kinsfolk were quickly involved in a civil conflict within France and could not come to her aid in case she would encounter difficulties. Furthermore, she was in need of a husband and after Elizabeth, she was the most eligible bride in Europe and therefore Elizabeth feared what choice she might make. She tried to interest Mary in the Earl of Leicester, but she decided to marry her cousin Lord Darnley who had also a claim to the English throne. Mary Stuart’s marriage to Lord Darnley profoundly changed the relationship between her and her cousin forever.17 Shortly after the birth of their son, Prince James in 1566, Darnley was murdered and Mary was accused of complicity.

[...]


1 HILLERBRAND, Hans J., The Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Volume 2, London, Routledge, 2003, p. 196.

2 HAIGH, Christopher, Elizabeth I, London, Routledge, 2014, p. 38.

3 HILLIAM, Paul, Elizabeth I: Queen of England's Golden Age, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2004, p. 16.

4 HILLIAM, Paul, Elizabeth I: Queen of England's Golden Age, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2004, p. 40.

5 JENKINS, Elizabeth, Elizabeth the Great, London, Phoenix Press, 2000, p. 131.

6 MACCAFFREY, Wallace T., Queen Elizabeth and the Making of Policy, 1572-1588, Surrey, Princeton

University Press, 2014, p. 146.

7 Pratt, Mary K., Elizabeth I, English Renaissance Queen, Essential Library, New York, ABDO, 2011, p. 63.

8 PARKER, Geoffrey, Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II, Yale University Press, 2014, p. 264.

9 KELSEY, Harry, Philip of Spain, King of England: The Forgotten Sovereign, London, I.B.Tauris, 2011, p. 78.

10 HILLIAM, David, Philip II: King of Spain and Leader of the Counter- Reformation, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005, p. 59.

11 HILLIAM, David, Philip II: King of Spain and Leader of the Counter- Reformation, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005, p. 60.

12 PATTERSON, Benton R., With the Heart of a King: Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and the Fight for a Nation's Soul and Crown, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2013, p. 121.

13 HILLIAM, David, Philip II: King of Spain and Leader of the Counter- Reformation, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005, p. 59.

14 LOADES, David, Elizabeth I: The Golden Reign of Gloriana, London, The National Archives, 2003, p. 66.

15 LOADES, David, Elizabeth I: The Golden Reign of Gloriana, London, The National Archives, 2003, p. 67.

16 DUNN, Jane, Elizabeth and Mary : cousins, rivals, queens, London, HarperCollins, 2003, p. 104.

17 DUNN, Jane, Elizabeth and Mary : cousins, rivals, queens, London, HarperCollins, 2003, p. 244.

Excerpt out of 12 pages

Details

Title
Elizabeth l. Did the execution of Mary Stuart lead to the Spanish Armada?
College
University of Luxembourg
Grade
University
Author
Year
2017
Pages
12
Catalog Number
V490481
ISBN (eBook)
9783668975484
Language
English
Tags
elizabeth, mary, stuart, spanish, armada
Quote paper
Lisa Gardin (Author), 2017, Elizabeth l. Did the execution of Mary Stuart lead to the Spanish Armada?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/490481

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