How Elizabeth I Become Known as the Virgin Queen

Queen Elizabeth I of England by Sarah Grass
Illustration of Elizabeth I of England by Sarah Grass

Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603)

Also known as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I ruled over England and Ireland from 1558 until her death in 1603. Despite multiple courtships, she never married or produced an heir, making her the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. Yet her tenacity and love of her country and its people made her one of the most revered monarchs in English history. Her passion for the arts encouraged the renaissance of English theater, with William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe emerging as two of history’s most renowned playwrights. Ascending the throne during a tumultuous time in England’s history, Elizabeth’s 44-year reign helped revitalize the country and create a sense of national identity.

“I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.” —Queen Elizabeth I, statement to the Duke of Wurttemberg in discussion of a marriage proposal, 1563

Sarah Grass is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. sarahgrass.com

This feature originally appeared in the Fight issue. Read also about Pan American Feminist Bertha Lutz.

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