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Queen Elizabeth I Elizabeth I was queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603 She preserved firmness in a nation rent by political and religious dissension and maintained the authority of the Crown against the growing pressures of Parliament Became on of the few queens to die a virgin Born at Greenwich on September 7 1533 Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn Because of her fathers continuing search for a male heir Elizabeths early life was precarious In May 1536 her mother was beheaded to clear the way for Henrys third marriage and on July 1 Parliament declared that Elizabeth and her older sister Mary the daughter of Henrys first queen were illegitimate and that the succession should pass to the issue of his third wife Jane Seymour Jane did produce a male heir Edward but even though Elizabeth had been declared illegitimate she was brought up in the royal household She received an excellent education and was reputed to be remarkably intelligent and learned languages such as Latin French and Italian and music Since Elizabeth was unmarried the question of the succession and the actions of other claimants to the throne built-up large She toyed with a large number of suitors including Philip II of Spain Eric of Sweden Adolphus Duke of Holstein and the Archduke Charles From her first Parliament she received a petition concerning her marriage Her answer was this shall be for me sufficient that a marble stone shall declare that a Queen having reigned such a time died a virgin But it would be many years before the search for a suitable husband ended and the Parliament reconciled itself to the fact that the Queen would not marry Elizabeth maintained what many thought were dangerously close relations with her favorite Robert Dudley whom she raised She abandoned this flirtation when scandal arising from the mysterious death
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