A Virgin Queen, But Not by Choice
This paper was written in Tudors and Stuarts, 1485-1707 (HIST 361), taught by Dr. Pollnitz.
“A Virgin Queen, But Not By Choice” explores the question of why Queen Elizabeth I never married. The essay argues that Elizabeth’s gender required her to have the full support of both her privy council and parliament to tie the knot on a marriage, which proved an impossible feat. In addition, the essay argues the debates surrounding each potential match- including fears of a Catholic suitors influence in Protestant England - were political repercussions of her womanhood. The failed courtships of Robert Dudley, Charles Archduke of Austria, and Francis, Duke of Anjou, serve as case studies that illustrate Elizabeth’s inability to proceed with any match due to divides among her councilors. Ultimately, the essay demonstrates how Elizabeth’s very virginity was a decision made by for her by her male councilors.