Queen Elizabeth becomes Queen of England
#OnThisDay in 1558, Queen Mary of England died. Until then, the Princess Elizabeth had lived at the mercy of her father and siblings. Now she was her own mistress as the Elizabethan Age began.
A legend arose about the new reaching Elizabeth at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. The princess was said to be sitting under an oak tree in the gardens. Upon hearing the news of her sister’s death and her accession to the throne, reports suggested Elizabeth quoted Psalm 118:23 in Latin: “A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris“. As the English language Bishop’s Bible (see below) would later put it “This was the doyng of God: and it is marveylous in our eyes.”
Later embellishments had the new Queen falling to her knees in grateful prayer. It is a dramatic scene, hinting at the release of tension that had built up during the dying days of the childless Mary. It was also a useful piece of religious propaganda demonstrating Elizabeth’s piety and enough conservatism to use Latin rather than English.
Elizabeth’s coronation was held just under three months later on 15 January 1559. She went on to reign for 44 years.
Note on dates: The day would have been 8 November 1558 using the Julian calender as used in England until 1753. Recalculated using today’s Gregorian calender, this date is 17 November 1558.