The virgin Queen, as Elizabeth Tudor was known, was Queen of England and Ireland from November 17, 1558 until her death, March 29, 1603. Elizabeth remained childless at death, thus ending the Tudor dynasty and relinquishing the crown to her cousin, James Stuart the VI of Scotland. He would be King James the I of England.
Elizabeth was born of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed when Elizabeth was just two and a half years old. Henry sought an annulment of his marriage to Anne, which ultimately led to the separation of the English Church from the papal authority in Rome. Anne was executed for treason and Elizabeth declared illegitimate. Her half brother, Edmund VI, was made king until his death in 1553, bequeathing his crown to Lady Jane Grey.
The plot to prevent his tow half sisters ascent to the throne by ignoring the statute of law was spoiled when Mary's supporters charged, imprisoned, and after some days, executed Lady Jane Grey. The conflict between Mary and Elizabeth (Catholic and protestant) increased as Elizabeth was charged with heresy and treason for supporting the protestant rebels.
When 'Bloody Mary' died, Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Elizabeth was best known for her good counsel, William Cecil and her establishment of an English protestant Church.
Conflicts with Spain grew as the Pope's declaration of her illegitimacy caused many to deny her authority. The final straw came with Spain in 1586 when England defeated the Spanish Armada, a victory considered among England's greatest.
The period of her reign (The Elizabethan Age) brought renewed prosperity and power to a poverty stricken nation. The Shakespearean influence, the literacy age and enlightenment through education were accomplishments bringing her the greatest accolades.
The greatest, yet most unexpected, act of the Queen was choosing he successor. Her death bed declaration would forever change the religious direction and devotion of her beloved kingdom. Her protestant sympathies cause the return of many of the reformers, the Geneva Bible, and a fervency for purifying the English Church through Bible doctrine.