Elizabeth Tudor, the Virgin Queen, has received extensive attention from historians, especially since the advent of gender studies in the last forty years or so. Historical studies, movies, and television shows present Queen Elizabeth I as a remarkable character with legendary skills as a ruler despite her gender and the era in which she ruled. None of these studies delve into Elizabeth's childhood in an attempt to address how her experiences as a child and her education allowed her to establish her power early on in her reign. By looking at her childhood and education, this study shows that her skill as a ruler and her unique characteristics developed out of a natural scholarly ability as well as a unique schoolroom agenda set by her tutor, Roger Ascham. The primary ability which set her apart was her skill in rhetoric, taught to her by Ascham. Young girls from every social stratum in Early Modern England were expected to remain silent, but Elizabeth was encouraged to speak. Her ability to speak allowed her to project her power and cement her legitimacy from the beginning of her reign. This study first reviews letters written and translations completed by the Princess between the years of 1544 and 1548 to establish the primary focus of her childhood years. The focus then shifts to her education and the influences on it that helped her develop into a skilled speaker despite expectations for her gender. Finally, the study finishes by examining the speeches Elizabeth gave in the first years of her reign, between 1558 and 1572. Through these and other sources this study shows that Elizabeth Tudor's education prepared her for a throne she was never expected to sit upon and allowed her to express her power in ways that were beyond the scope of most female monarchs up to that point in time.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Santi, Katrina, "Elizabeth Tudor: Her Youth, Education, and the Development of the Legend of the Virgin Queen" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5259.