Elizabeth I, Queen of England, had contributed greatly to her nation during her reign. At this time ideas of gender had affected her rule. There were mixed emotions on her rule based on gender. She had been negatively viewed by the religious people because she was a woman and was thought to be an unfit head of the church. Although some people viewed negatively some who were acquainted with Elizabeth had thought otherwise, that she would be an excellent monarch. Elizabeth I had defended herself by answering to challenges proposed with a great confidence.
One main challenge to Elizabeth’s reign was that she was a woman and unfit to be head of the church. In First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, John Knox seems to not want Elizabeth’s family itself to be restored into the line of the throne, as well as him not wanting a woman to have the throne. John states, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any Realm, Nation, or City, is against all Nature”. John Knox doesn’t want any woman to have such a great authority; he believes it is against nature. Nicholas Heath, archbishop of York, had agreed with John Knox.
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He does not a woman to have more authority than him, especially religious authority because in England the head of the state is also the main authority of the church. Heath says, “A woman in the degrees of Christ’s church is not called to be an apostle, nor evangelist, nor to be a shepherd, neither a doctor or a preacher. Therefore her highness (Elizabeth I) cannot be supreme head of Christ’s militant church, nor yet any part thereof”, along with not wanting a woman as head of the church, Heath’s tone suggests that he as well doesn’t want a woman such as Elizabeth to be head of the state.
Edward Rishton, a Roman Catholic Priest, did not approve of Elizabeth being head of the state or the church. Rishton had a great dislike towards Elizabeth because of protestant views of her. Rishton thought that Elizabeth had been more enthusiastic to the people than the holy teachings of the church just because she was a woman monarch. Those who had been well acquainted with Elizabeth had views that varied from those of the religious people.
Those who had been acquainted with Elizabeth had biased views because of friendship and prior knowledge on her ability to lead a nation. Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, an English court painter, had painted a portrait of Elizabeth standing on a map of England. Being a portrait it is assumed that Gheeraerts and Elizabeth had become well associated in the time it had taken to finish the portrait. The fact that she is standing tall atop her country of England indicates that Gheeraerts believes that Elizabeth is a well capable leader of the country.
John Aylmer, Elizabeth’s tutor had also believed that Elizabeth was capable of being a ruler, he states, “In England it is not so dangerous a matter to have a woman ruler,” meaning that it is ok for Elizabeth to be a ruler. He also trusts that Elizabeth can be a great ruler because she is not a mere monarch, but a mixed ruler, someone who shares power with Parliament. William Tooker, Elizabeth’s personal chaplain believes in her ability to rule and to heal people, as well as her position as head of the church in England.
Tooker describes a “Touching” ceremony where Elizabeth just kneels down next to the ill and touches them until they restore to their full and natural health. Just as Tooker believes that Elizabeth is capable of healing the ill, William Clowes, Elizabeth’s personal surgeon also believes that Elizabeth is capable of healing powers. Clowes wishes that Elizabeth would remain at the throne of England always to set a good example for the people of England. Elizabeth’s main responses were to those who opposed her rather than those who had supported her.
She had defended her ideas that she had the right and ability to rule more so than anyone else. In the act of supremacy passed by the Parliament of England, Elizabeth had been able to get parliament to acknowledge her as the only supreme governor, head of the church. It had stated, “The queen’s highness is the only supreme governor of the realm…” In a speech to parliament in 1559 by Elizabeth, she states that she is fully able to rule a country by herself and that men are not needed on the throne.
She fully believes that by herself she can care for and govern a country with only the little help of parliament. In her 1588 speech to English troops just before the attempted invasion of the Spanish armada she defends that she can rule like any king, that she can be head of the church and just because she is a woman there shouldn’t be different expectations of her. She set an example to what her as a ruler would be like in the speech and fulfilled expectations by defeating the Spanish armada.