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The Two Tudor Queens Regnant

Judith Richards pinpoints the debts of Elizabeth I to her older half-sister.

The Tudor monarchs, who ruled England from 1485 to 1603, have always attracted a great deal of historical attention; the most studied of them all have been Henry VIII (1509-1549) and Elizabeth I (1558-1603). The latter is still widely regarded as England’s first iconic queen, reigning at a time when the prevailing view was that females needed to be under the control of either their fathers or husbands. In principle, sixteenth-century men were very suspicious of powerful and independent women and told many stories of how women, uncontrolled by a husband or father, became unruly, destructive and sexually promiscuous. Elizabeth is traditionally seen as the woman who triumphed as a successful female monarch in that male-dominated culture. 

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