Monday, November 1, 2010

The Virgin Queen

I thought it was very interesting to learn about Elizabeth's relationship with Lord Robert from the movie today. Because Elizabeth is known as “The Virgin Queen” due to her decision not to marry, I did not realize that she was involved in any intimate affairs. Therefore, I decided to further research Lord Robert and the details of their relationship. Robert Dudley was born in 1532, the year before Elizabeth’s birth. The fifth child of thirteen, Robert met Elizabeth when he was only eight years old, and the two immediately established a friendship. In 1550, Robert married Amy Robsart, the daughter of a Norfolk squire. This marriage was most likely arranged, and Elizabeth actually attended the wedding. With Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, Robert was granted special honors, and their relationship reached a new, intimate level. The people of the state knew about this love affair and some even believed that she carried his child at one point. As a result of this information, I wonder why Elizabeth has retained her title “The Virgin Queen.”


Katherine said...

That is a great point. If I had to guess the English wanted their queen to have a very respectable reputation, although from watching the movie we are aware that, that is not true. As we were watching the movie, I couldn't help but hope for the romance between Lord Robert and Elizabeth to workout, but we all know that Elizabeth never marries. I find the fact that Elizabeth never married a very powerful and independent statement but also at times I find it sad.

Katherine said...

Actually, right after I posted that comment I googled the historical accuracy of Elizabeth and this was an interesting article I found about "The Virgin Queen" on this website:

Like A Virgin

Elizabeth I, Queen of England from 1558 to 1603, was the "Virgin Queen", and we all know that the Easter Bunny hides all those eggs. To characterize Elizabeth as the Virgin Queen is to read her press releases. It cannot be expected that there would be any honest record of the Queen's affairs since there were no newspapers at the time and the Crown controlled the press. To think that she did not have children because they were not documented is to contradict the realities of the time she lived in. The record of the history of the period was under the direction of the chief architect of Tudor chicanery, William Cecil. It is quite plausible that the Virgin Queen moniker was a piece of clever propaganda dedicated to enhancing the Tudor cause. In most accounts of the period, the sexual involvement of Elizabeth with Robert Dudley is played down despite the fact that they had adjoining apartments in various castles and could freely see each other day and night. The possibility that they not only slept together but had children is never mentioned.

chrissy said...

Her title is a misnomer. As Mrs. Quinet said today after class, Elizabeth did have a relationship with Lord Robert. I believe she said there were about three men like him she had engaged in affairs with. I'm not sure about the historical accuracy of the movie, but I thought it was strange how open the Queen was with her relationship with a married man.

Julia Dean said...

While reading Samantha, Katherine, and Chrissy's insightful comments, I was reminded of the theme in "Hamlet" of appearance vs reality. Perhaps Shakespeare, an observant man who wrote plays pertaining to his time, emphasized the importance of this theme because of how prominent it was, especially in the "Virgin" Queen's case. The King and Queen in "Hamlet" both endlessly tried to keep up appearances, even at the cost of their morality. Deception was commonplace in the royal courts, as we have seen in both "Hamlet" and the movie about Queen Elizabeth.

Olivia Celata said...

I thought the movie took a very interesting turn when the Queen symbolically became a "virgin." The cutting off of her hair represented a sort of rebirth. Before she had romantic endeavors with Lord Robert, but after she became a pure woman who would never marry.

C-Sted said...

While reading about Elizabeth on Wikipedia, I happened to jump to the page on William Cecil, Lord Burghley. In the movie, he was largely responsible for advising Elizabeth and controlling the appearance of the monarchy (aka "spinning the news"). Cecil's job in real life was very similar.
Anyway, one of the ways the Cecil controlled the monarchy's image was through written word. At this point, I will copy from Wikipedia... I think you all will see something pretty interesting.

"In his capacity as Principal Secretary, Cecil understood the power of the printed word to affect public opinion. He was active in shaping policy regarding publication and employed translators to make continental works available in English which he identified as useful to supporting the Elizabethan Settlement. His utilitarian view of literature, it has long been supposed by many Elizabethan scholars is parodied in the character of Polonius in Hamlet."