Queen Elizabeth I of England, Wales and Ireland Timeline 1533-1603

Queen Elizabeth I

Born – 7th September 1533
Died – 24th March 1603
FatherKing Henry VIII (1491 – 1547)
MotherAnne Boleyn (1501 – 1536)
Spouse – Did not marry
Children – None
Queen of England – 1558 – 1603
PredecessorMary I – 1553 – 1558
SuccessorJames I – 1603 – 1625


1533 (7th September)
Queen Elizabeth I, was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn at Greenwich Palace. She was named after her grandmother, Elizabeth of York.
1533 (after 7th September)
Elizabeth was fed by a wet nurse. Her mother had wanted to feed her herself but this had been forbidden by King Henry.
1533 (10th September)
Elizabeth was christened and confirmed by the Bishop of London in the church of Franciscan Friars at Greenwich. Her godparents were the dowager duchess of Norfolk, the dowager marchioness of Dorset and Thomas Cranmer.
1533 (mid September)
Elizabeth’s elder sister, Mary, was told that she would no longer be referred to as Princess. Her household was to be disbanded.
1533 (28th November)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Henry Fitzroy, married Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
1533 (December)
Princess Elizabeth was assigned her own household at Hatfield Place. Lady Margaret Bryan, Anne Boleyn’s aunt was appointed lady governess at the head of an army of nursemaids, laundresses, officials and servants. Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, was sent, against her will, to be maid of honour to the baby Princess.
1534 (23rd March)
King Henry VIII had tried to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn. When the Pope refused to grant Henry a divorce Henry had instigated the Reformation in England and removed the authority of the Pope from the country. England was no longer Catholic but had adopted the Anglican religion and Henry had declared himself Head of the Church in England. He then no longer needed the Pope’s permission for a divorce and he had married Anne Boleyn in January 1533. However, the Pope did not recognise the divorce and ordered Henry to put Anne aside and return to Catherine.
1534 (24th March)
Act of Succession
This act was introduced to exclude Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, from the succession and settle it instead on the children born from the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The Act also registered the invalidity of Henry’s marriage to Catherine and imposed severe penalties on those who opposed Henry’s second marriage.
Oath of Succession
The Act of Succession also included a clause allowing Henry the power to extract an oath from any of his subjects regarding the provisions of the Act. Henry insisted that all his councillors were to take the oath and they would then supervise the taking of the oath by their officers who would then ensure that all householders took the oath. This system meant that all men, women and children over the age of fourteen would swear to uphold the succession of the children of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Refusing to swear the Act would be an act of treason.
1534 (17th April)
John Fisher and Thomas More were taken to the Tower of London for refusing to swear the Oath of Succession. Both men were questioned by Richard Rich. Fisher was tricked into stating his allegiance to the Pope but Thomas More was careful to keep his answers neutral. Both men were tried for treason and found guilty.
1534 (November)
Act of Supremacy
This act declared England as a sovereign state with the King as the head of both the country and the church. The Act gave the monarch the power over all areas that had previously been the province of the clergy and ecclesiastical courts. It also meant that his injunctions would be binding on the clergy and that he had the power to define faith in parliament. All heresy cases would now be prosecuted by special commissions. The King would also now appoint men of his choosing to ecclesiastical posts.
1534 (November)
Treason Act
This act made it a treasonable offence to deny any of the King’s titles. It stated that any malicious wish, will or desire to deprive the King or Queen of title or name of their royal estates was to be deemed treason. Slanderous publication of writing or words uttered describing the King as heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper would also be deemed treason.
1535 (22nd June)
Bishop John Fisher, aged 76 years, was beheaded on Tower Hill for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremay. Fisher was the first bishop to be executed since Thomas Becket in 1170 and the people were deeply shocked.
1535 (6th July)
Thomas More was executed by beheading for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy. He made a short speech asking people to pray for him and saying that he died the King’s good servant but God’s first.
1536 (during)
Act of Union
This act unified England and Wales and divided the Welsh Marches into 7 shires. Each shire was required to send one knight to Parliament. Welsh officials were to speak English and all court business was to be undertaken in English.
1536 (7th January)
Catherine of Aragon died. It was commonly believed that Anne Boleyn had slowly poisoned her to death. Nowadays it is believed that she died from cancer
1536 (mid January)
Mary was taken very ill and it was commonly believed that she was being poisoned by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (24th January)
Henry VIII fell from his horse during a joust and was unconscious for two hours. The fall caused a head injury that left him more bad tempered than before and also opened up an old wound on his leg that would cause him problems for the rest of his life.
1536 (29th January)
Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, miscarried of a son four months into her pregnancy. She blamed the miscarriage on concern following Henry’s fall and Henry’s interest in Jane Seymour.
1536 (February)
Henry believed that the miscarriage of a son was God’s way of declaring that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was unlawful either because of her earlier pre-contract to James Butler or because of Henry’s affair with Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn. He decided that he needed to find a way out of his marriage to Anne.
Henry VIII signed a document authorising commissioners to enquire into any kind of treason committed by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (2nd May)
Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn was arrested on a charge of treason for having committed adultery with a number of courtiers and her brother. She was taken by barge to the Tower.
1536 (15th May)
Anne Boleyn was tried by 26 peers of the realm including her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who presided over the trial. Although Anne argued her innocence she was found guilty and sentenced to die by burning or beheading whichever the King chose.
1536 (19th May)
Anne Boleyn was executed by beheading with a single stroke of the sword. She was buried in the choir of the royal chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
1536 (20th May)
Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII was formally betrothed to Jane Seymour at Hampton Court.
1536 (20th May)
Elizabeth was taken from Greenwich to Hatfield House where she was to be cared for by Lady Margaret Bryan.
1536 (30th May)
Henry VIII married Jane Seymour in the Queen’s Closet at Whitehall.
1536 (4th June)
Jane Seymour was proclaimed Queen of England at a ceremony at Greenwich.
1536 (8th June)
Act of Suppression
Using information gathered in his surveys, Thomas Cromwell persuaded Parliament to pass this act first introduced earlier in the year. All monasteries worth less than £200 per year were to be closed and their properties be placed at the King’s disposal. All displaced abbots and abbesses were to receive a pension and monks and nuns could either take up residence in larger houses or renounce their vows and join the outside world.
1536 (July)
Act of Succession
This act cancelled the previous act of succession and registered the invalidity of Henry’s first two marriages. Elizabeth was now given the same status as Mary and the succession was settled on the children of Henry and Jane Seymour.
1536 (July)
Ten Articles
These were a series of articles introduced by Cromwell to improve the conduct of the clergy and the worship of the people. The articles included stipulations that sermons should be preached at stated periods against the usurpation of Rome, that relics were not to be exhibited for gain, that a good home life was preferable to pilgrimage, that children were to learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Holy Creed and the Ten Commandments in English.
1536 (21st July)
Elizabeth’s half-sister, Mary, visited her at Hatfield House.
1536 (22nd July)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, died from tuberculosis. He was 17 years old.
1536 (October)
The closure of the monasteries and the Ten Articles were not well received by the common people. The monasteries had provided food, shelter and a basic education for the people as well as a place for travellers to stay. Many traditional religious festivals were now forbidden and people were angry though they blamed Cromwell rather than the King for this.
1537 (Spring)
Elizabeth’s step-mother, Jane Seymour, announced that she was pregnant and that she believed the baby would be born in the middle of October.
1537 (12th October)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Edward, was born to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour after a very difficult labour.
1537 (15th October)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Edward, was christened in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. Elizabeth attended the ceremony carried by Thomas Seymour.
1537 (24th October)
Jane Seymour died. It is thought that she died from puerperal fever which was a common cause of death after pregnancy and is caused by lack of antiseptic conditions.
1537 (late November)
Lady Mary left court for Hunsdon where she was to take charge of Elizabeth’s household. Lady Margaret Bryan was transferred to Prince Edward’s household. Katherine Champernowne (Kat Ashley) was appointed governess. She schooled Elizabeth in French, Flemish, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Astronomy, Geography, History, Mathematics as well as embroidery, dancing and riding.
1538 (Summer)
The nobility were split over church reform: the Conservative faction headed by Stephen Gardiner wanted the church protected from radical reform while the Radical faction hoped that the Break with Rome would lead to acceptance of a more Lutheran doctrine.
1539 (16th May)
Statute of Six Articles
This statute was forced through a reluctant parliament and listed six cardinal doctrines of Catholic belief which Henry wished to preserve in the English church:
1. Transubstantiation was not to be denied
2. There was to be communion of one kind for the laity
3. Members of the clergy were to remain celibate
4. Religious vows were to be permanent
5. Private masses were to be made available
6. Auricular confession was to be used
Those refusing to comply with the new doctrine would face loss of property and liberty for a first offence and death for a second.
The passing of the Six Articles was a triumph for the Conservative faction and a blow for those who had hoped to see more radical church reform.
1539 (Summer)
Elizabeth’s father, Henry, ordered castles to be built around the coast of England in order to deter any possible invasion by Catholic nations of Europe.
1539 (September)
Elizabeth began her education. She was tutored by a governess, Katherine (Kat) Champernowne.
1540 (1st January)
Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII had decided to marry Anne of Cleves, daughter of the Protestant Elector of Cleves. She had arrived in England and was resting at Rochester. Henry decided to pay his new bride a surprise visit and, armed with a New Year’s gift, rode to Rochester. However when he saw her he was so horrified that he left the gift with Sir Anthony Browne and rode back to London.
1540 (2nd January)
Henry told Cromwell that he was not at all pleased with his new bride and postponed the wedding from the 4th to 6th January. He wanted to use the time to find a loophole in the marriage contract that would allow him to get out of the marriage. Henry knew that he dare not offend Germany and when no loophole could be found he resigned himself to the marriage.
1540 (6th January)
Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves in the Chapel Royal at Greenwich Palace. The ceremony was performed by Archbishop Cranmer. After changing their clothes the married couple attended a sumptuous banquet after which the couple were officially put to bed. However, Henry was unable to consummate his marriage.
1540 (March)
Henry told the privy council that his conscience would not allow him to consummate his present marriage because there had been a pre-contract between Anne and the Duke of Lorraine.
1540 (Spring)
With the failure of the marriage set up by Cromwell, the Catholic, Conservative faction headed by Norfolk and Gardiner set about over-throwing Cromwell. They arranged for Henry to meet the Duke of Norfolk’s young niece, Kathryn Howard, aged fifteen hoping that if she found favour with the King it would help advance their faction. After Henry met Kathryn she was often at court. The Conservative faction worked towards effecting Cromwell’s downfall.
1540 (6th July)
A commission was issued that gave the English clergy the power to pass judgement on the King’s marriage. Anne of Cleves consented to a divorce.
1540 (8th July)
Henry’s fourth marriage was ruled invalid on the grounds of Anne’s pre-contract to the Duke of Lorraine, inadequate consent and non-consummation. Anne was to be called the King’s sister and would receive an annual income of £4,000. She was also given the manors of Bletchingly and Richmond for her own use.
1540 (28th July)
Henry married Kathryn Howard at the Palace of Oatlands. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Bonner of London.
1540 (28th July)
Thomas Cromwell was executed by beheading in front of a large crowd on Tower Hill.
1541 (mid February)
Elizabeth’s father, Henry, was taken ill and it was feared that he was dying. His injured leg had got progressively worse over the years and he was now often chair-bound. This made him depressed and he spent long periods of time in his room.
1541 (19th June)
The Irish parliament proclaimed Henry King of Ireland.
1541 (26th October)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Prince Edward, was taken ill with a fever.
1541 (5th November)
Henry’s fifth wife, Kathryn Howard, was accused of treason for having committed adultery.
1542 (13th February)
Kathryn Howard was executed by beheading. Her remains were buried in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincular. After her execution, Elizabeth declared that she would never marry.
1542 (14th December)
King James V of Scotland died at Falkland from injuries sustained in the Battle of Solway Moss. His daughter, Mary Stuart, aged just six days was Queen of Scotland.
1543 (May)
Henry had noticed an infatuation between Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour. As he had already decided to make Katherine Parr his sixth wife he sent Thomas Seymour as permanent ambassador at the court of the regent of the Netherlands.
1543 (12th July)
Henry married Katherine Parr, a devout and committed Protestant, in the Queen’s Privy Chamber at Hampton Court. Elizabeth and her half-siblings, Mary and Edward attended the ceremony.
1543 (August)
With Henry’s approval, Katherine wrote to her three step-children inviting them to court. She took full charge of their education and welfare and ensured that the nursery was staffed with Protestant humanists. At court the children had honourable positions at court.
1543 (25th December)
Elizabeth and her half-siblings Mary and Edward were at court to celebrate Christmas.
1544 (during)
William Grindal became Princess Elizabeth’s tutor. She often shared lessons with her brother, Edward.
1544 (7th February)
Act of Succession
This act stipulated that Edward was to succeed Henry to the throne with any children of his present marriage being next in line followed by Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth.
1544 (13th July)
Elizabeth and her half-siblings, Mary and Edward, attended a supper party in Hyde Park given by the King on the evening before he left for France.
1544 (early August)
Elizabeth, Mary, Edward and Katherine left London to avoid an outbreak of the plague. They stayed with the Countess of Rutland at Oakham.
1544 (30th September)
King Henry returned to England triumphant, having taken Boulogne in France.
1544 (October)
Thomas Seymour completed his spell as ambassador to the Netherlands. Wanting to keep him as far away from Katherine as possible Henry appointed him Lord High Admiral.
1545 (during)
Elizabeth’s former governess, Katherine Champernowne, married Sir John Ashley but remained in her household. Elizabeth was now tutored by William Grindal.
1545 (19th July)
Battle of the Solent, Mary Rose Disaster
An English fleet which included Henry’s two great ships, the Great Harry and the Mary Rose – left Portsmouth to meet a French fleet. George Carew was in command of the Mary Rose. The King and the court had assembled to watch the ships leave the harbour. The Mary Rose made a sharp turn and in full view of the royal party turned on its side and sank. Only 35 men survived the disaster. Meanwhile, the English ships were able to beat the French back.
1545 (December)
The Conservative Catholic faction headed by Gardiner and Wriothesley attempted to effect the downfall of Henry’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr. They used as evidence the fact that she was surrounded by known Protestants – the Seymours, Lady Hertford, the Duchess of Suffolk and Lady Dudley.
1546 (during)
The portrait ‘Elizabeth Tudor as a Princess’ was painted by an unknown artist.
1546 (during)
Katherine arranged for Elizabeth to be taught by the best humanist tutors including Roger Ascham.
1546 (March)
Henry was taken ill with a fever but recovered fairly quickly.
1546 (mid August)
Katherine Parr’s ladies-in-waiting were closely questioned regarding books they and the Queen possessed. A warrant was drawn up for the Queen’s arrest and signed by the King. However, it was dropped and found by a member of Katherine’s household. Katherine, concerned for her fate, became very upset. When Henry heard her cries and visited her to find out what was wrong. She told him that she was worried that she may have displeased him in some way. Henry was touched by her words and stayed with her awhile. He also remembered how she was the most gentle and adept at changing his leg dressings.
After the King left Katherine ordered all forbidden books to be removed from her apartments. When she was next with the King she made a point of explaining to him that she only discussed religion with him to help him forget the pain in his leg. When Wriothesley arrived to arrest Katherine, Henry dismissed him saying he was a fool.
1546 (19th September)
Henry was taken ill again. His leg was now so bad that he was unable to climb stairs. A mechanical hoist was installed to take the King to the higher levels of his palaces.
1546 (December)
The King had to cancel several meetings due to ill health.
1547 (23rd January)
Henry revealed the names of those that he had chosen to form a Regency Council after his death. Top of the list was Edward Seymour who was to be Lord Protector for Edward.
Henry VIII, aged 55 years, died at 2 am at Whitehall Palace.
1547 (30th January)
Edward Seymour rode to Hertford where he collected the young King Edward and took him to Elizabeth’s residence at Hatfield. There he told the two children of their father’s death.
1547 (16th February)
The body of King Henry VIII was laid to rest next to that of Jane Seymour in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
1547 (20th February)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Edward, was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. After the ceremony a banquet was held in Westminster Hall.
1547 (Spring)
Elizabeth went to live with her step-mother, Katherine Parr.
1547 (April)
Elizabeth’s stepmother, Katherine Parr, secretly married Thomas Seymour. Although Katherine was in love with Seymour it is likely that he married for power rather than love.
1547 (after April)
Thomas Seymour began behaving inappropriately with Elizabeth. He often tickled her and tried to wrestle with her. Katherine Parr joined Seymour on some occasions and during one episode held Elizabeth while Seymour cut her dress off with scissors.
1548 (during)
Thomas Seymour began entering Elizabeth’s bedroom in the early hours of the morning clad in his nightgown. He would wake Elizabeth by touching and tickling her.
1548 (during)
Roger Ascham became Elizabeth’s tutor after William Grindal died.
1548 (May)
Katherine Parr discovered her husband, Thomas Seymour, in an embrace with Elizabeth. Katherine sent Elizabeth to live with Sir Anthony Denny.
1548 (7th September)
Katherine Parr died of puerperal fever after giving birth to a daughter, Katherine.
1548 (late)
Thomas Seymour began writing letters to Elizabeth. It is likely that he hoped to marry her.
1549 (January)
Thomas Seymour was charged with treason for plotting to marry Elizabeth, overthrow his brother, the Protector Edward Seymour and take control of Edward. Elizabeth was questioned by Sir Robert Tyrwhitt to determine if she was party to the plot. Elizabeth remained calm in the face of intense questioning and admitted nothing that might implicate her.
1549 (21st January)
Act of Uniformity
With King Edward’s full approval, Edward Seymour introduced the Protestant Book of Common Prayer and outlawed many Roman Catholic practices. The clergy were given permission to marry. There was widespread unrest against the book.
1549 (20th March)
Thomas Seymour was executed by beheading.
1549 (11th October)
Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was arrested on a charge of working to further his own aims rather than those of the country.
1550 (February)
John Dudley, Earl of Warwick became leader of the Council, replacing Edward Seymour.
1552 (22nd January)
Edward Seymour was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.
1552 (17th March)
Elizabeth visited her brother, King Edward, at St James’s Palace.
1552 (April)
King Edward was taken ill with smallpox. He survived but was weakened by the disease.
1553 (Spring)
King Edward was taken ill again and it became clear that he was dying.
1553 (25th May)
Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary, was married to Guilford Dudley, son of John Dudley, Protector of the Realm.
1553 (June)
Devise for the Succession
Edward opposed the succession of either of his half-sisters due to their illegitimacy and Mary’s Catholicism. This document passed the succession to Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary in the event of of there being no legitimate male heir on his death.
1553 (June)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, ordered Elizabeth to travel to Greenwich Palace. Elizabeth refused the summons claiming ill health prevented her from travelling. It is likely that she suspected Dudley would imprison her to prevent opposition to Jane Grey after Edward died.
1553 (15th June)
King Edward summoned his leading councillors and made them sign a declaration to uphold the Devise for the Succession on his death.
1553 (6th July)
Edward died. He was succeeded by Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary.
1553 (11th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, believed that she was the rightful Queen. She left Hunsdon and rode to East Anglia where she called for support.
1553 (14th July)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, left London at the head of a force to capture Mary Tudor. However, after he had left London the Privy Council, seeing that popular support was for Mary, decided to support Mary’s claim.
1553 (19th July)
Elizabeth’s half-sister, Mary Tudor, was proclaimed Queen.
1553 (29th July)
After learning that Mary had been proclaimed Queen, Elizabeth left Hatfield House and travelled to London.
1553 (3rd August)
Mary made her formal entry into London. She was accompanied by Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves.
1553 (8th August)
Elizabeth’s half-brother, Edward, was buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey.
1553 (22nd August)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was executed.
1553 (1st October)
Mary was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. Elizabeth rode in the Coronation procession with Anne of Cleves.
1553 (5th October)
Parliament met. Mary had introduced two new pieces of legislation. The first was a proclamation that the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was legal and that Mary was legitimate. The second was a reversal of Protestant laws passed by her half-brother, Edward. This met with more resistance from parliament but did pass. The passage of the act restored church doctrine to the Six Articles of 1539 which included a clause that priests should be celibate. Many had married under Edward VI and were forced to separate or lose their benefices.
1553 (late Autumn)
Queen Mary decided to marry Philip of Spain. The match was unpopular with the people who feared that England would be ruled by Spain.
Wyatt’s Rebellion
Thomas Wyatt the younger organised a rebellion against Mary’s plan to marry Philip of Spain. The rebels marched on London but were defeated. Wyatt was captured and imprisoned.
1554 (12th February)
Jane Grey was beheaded within the walls of the Tower of London in the wake of Wyatt’s Rebellion.
1554 (18th March)
Elizabeth was arrested and taken to the Tower of London where she was questioned regarding her part in Wyatt’s Rebellion. Although there was no evidence against her, Mary was worried that Protestant factions would try to put Elizabeth on the throne in her stead. Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1554 (19th May)
Elizabeth was moved from the Tower of London and placed under house arrest at Woodstock.
1554 (25th July)
Mary married Philip of Spain at Winchester Cathedral.
1555 (January)
Protestants began to be arrested as heretics. They were condemned to be burnt at the stake if they would not renounce Protestantism.
1555 (17th April)
Mary invited Elizabeth to court to await the birth of her child. After meeting Mary, Elizabeth was allowed to remain at Hampton Court under light guard. When Mary failed to go into labour it was realised that she was not pregnant at all.
1555 (October)
Elizabeth returned to Hatfield House.
1557 (June)
England declared war on France in retaliation for a French raid on Scarborough. Mary’s husband, Philip, led English troops into France. The English made no gains and lost Calais to France.
1558 (around)
The Clopton Portrait showing Elizabeth in black with an ermine trimmed robe was painted.
1558 (October)
Queen Mary’s health had continued to worsen and she indicated that Elizabeth should succeed her as queen.
1558 (6th November)
Mary I named Lady Elizabeth as her successor.
1558 (17th November)
Elizabeth became Queen of England, Ireland and Wales after Mary died.
1558 (18th November)
Elizabeth appointed Robert Dudley as Master of the Horse.
1559 (during)
Elizabeth turned down a proposal of marriage from her brother-in-law Philip of Spain.
1559 (15th January)
Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey by Owen Oglethorpe, Bishop of  Carlisle.
1559 (during)
The Coronation portrait of Elizabeth in her coronation robes was painted.
1559 (Spring)
Elizabeth had a close relationship with Robert Dudley and many thought she was in love with him. However Dudley was married to Amy Robsart.
1559 (8th May)
Act of Uniformity
This act made Protestantism the official faith of England but retained certain elements of Catholicism. Church attendance was compulsory as was the use of the Book of Common Prayer.
1559 (8th May)
Act of Supremacy
This act, resisted by a number of bishops, made Elizabeth Supreme Governor of the Church in England. All officials were required to swear an oath to uphold the terms of the act.
1560 (around)
The Hampden Portrait of Elizabeth in a red dress was painted by Van Der Meulen.
1560 (around)
Elizabeth considered a marriage proposal from Eric, heir to the Swedish throne, but eventually turned him down.
1560 (during)
Elizabeth sent troops to Scotland to help make Protestantism the religion of Scotland.
1560 (5th July)
Treaty of Edinburgh
This was a treaty between England, Scotland and France. It was agreed that the English and French would remove their troops from Scotland.
1560 (September)
Robert Dudley’s wife, Amy Robsart, died after falling down a flight of stairs. Many people believed that Dudley had murdered his wife so that he could marry Elizabeth.
1561 (during)
Dudley suggested to Elizabeth that it might be best if he went abroad for a while to let the rumours die down. However, Elizabeth would not allow him to leave.
1562 (October)
Elizabeth was taken ill with smallpox. She determined that Robert Dudley should become Protector of the Realm if she should die.
1562 (October)
Elizabeth sent troops to Le Havre, France. She hoped to occupy the French town and then exchange it for Calais which had been lost by Mary in 1558.
1562 (October)
John Hawkins began trading in slaves. He took them from Sierra Leone to Hispaniola (Haiti).
1563 (during)
Elizabeth suggested that Robert Dudley could marry Mary Queen of Scots, who had returned to Scotland from France after her husband, the dauphin had died. Neither were interested in making the match.
1563 (during)
Thirty Nine Articles
These articles, written in Latin and English, clearly defined the position of the Church of England on matters of faith.
1563 (before April)
Elizabeth was taken ill with smallpox. The illness left her with scars on her face which she covered with make up and hair loss which she disguised by wearing a wig.
1563 (April)
Following Elizabeth’s illness with smallpox, the government urged her to marry or nominate an heir but she refused and prorogued parliament.
1563 (June)
Elizabeth’s troops in Le Havre were defeated.
1564 (during)
Elizabeth entered marriage negotiations with Ferdinand I Holy Roman Emperor for a marriage between herself and Ferdinand’s son Charles.
1564 (during)
Elizabeth made Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester.
1565 (during)
Thomas Gresham founded the Royal Exchange.
1565 (29th July)
Elizabeth’s second cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart Lord Darnley.
1567 (February)
Mary Queen of Scots’ husband, Lord Darnley, was murdered by a group led by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell.
1567 (15th May)
Mary Queen of Scots married James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the man behind her husband’s murder. The marriage shocked people including Scottish councillors who now believed that she may have been party to Darnley’s murder.
1567 (24th July)
Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her infant son who became James VI of Scotland. She was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle and her son was taken to Stirling Castle to be raised as a Protestant away from his mother’s Catholic influence.
1568 (during)
Elizabeth ended negotiations to marry the son of Ferdinand I Holy Roman Emperor after it became impossible to agree terms of the marriage.
1568 (May)
Mary Queen of Scots escaped from Loch Leven Castle and fled to England where she sought the protection of Elizabeth I. She was escorted to Carlisle Castle where she was placed under virtual house arrest.
1569 (during)
Elizabeth considered marrying Henry Duke of Anjou.
1569 (Autumn)
Northern Uprising
A number of northern Catholic nobles mounted a rebellion against the rule of Elizabeth I. They wanted to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. However, the uprising failed when it was discovered that Mary had been moved to Coventry. More than 750 people were executed for their part in the rebellion.
1570 (27th April)
Regnans in Excelsis
Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I. He decreed that Elizabeth was a pretender to the throne of England and that any Catholics who followed her laws would be executed.
1571 (Summer)
Ridolfi Plot
This was another plot to depose Elizabeth and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. It was led by Roberto Ridolfi, a Florentine banker from London, who had enlisted the support of the Duke of Norfolk, the King of Spain and the Pope. The plot failed after incriminating letters were discovered. The Duke of Norfolk was arrested and executed. Ridolfi was abroad when the plot was discovered and avoided capture.
1572 (during)
Nicholas Hilliard painted a miniature of Elizabeth.
1572 (during)
Elizabeth considered marrying Francis Duke of Anjou as part of an alliance with France against Spain.
1572 (2nd June)
Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was executed for his part in the Ridolfi Plot.
1573 (18th December)
Francis Walsingham became Secretary of State.
1575 (during)
Nicholas Hilliard painted the Phoenix Portrait.
1575 (Summer)
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, threw a lavish party in Elizabeth’s honour at his Kenilworth Castle residence. The party, which lasted for several days, included jousting, fireworks and banquets.
1576 (around)
The Darnley Portrait was painted by an Italian artist.
1576 (11th August)
Martin Frobisher discovered Frobisher Bay while searching for a North-West Passage.
1578 (during)
Realising that Elizabeth would never marry him, Robert Dudley secretly married Lettice Knollys daughter of Francis Knollys, widow of Walter Devereux.
1578 (during)
Francis, Duke of Alencon, made a marriage proposal to Elizabeth but she turned him down.
1579 (during)
Elizabeth discovered that Dudley had married Lettice Knollys. She was furious and banished Lettice from court.
1579 (during)
Gower painted the Plimpton Sieve Portrait of Elizabeth.
1580 (26th September)
Francis Drake returned to England having circumnavigated the World.
1581 (during)
An act was passed which made it treason to try to convert people to Catholicism and make them act against Elizabeth. Anyone found guilty would be executed.
1581 (4th April)
Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.
1582 (during)
Gerald FitzGerald led a revolt against the English who had been ‘planted’ (sent to live in Ireland) to prevent foreign Catholic nations using the country as a base from which to attack England. In retaliation the English pushed the Irish rebels back, slaughtered people, and burned crops and homes which led to the death of around 30,000 Irish men and women.
1583 (during)
Metsys the Younger painted the Siena Sieve Portrait.
1583 (December)
Throckmorton Plot
This was a plot hatched by Francis Throckmorton, to murder Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. The plot failed after his actions were discovered by Francis Walsingham.
1584 (during)
Bond of Association
This was a document drawn up by Walsingham that meant anyone attempting to take the throne from Elizabeth or make an attempt on her life would be executed.
1584 (4th June)
Sir Walter Raleigh established a colony on Roanoke Island which he named Virginia after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth.
1585 (during)
William Segar painted the Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth. It gained its name from the depiction of an ermine on her left sleeve.
1585 (August)
Treaty of Nonsuch
This was a treaty between England and the Netherlands whereby Elizabeth promised military support to the Dutch against the Spanish.
1585 (after August)
Elizabeth sent troops, led by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to the continent to help Protestants in the Netherlands fighting Philip II. However, she told Dudley not to engage in active fighting because she wanted to try to negotiate a treaty with Spain.
1586 (July)
The Babington Plot
Francis Walsingham uncovered a new plot to replace Elizabeth with Mary Queen of Scots. Anthony Babington had sent secret coded letters to Mary Queen of Scots organising her escape from imprisonment and her overthrow of Elizabeth as Queen.
1586 (15th October)
Mary Queen of Scots was put on trial for her part in the Babington Plot. She was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, Elizabeth, who feared reprisals from Europe, did not sign the death warrant.
1587 (8th February)
Elizabeth had finally been persuaded by her ministers to sign the death warrant. They decided to act on it promptly before Elizabeth could change her mind and Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle. When Elizabeth found out about the execution she was deeply upset and annoyed with her ministers. She claimed that although she had signed the warrant she had told her ministers not to carry it out.
1587 (April)
Sir Francis Drake raided and burnt Spanish ships in the port of Cadiz that were being assembled to make an attack on England. The attack is often referred to as the singeing of the King of Spain’s beard.
1587 (December)
Robert Dudley resigned as commander of English troops in the Netherlands. He was annoyed with Elizabeth’s policy of duplicity and also her failure to adequately provide for the troops in terms of supplies and food.
1588 (12th July)
Spanish Armada
Philip of Spain’s Armada of ships set sail for England. The aim was to mount an invasion of England after pickinig up Spanish troops in the Netherlands.
1588 (29th July)
Spanish Armada
The English sent fireships to attack the Spanish ships at Gravelines. Those ships that survived the attack fled to the North Sea where many were further damaged by a storm.
1588 (8th August)
Spanish Armada
Elizabeth, unaware that the Armada had been defeated, inspected troops at Tilbury Docks. She wore a silver armoured breastplate over her dress. Her famous speech includes the words “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king.”
1588 (4th September)
Robert Dudley died at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. It is believed that he had cancer of the stomach.. When Elizabeth learned of the death of her favourite she was inconsolable. She remained in seclusion for days.
1588 (late)
The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth was painted by George Gower or an unknown artist.
1589 (during)
Elizabeth sent an ‘English Armada’ of around 150 ships and 23000 men led by Sir Francis Drake, to Spain. They were decisively defeated by the Spanish.
1589 (during)
Christopher Marlowe published The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.
1589 (August)
Elizabeth sent English troops under the command of Lord Willoughby to support Protestant Henry IV against Catholic opposition.
1589 (December)
Lord Willoughby, commander of troops in France, was not effective and more than half his force were killed.
1590 (during)
Edmund Spenser published his poem The Faerie Queene.
1590 (6th April)
Elizabeth’s councillor, Francis Walsingham, died.
1591 (during)
William Shakespeare wrote his first play, Henry VI part 1.
1591 (Spring)
Elizabeth sent 3000 troops, under the command of John Norreys, to Brittany to support Protestant Henry IV of France. Soon afterwards, Norreys was forced to return to London to plead with the Queen for food and supplies for his men. In his absence a Catholic force defeated the army.
1591 (July)
Elizabeth sent an English force under the command of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, to support Henry IV of France’s siege of Rouen. The English had no successes.
1592 (during)
The Ditchley Portrait of Elizabeth was painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.
1594 (during)
Nine Years War/Tyrone’s Rebellion
War broke out with Ireland after Irish chieftains Hugh O’Neill and Hugh Roe O’Donnell rebelled against the English in Ireland. The fighting, predominately in Ulster, saw the death of thousands of English soldiers.
1598 (4th August)
Elizabeth’s most senior councillor and adviser, Sir William Cecil, died.
1599 (Spring)
Nine Years’ War
Elizabeth sent Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, to Ireland to defeat Hugh O’Neill and end the fighting. Devereux had no success and against orders, left Ireland and returned to England. Elizabeth sent Charles Blount to Ireland to take command and placed Devereux under house arrest.
1600 (around)
The Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth was painted. The artist was most likely Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.
1600 (31st December)
The East India Company was founded.
1601 (February)
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, attempted to raise a revolt against Elizabeth. He had misjudged the people of London as very few people supported him. He was captured and executed.
1601 (17th December)
The Poor Law
This law stated that the deserving poor (disabled, sick and elderly) should receive relief from the Parish council while the undeserving poor (able-bodied who chose not to work) should be whipped, branded and/or sent to a house of correction where they would be made to work hard.
1602 (during)
Elizabeth became increasingly depressed, largely due to the fact that most of her close friends had died.
1603 (March)
Elizabeth became ill but refused to take to her bed, instead she sat on cushions on the floor.
1603 (24th March)
Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace. The Tudor line ended as the next in line to the throne was James Stewart, King of Scotland. James became King James I of England, Ireland and Wales and James VI of Scotland and the first Stuart monarch. He declared himself King of Great Britain.
1603 (28th April)
A funeral service was held for Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. After the service her body was interred in the same tomb as her half-sister, Mary I.


Published Jun 19, 2018 @ 11:17 am – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018 – 2020). Queen Elizabeth I of England, Wales and Ireland 1533 – 1603. https://www.thetimelinegeek.com/elizabeth-i-of-england-wales-and-ireland-1533-1603. Last accessed [date]

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