Good Queen Bess:At the time of her accession, she rode from Hatfield House, where she was staying (our cover is postmarked in Hatfield, Herts), to London and was met with cheers from both nobility and common people alike. She was much loved and respected and throughout history she has been known as 'Good Queen Bess'. Elizabeth tried to avoid religious extremes and allow her subjects to live in peace and unity. She established a church which was sufficiently broad-based to appeal to most of her people.
It was generally accepted that one of her first duties should be to find a husband. Numerous suitors from nearly all European nations sent ambassadors to the English court to put forward their suit but, despite the many threats to the throne, Elizabeth remained unmarried and was forevermore referred to as the ‘Virgin Queen’.
Armada:By far the most dangerous - and infamous - threat that Elizabeth had to face was the Spanish Armada of 1588. Launched by Elizabeth's old suitor Philip II of Spain, the Armada contained 22 galleons and 108 armed merchant ships – a frightening prospect for any monarch. Elizabeth went to Tilbury, against her councillors' wishes, to exhort the troops to victory with her most famous speech: "Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and goodwill in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects... I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of a King". Fortunately the ships of the English and the Dutch Republic outnumbered the Spanish, who lost as a result of bad weather on the English Channel, poor planning and supplies, and the skills of Sir Francis Drake and Charles Howard, the second Baron Howard of Effingham (later first Earl of Nottingham).
Elizabeth I continued to run the country to the benefit of her subjects until her death on March 24th 1603. As she never named a successor, aided by her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil (who had been in secret negotiations with the son of Mary, Queen of Scots), King James VI of Scotland, Elizabeth’s cousin, became the next successor to the English throne and so ended the Tudor dynasty.
- 1st Class – Henry VII (1457-1509)Son of Edmund Tudor and Lady Margaret Beaufort. He defeated Richard III at Bosworth, and then spent the next fifteen years surviving successive plots and rebellions. He was a great patron of the arts, builder, and a very efficient ruler. He commissioned Europe's first ever, and the world's oldest surviving, dry dock at Portsmouth in 1495. Born Pembroke Castle 28 Jan 1457; Acceded 22 August 1485; Crowned 30 October 1485 Westminster Abbey; Died 21 April 1509 Richmond Palace
- 1st Class - Henry VIII (1509-1547)The son of Henry VII. Famously married six times to secure male heirs. He presided over the English Reformation and more political executions than any other English monarch. Born Greenwich 28 June 1491; Acceded 22 April 1509; Crowned 24 June1509 Westminster Abbey; Died 28 Jan 1547 Whitehall
- 62p – Edward VI (1547-1553) Son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward became King at the age of nine and died age 15 from tuberculosis. During his reign reform of the Church continued with the issue of the Book of Common Prayer. England’s first Protestant ruler.Born Hampton Court Palace 12 Oct 1537; Acceded 28 Jan 1547; Crowned 20 Feb 1547 Westminster Abbey; Died 6 July 1553 Greenwich Palace
- 62p – Lady Jane Grey (1553)Second cousin to Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey was named by Edward and his first minister Northumberland as heir to ensure the Protestant succession and reigned from 19 July 1553 for nine days before being deposed by Mary. Beheaded in 1554 after the failure of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s attempt to depose Mary.
- 81p – Mary (1553-1558)Daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary was the first woman to rule England in her own right. Restored the Roman Catholic Church in England, but is remembered for her savage persecution of Protestants, about three hundred were burned earning her the name Bloody Mary.Born Greenwich Palace 18 Feb 1516; Acceded 19 July 1553; Crowned 1 Oct 1553 Westminster Abbey; Died 17 Nov 1558 St James's Palace
- 81p – Elizabeth I (1558-1603)Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She turned England into the dominant maritime power, and she presided over a return to the Protestant Church and a tremendous national flowering of literature. Her failure to marry and produce an heir left the royal succession open for the House of Stuart.Born Greenwich Palace Palace 7 Sept 1533; Acceded 17 Nov 1558; Crowned 15 Jan 1559 Westminster Abbey; Died 24 March 1603 Richmond Palace
Technical details:Royal Portrait credits: Edward VI (1537–53), c.1546, attributed to William Scrots, The Royal Collection © 2008 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; King Henry VIII (oil on oak panel),Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543)/Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, Spain/The Bridgeman Art Library; Mary I by Antonis Moro or Mor (1516–75) © The Art Archive/Museo del Prado Madrid; Elizabeth I by Federico Zuccari (1540/42–1609) © The Art Archive/Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena/Gianni Dagli OrtiThe designs are by Atelier Works, and the 27 x 37mm stamps are printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers, Meacé, France.
Remark:Excellent cover True to Royal.