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How far do you agree with the view that Elizabeth remained single because her councillors could not agree on a suitable husband for her?

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Introduction

How far do you agree with the view that Elizabeth remained single because her councillors could not agree on a suitable husband for her? Susan Doran holds the view that Elizabeth I remained single because her councillors could not agree on a suitable husband for her, and that had they all agreed on a particular suitor it would have been almost impossible for Elizabeth to refuse. This is a greatly debated topic and historians hold many different views; John Starkey argues that she remained single for psychological reasons while Christopher Haigh believes that she did not marry for feminist reasons. In order to examine whether Elizabeth remained single because the councillors could not agree on a suitable husband it is important to look at all the other possible reasons she did not marry. It can be seen that the most significant reason for Elizabeth's remaining single was that there was, and could never be, anyone suitable; a foreign monarch would intensify xenophobia within England and would challenge her authority as Queen while an English suitor would not be of royal blood and would cause further issues with the succession. ...read more.

Middle

Consequently, Elizabeth adopted masculine qualities in order to rule effectively and this would have made it impossible for her to take a subservient role to her husband. Historians have also used Elizabeth's attempts to limit clerical marriage and the opposition to the marriage of her courtiers as evidence for her hatred of marriage in general. However, these theories are merely speculation, as there is no factual evidence to prove that Elizabeth's antipathy to marriage stemmed from any psychological issue. Elizabeth's opposition clerical marriage can be explained as having stemmed from her religious conservatism rather than her supposed hatred of marriage, while her disagreement with the marriage of her courtiers can be explained by the simple fact that she liked to maintain the loyalty of her courtiers and remain the centre of their attention. Therefore, many historians have agreed that Elizabeth's decision to remain single was a rational response to the political situation she was in as a female monarch. An alternative explanation for Elizabeth having remained single is that it would be paradoxical for her to assume a subservient position to a husband whilst maintaining her political control over her realm. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is even believed that Elizabeth could have loved him as when he died in 1584 she went into mourning. Despite his near-suitability, the xenophobic attitude remained within England and there was a negative public reaction against the marriage, as people opposed the threat of religious turmoil due to his catholic influence. In 1579, John Stubbs opposed the Alen�on marriage in 'The Gaping Gulf', a well-published article. This shows the extent of opposition to any foreign influence and highlights Elizabeth's predicament as she was unable to marry an Englishman and unable to marry a foreigner. Elizabeth was indeed 'married to her country'; her countries needs went above her own and whomever she married would be opposed. There was and never could be a suitable suitor for Elizabeth and it is for that key reason that Elizabeth remained single. It can be seen that all these reasons may have partly influenced why Elizabeth remained single, but the central issue appears to be that there was no one suitable, and never could be, for political, religious and feminist reasons. Therefore it can perhaps be said that Doren is correct in her view that Elizabeth remained single because her councillors could not agree on a suitable husband for her, but because there was no politically suitable suitor rather than due to difference in opinions. 1 ...read more.

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