Although the standard reasoning in the 16th Century was that women were the weaker vessel, it was nevertheless a time of outstanding women. Few of them, though, were as exceptional as Elizabeth I - born on this day in 1533 - who would eventually give her name to the Elizabethan Age; fluent in several languages, she translated many classical texts, notably The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.
Of course book learning is all well and good, but to survive 45 years on the throne, in what was definitely a man's world, and succumb to neither marriage proposals or assassination required a different kind of intelligence altogether; Her Majesty had it in abundance. Throughout the seven decades in which she lived (which, in those days, was in itself a feat) she was tested time and again and every time she rose to the challenge.
It was by 'marrying her people', though, that the Queen proved that she understood how monarchy works better than any before and most since - it survives because of the will of the people. That will, born of respect, was hers because she both earned and reciprocated it - not least by her insistence that 'I have no desire to make windows into men's souls' at a time when the religiously intolerant were seemingly obsessed with ferreting out blasphemy by doing that very thing...
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