Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Question from Carlyn - Elizabeth I personal details

... a children's book I am writing called, "ROYAL RAUCOUS, royal rumors and myths throughout history." The age range is 7-12 and it is scheduled to be released in 2008 with Houghton Mifflin. I am giving you this background information because I know my questions are going to sound silly, but they are designed to get a younger audience interested in the people who changed history. (I call it: history lesson meets tabloid magazine). I have a page debunking myths about Elizabeth I. There are two that I am struggling with:

1. Is it true that Elizabeth was afraid of mice?

2. Is it true that Elizabeth swore like a truck driver and inherited her father's temper?


  1. I don't know about the mice, but I do know that she had a terrible temper. "She could be cold and cruel. She would fly into rages, boxing the ears of one advisor and throwing her slipper in the face of another... She was intelligent and well educated, but also was fond of drinking beer, spitting, picking her teeth, and swearing heartily."

    Havelin, Kate, Queen Elizabeth I, Lerner Publications Company: Minneapolis, 2002; page 19

  2. Sorry, I gave you the wrong source. The correct one is...

    Lace, William W., Elizabethan England, Lucent Books: Detroit, 2006; page 19

  3. Yes, she was afraid of mice. At one point, she jumped on a chair when one ran into the room. It's also worth noting that Elizabeth's mother, Anne, also had a temper - although it expressed itself in a more "feminine" manner, by contemporary standards. Anne seldom swore, but she too could be 'cold' when angry. However, I think a line needs to be drawn about the popular myths concerning Elizabeth's behaviour. Everyone drank beer in the 16th century, a very weakened form, it was practically water but they couldn't drink too much straight water because of the risk of typhoid. As for the legend of her spitting, that is bunkum. Elizabeth's imperious grace was famous as, indeed, was her mother's and spitting was strictly forbidden in the rigorous etiquette training young aristocratic girls went through during their education. Spitting by the queen is unlikely in the extreme.

  4. Elizabeth was afraid of mice and she also had a really bad temper!


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