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Queen Elizabeth I, had a very interesting and difficult life. She had tremendous self-esteem issues and some strange habits, many of which they don’t teach in history class. Sure, we got the basic information about the Tudors and the structure of the Royal family during the time, but never any of the gossip and details regarding who she really was. The next thirty shocking facts will open up a window right into the life of England’s longest reigning Queen.

It’s crazy that she is among the most studied monarchs and yet they leave out such interesting information about the redheaded Queen. She was extremely intelligent and lived a single lifestyle when it wasn’t socially acceptable to do so, and she kept her independence until the day she died. Not only did she live her life by her own rules, her time as Queen is known as the Golden Era for all that it brought to the people.

Some of these facts are shocking, and may even change your perception of the dominating Queen, but one thing is for sure: she was a woman beyond her time. Just like everyone, she had some quirks and unique habits that truly made her unique. Some say her popularity among the people actually clouds the true success of her legacy, but that’s for you to decide…

30. She Nearly Wasn’t Queen

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Elizabeth I’s ascension to the throne was actually due to a stroke of very bad luck. After her father, King Henry VIII died, her younger half-brother Edward ascended to the throne in 1547, however, he only ruled for six years before dying of fever. Next was Lady Jane Grey who Edward named as his successor, but she only lasted 13 days before her sister Mary had her dispatched. Mary would reign for five years, before dying in 1558, leaving the throne to Elizabeth. We guess what doesn’t kill you makes you queen!

29. Political Prisoner

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Before becoming queen, Elizabeth was imprisoned in 1554 on suspicion of working with Wyatt’s Rebellion, an uprising against Queen Mary I. Many believed this was motivated by Elizabeth’s quest for Protestant liberation. Mary I despised Elizabeth and wanted to ensure her rebellious ways did not interfere with her ruling.

28. Spared No Wardrobe Expense

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Queen Elizabeth I was known for her exquisite wardrobe, and remembered for her high sense of fashion. In fact, it’s been reported she owned up to 2,000 pairs of gloves. Her extravagant outfits were her own way of indulging since she never took a husband or a lover.

27. Believer in Astrology

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Elizabeth had a personal adviser named John Dee, who was a renowned astronomer and alchemist. It’s been reported she relied on his counsel when scheduling important events. It’s also been rumored she had him help her remove a death curse at one point during her reign.

26. Cult of the Virgin Queen

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After Elizabeth claimed the throne, her portrait artists began depicting Elizabeth as a classic goddess, comparing her to Venus and the Greek deity Diana. This was in an effort to promote divinity and purity. This trend of work would end up being known as the Cult of Elizabeth among the artists of the time.

25. Pioneered Legislation for the Poor

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While Elizabeth’s administration was most known for spreading propaganda, they actually did pass good legislation, especially when the Queen attempted poverty relief through rulings of mandatory taxation. This would end up the Elizabethan Poor Law in 1601.

24. Fluent in Multiple Languages

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Although Queen Elizabeth I was fluent in English, she also spoke French, Italian, and Latin fluently. She would go on to translate collections of texts into these languages. It is also believed that she could speak Spanish, Irish, Flemish and Greek.

23. Shakespeare Rumors

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It is rumored that Elizabeth had a close kinship with the playwright William Shakespeare due to her being a patron of the arts. Elizabeth was more of the intellectual type, however, she was devoted to watching stage performances. Many believe some of Shakespeare’s works were influenced by the virgin Queen.

22. Romantic Scandals

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Elizabeth I was involved in many romantic scandals due to her multiple suitors. She turned down proposals from King Philip II of Spain, King Eric XIV of Sweden and even the Archduke of Austria, Charles. Her one true love would be her childhood friend Robert Dudley, however, something kept them apart…but more on that later…

21. Virgin Queen or Not?

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Beyond proposals, Queen Elizabeth I had scandals follow her everywhere. It was rumored she had secret love affairs with high profile men like Sir Walter Raleigh and other noteworthy suitors. However, none of these claims were ever substantiated. It seems the Queen held her cards close to her chest.

20. Only English Queen to Not Marry

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While men all rallied for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, she chose to never take a husband, and is the only English queen to be distinctly known as a virgin, although the eight kings before her remained bachelors. Although known as the “virgin” queen, it’s unknown if that was actually true.

19. Many “Lasts” During Her Rule

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Over the course of her long reign, Queen Elizabeth I was known as the last monarch to reign unmarried. She was also the last to rule over England before its union with Scotland, which would take form under her successor James I. Also, Elizabeth was the final of five rulers to reign under the Tudor dynasty.

18. Impressive Record

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When Elizabeth died at the age of 69, she was the oldest English monarch at the time. She held this honor for 153 years until King George II turned 70, who was ruling what was still considered to be Great Britain. A lofty feat if we can say so.

17. Iconic White Pigment

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Many believe that Elizabeth’s white makeup was used strictly for vanity, but in truth she was covering up scars left from a bout of smallpox that left facial scarring and hair loss. Thankfully, the white pigment, as well as the extravagant wigs, allowed her to deceive the masses and stay fashionable with the times.

16. She Cursed…A Lot

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Queen Elizabeth I was known for use of colorful language, something she contributed to her father King Henry VIII. While this could have gotten her in trouble, she lived true to herself throughout her entire reign. Maybe this is why she couldn’t find a suitor?

15. A Victim

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When the Queen was a child, her father died, and she was left with his widow, Catherine Parr. Parr was the worst of the worst when it comes to stepmothers, as she often abused little Elizabeth. When she remarried Thomas Seymour, he joined in on the abuse and life became a living nightmare for the young Queen.

14. Psychological Trauma

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The abuse from Parr and Seymour wasn’t the best setting for a young woman, but what happened next was even more inappropriate. The young Queen began a romantic relationship with Seymour, and he wasn’t in it for love–but rather to secure himself a seat in the royal family for a long time. Elizabeth was sent away and her life changed abruptly.

13. Never Had Her Mother

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The young woman never had the opportunity to grow up with her mother, and as I said previously the stepmothers she was left with made her life unpleasant. Her mother Anne Boleyn was beheaded by her father when she was only two years old. She never got to experience all the great things that mothers and daughters get to do, and after her mother’s death, her father denounced her as air to the throne.

12. Murderous Rumors

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So that childhood friend of hers, Robert Dudley, was in fact married and one would think that is the reason they never made it official–but no. In fact, Dudley’s wife mysteriously died in a freak accident as she fell down the stairs. Many believed that Dudley had his wife killed so that he could be united with the Queen, but she may have seen through his murderous plot because she stayed unmarried.

11. She Was A Player

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Although she never married and there were rumors of her love affairs, as well as her abstinence, she was also known to be quite flashy. Earlier we talked about her extravagant wardrobe which was a way she liked to grab the attention of every male, in every room. She would even make the women in her court wear all black or white so that she would be the star of the show.

10. Not So Low Maintenance

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As if we haven’t emphasized it enough, here it is some more: she loved her appearance and spent many hours and copious amounts of money keeping up with the latest fashion. Not only did she dictate what her ladies wore, she made them spend on average around four hours dressing here EACH DAY.

9. Her Gender Questioned

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Some conspiracy theorists believe that Elizabeth actually died when she was a child, and a little redhead boy of the distant family took her place, and this is why she remained childless and never married–the Bisely Boy as it’s called. It’s also believed to be the reason why she was rarely seen without her thick face of makeup. But of course, these are just rumors because people can’t be comfortable with the idea of a woman not wanting to marry or have children.

8. Sly Ways To Honor Her Mother

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Although it was rumored that she hated her mother and preferred her father, some believe that to be false. How could she love her dad when he was so evil to her right? Some people think she had to be sneaky when honoring her mother because she was known around England as “The Whore”. She was painted wearing her mother’s jewellery often as an easy way to remember her mother without being scrutinized.

7. The Most Famous Monarch

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Since her death, Elizabeth has been depicted in film and theatre more than any other monarch in history. She was also painted more times than any other British monarch which helps maintain her reputation of dominating England during her long reign. All those photos have helped historians try and understand who she really was.

6. Black Teeth?

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For being so obsessed with her appearance, it’s a bit surprising to learn that her teeth were black and in extremely poor shape. Rumor has it, the Queen loved sugar and sweets throughout her life which caused her teeth to rot. During that time in England, dental hygiene wasn’t on trend so to speak.

5. Poor Hygiene

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Not only were her teeth bad, but so was the rest of her hygiene–and all of England’s too. Using clean water to bathe wasn’t really an option for most people as they didn’t even have clean water to drink sometimes. You’d think the Queen would bathe a little more often considering she had everything at her disposal, but no, she only bathed once a month.

4. Gingerbread Fascination

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There is no real explanation why, but Elizabeth had a fascination with gingerbread. She was known for honoring her guests by having a life-size figure of them made and out on display. Can you imagine walking into a room with giant life-size gingerbread figurines?

3. Small Stature

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The Queen was known for her larger than life personality, and she made sure her appearance always matched. She loved to have the attention on her and she made sure every entrance made her the spotlight, but in reality, the Queen was rather tiny. It’s estimated that she was only 5’3 but appeared much taller in portraits.

2. The Golden Era

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During her reign, England was known for its theatre’s and plays, as she was a huge fan. Her reign is now known as the Golden Era, as the arts were flourishing and the people were happy. The people were known to be more optimistic under her rule than under anyone 1000 years prior.

1. Her Depression

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It’s no surprise that many people don’t know about her deep depression, as we don’t like to talk about that subject even in modern times. After experiencing the hardships of her life and the death of many of her close friends, the Queen experienced severe depression that wouldn’t subside until her death in 1603. The Queen couldn’t find peace in her final days, but at least her legacy will be known forever.