Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
Part of the Biography television series from A&E, this documentary reviews the life of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII by his second wife, Anne Boleyn. On the death of Edward VI she sided with her half-sister Mary against Lady Jane Grey and the Duke of Northumberland, but her identification with Protestantism made Mary suspicious, and she was imprisoned for her alleged part in the rebellion of Wyatt. Ascending the throne upon Mary's death, she steered a skilful course in foreign affairs with the two leading Catholic powers of Spain and France, and presided over the judicious settlement of the Church of England. She made peace with France and Scotland, and strengthened her position by secretly helping Protestants in these countries. When Philip of Spain attempted an invasion of England, sending his "invincible armada", her fleet managed to repel the attack, and the weather completed its destruction. Elizabeth never married and died childless. A strong-willed, astute, yet capricious woman who faced growing parliamentary turbulence, she was nevertheless popular with her subjects. Her long 45-year reign was crowned with the maritime exploits of Hawkins, Drake, and Raleigh, the artistic genius of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Spenser, and the musical works of Tallis and Byrd.