Queen Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Elizabeth was a different kind of Queen. She was quick-witted, clever and able to use feminine wiles to get her own way and also she did not have a high opinion of marriage.

In the earlier years of her reign. Elizabeth I was 25 when she took the throne. she was the most eligible unmarried woman in Europe. Foreign princes and kings eagerly courted her in the hope of becoming King of England, and gaining its wealth and manpower resources for their own.

While Elizabeth might have had no intention of letting any of them actually do that. The second strand to Elizabeth remaining unmarried was the idea of her as the Virgin Queen. This was something she herself encouraged, and in the hands of poets and playwrights it became a full-blown cult of personality, one of the first in modern times. Any American reading this who lives in the state of Virginia has Elizabeth to thank for that name.

It should be remembered that according to Christian ideas, female virginity was praiseworthy, even sacred. Getting married was stated, by no less an authority than St Paul, to be merely the second-best option to remaining a virgin all your life.

The Virgin Mary was Queen of Heaven and Mother of God, just as the Virgin Elizabeth was Queen of England and mother of her people and while making that comparison directly might have been considered a little blasphemous, hinting at it was simply patriotic.

Elizabeth herself stressed that by remaining unmarried, she was devoting her life to her country instead. She was married to England and its people, and needed no other love but theirs. It was a highly effective public relations strategy, and one that made Elizabeth one of the most popular monarchs England ever had.

Elizabeth in a portrait painted when she was 50, depicted as the Virgin Queen. The sieve in her hand refers to the myth of the Roman maiden who proved her virginity by carrying water in a sieve.

According to some other sources that Elizabeth I was frightened or incapable of the sex act, but it is more likely that she feared childbirth. Two of her stepmothers, her grandmother and several acquaintances had died in childbed. 

Elizabeth was far too intelligent to compromise herself. The choice she made was courageous and revolutionary, and, in the long run, the right one for England.