Problems Elizabeth Faced at her Accession (Problems of Foreign Powers (The…
Problems Elizabeth Faced at her Accession
Problems of Nearby Nations
Elizabeth had considered herself to be Queen of Ireland, which led to major revolts, the first of which was in 1559.
Many Catholics saw Mary Queen of Scots as a viable heir to Elizabeth and this made her a serious threat, particularly as Elizabeth was reluctant to declare a successor lest it provided legitimacy for a rebellion to overthrow her and replace her with said successor.
Mary Queen of Scots was a Stuart Catholic who was a cousin to Elizabeth. She was queen of Scotland and offered a direct heir to Elizabeth.
Problems of Foreign Powers
The Spanish Netherlands proved a key area of tension, where the protestant population was in conflict with its catholic Spanish rulers. Elizabeth had to decide whether England was to intervene and help protestants, particularly because the cloth trade with Antwerp was vital for the English economy.
There was a constant threat of invasion from the Spanish as they sought to have more Catholic influence over the world.
Catholic countries like France and Spain wanted more influence over Elizabeth's Protestant England and had the support of the Pope in this aim.
Mary I had lost the last English territory in France, Calais, in 1558, so Elizabeth had to look west to find further territories.
Countries like Spain and France were constantly in competition with England for new colonies and trade routes, including trade partners.
Problems of Money
Elizabeth would have to be frugal to maintain the favour of the poor, the gentry and the nobility while not accumulating any more debt.
England was at war with France at the time and this was very expensive.
The government had inherited massive debts from Mary I which needed to be paid off,
The country was short of money and Elizabeth needed to raise taxes. However, poverty was widespread and raising taxes would be extremely unpopular.
Problems of Herself
Elizabeth had been in and out of succession from a young age, making it difficult for her to establish perfect legitimacy.
Elizabeth had had a rough childhood, having been banned from court on occasions by Henry VIII and living with Catherine Parr and Sir Thomas Seymour, so she was cautious to trust anyone.
Elizabeth was extremely cautious about who to trust and was reluctant to appoint more nobles than necessary for her court.
Elizabeth was a woman, and woman were not seen as fit to rule like a man, meaning she had to take extra measures to prove herself as a successful monarch.
Elizabeth was young and inexperienced, as she was coronated at 25, meaning nobles and advisors tried to take advantage of her on aspects of her rule that appealed to them.
Problems of Religion
Elizabeth wanted to re-establish Protestantism as the main religion in England, which would mean overturning the Catholic religion once again, causing possibility of rebellion and problems of a religious settlement.
Puritanism (an extreme form Protestantism) was a growing threat, and many puritans sought to take control of Elizabeth's church and make it more extreme, which would damage her religious settlement.
Many Catholics did not trust Elizabeth and some claimed she had no legitimacy to rule, as the Catholic church never granted the annulment Henry VIII needed for him to marry Anne Boleyn, so Elizabeth was not seen as a legitimate daughter.
Constant changing in religion in the Tudor period had brought instability and even violence. This meant many people fled from religious persecution and distrusted future Monarch's plans with religion.
The Tudor period had seen religion in England change multiple times. Henry VIII had made the country protestant with his break from Rome. Edward VI had kept this but Queen Mary I had made the Country Catholic again. This annoyed religious people like the Pope who needed a definite answer to England's religion.
Problems of Succession
People Questioned Elizabeth's legitimacy and whether she had a right to rule at all (due to not believing Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn was legitimate), so close advisors were keen for her to establish command quickly.
In 1562, Elizabeth nearly died of smallpox, drawing attention to the uncertainty of England's future should she suddenly die. Many senior figures pushed her to marry as quickly as possible.
Elizabeth was the Last living child of Henry VIII and had no children of her own, meaning courtiers heavily encouraged her to get married and carry on the Tudor line. It was unclear who would succeed her and there could even be a violent power struggle for the throne like in previous years.