When Queen Elizabeth ascended on the throne England was in a peculiar position. Queen Mary was not in good looks other people but her terrors were still being remembered by the people.

Work of Henery VIII and Edward VI in bringing Reformation to England had been tried to be undone. Treasury was empty and people were discontented.

According to the will of Henry VIII, Elizabeth ascended the throne of England in 1558 after the death of Mary. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII with his second wife. Anne Boleyn. When Elizabeth ascended to the throne, she was only twenty-five years old.

This sent a surging wave of rejoicing and happiness among the people. There were celebra­tions all round at myriads of places. Elizabeth had sharp and seemly features. Like her mother she was as fond of gaudy dresses and remaining well-dressed as she was fond of the state work.


She had imbibed many qualities of her great father. She had own the heart of the entire English race by her pleasantness of behavior and popularity. She was selfish at heart and as such had no love for truth. Elizabeth-had a special inclination towards music and dancing. Like her father she was far-sighted courageous and patient. She was excessively vain, glorious and proud. That was her grain.


Because of her vainglory, Elizabeth was sometimes in a position to take quick decisions in small matters. Anyway, although her reign was very eventful and tumultuous, she steered the ship of tate successfully through the trout waters of England. The last phase of her reign was peace she remained unmarried throughout her life so that she may not have to depend on any man. She was a linguist and knew many languages.

Due protection and respect was given to the learned persons. She was not destined to face failures even though grave difficulties and problems arose. It was because heir patience and successful diplomacy. Fortunately for her Elizabeth got good and competent ministers.


Out of these, the names of William Cecil (Lord Burgley) and Washington can be mentioned as outstanding. In this connection Ramsay Muirs says “She had learnt to keep her own counsel, to be reticent and smiling, to wait upon events with courage, and to use deceit as a weapon of defence. These qualities stood her in good stead the difficult times which lay before her”.

When Elizabeth mounted the throne the condition of the country was pitiable and deplorable. The coffers were lying vacant. Army was almost nil. The fleets on the sea were also in a bad state. The condition of the forts of Portermouth and Berwick had become very bad. In fact the condition of England was almost the same as it was in 1485 before the accession of Henery VII.

There was also a danger that France might try to have control over England through Mary. There was also the possibility of religious strifes and danger of Mary, Queer of Scots, creating unnecessary troubles both in England and France Danger from Spain also could not be ruled out. The difficulties and problems that Elizabeth had to face were the following:

1. Religious Problems:


During the reign of Elizabeth, the most complicated problem was the religious problem. From the religious point of view, the contemporary England was divided in three parts which were as follows:

1. The first were the Roman Catholics. They were anxious to reunite England with the Church of Rome. The Catholics naturally wanted to propagate and disseminate Catholic faith.

They also wanted to make the Catholic faith, the state religion. That was the reason why these Catholics gave more recognition to the claims of Mary Stuart to the throne of England. To accomplish this aim of theirs they were anxious to take help from Spain as well.

2. The other group was that of the Protestants who had to undergo untold misery and tribulations during the proceeding reign of Queen Mary Tudor.


They were even burnt alive for professing protestantism. However, there was still a section of the people in England which was influenced by Calvin and his ideas. These people wanted to give a further stimulus to the work of religious reforms. They wanted-and quite naturally so-to make protestantism as the state religion.

3. Besides the Roman Catholics and the protestant there was yet another group of people in England who cared little for the religion. This section of the population was keen to have peace and order. They hated warfare and blood-shed. Also, they were prepared to accept any national and sensible proposals and agreements. It was this group of people which helped Queen Elizabeth in taking a decision on religion.

2. Political Problems:

From Scotland:


There were many political problems before Elizabeth at the time of her accession. The greatest fear to her lay from Scotland where Mary Queen of scots had been made a party and was expressing claims to the throne of England. Mary was the Queen not only of Scotland, but of France also. If she had been successful in becoming the Queen of England, she would have become the Queen of England, Scotland and France. If however, France and Spain united with each other the end of English Government and liberties was certain.

However, it was the good fortune of England that France and Spain were inveterate enemies. Elizabeth profited by this enmity between the two powers. She pretended to be seriously considering a proposal to marry the French Prince. Thus she could procure temporary help of France.

From Spain:

Spain was no less a frightful enemy of England under Elizabeth. The Spanish king, Philip, wanted to England a Roman Catholic country. He also wanted to marry Elizabeth.


France and Spain were almost incurable enemies, Philip was afraid that should Elizabeth die, Mary Stuart, wife of the French Dauphin would mount the throne of England and thus England and France would be united.

Elizabeth however, very wisely and skillfully exploited -this fear of Philip to her advantage. However, after 1572 Philip’s attention was diverted towards Netherlands when a revolt broke out there.

3. Financial Problems:

Elizabeth had to face many financial problems too. The main causes of these problems were the following:

(i) During the reign of Queen Mary Tudor, England fought a war with France. As a result there was a depleting effect and the national treasury.

(ii) When in the time of Mary, there was a reunion between England and Rome. Money started flowing out from England to Rome. For the same reason the church lands which were confiscated earlier were restored to the church. This had an adverse effect on the economic condition of the people of I England. Those people who had benefited from dissolution and confiscations.

(iii) Because of the circulation of counter felt and debased coins people were losing respect for the state and the
monarch. Elizabeth there fore set out to improve and standar­dise the coins and to convince the people that the monarch had no intention of robbing the people.

To solve all these problems, Elizabeth made use of great foresight and circumspection. She had no particular expenditure except on clothes. Elizabeth also avoided wars for a long time. Besides, she was lucky enough to get a finance secretary of the stature of. Cecil.

4. Disorder in Ireland:

The religious reformers, during Edward VI, had displeased the people or Ireland because most of them were the followers of the Roman Catholic religion. However, later on when Shan O Neil was made the Earl of Pyrone there was comparative peace in the country.

5. Social Discontentment:

In the year 1558 social conditions of England were very deplorable what had precipitated the crisis was the enclosure movement and the resultant increase of the number of the unemployed and the beggars.

Thus it was a very sad state of affairs. The country had experienced plague and drought. And for the last few years no adequate attention was paid towards the activities of the state. Besides, Elizabeth had no standing army and Mary had neglected the naval power and potential of England.

Thus England was no bed of roses when Elizabeth ascended the throne.