Page 6 - SAMPLE Great Britons
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   In Greenwich Palace, 1533, a baby was born to the grandest of parents – the king and queen of England. They didn’t celebrate their new arrival – King Henry VIII, desperate for a son, was furious that the baby was a girl. Yet this disappointing daughter would grow up to become one of the most successful rulers in British history. Her name was Elizabeth Tudor, but she would one day be known as ‘Gloriana’, the ‘Virgin Queen’ and ‘Good Queen Bess’.
Little Elizabeth’s life was sometimes sad and difficult. When she was only two years old, her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded on the orders of her father, so that he could be free to marry again. His new wife, Jane Seymour, soon gave birth to Edward, the son Henry longed for. Elizabeth wasn’t treated cruelly, although no one thought she would grow up to take the throne. Catherine
Parr, her father’s sixth and last wife, was particularly kind to her.
Intelligent and serious, Elizabeth received a royal education from brilliant tutors. She was taught Latin, Greek and history – and she did extremely well
at them. It’s said that she spoke five languages by the age of 11! As an adult,
she could speak or read English, Welsh,
Greek, Latin, Spanish, French and Italian.
When Henry VIII died, in 1547, her young half-brother, Edward, became King Edward VI. However,
he died just six years later, and things became much worse for Elizabeth because her older half-sister, Mary, took the throne. Though Henry VIII had changed England’s religion from Roman Catholic to
Protestant, ‘Bloody’ Mary was determined to make the country Catholic again. She burned and tortured Protestants who wanted to worship differently, and she was convinced that
Elizabeth (who was a Protestant) might be plotting to overthrow her. Elizabeth was spied on, questioned and even imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Elizabeth loved sweets, especially candied violets – so much so that many of her teeth went rotten.

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