Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Invincible Armada & Stuff

Philip was mighty annoyed w/ Elizabeth, & not just for the MQOS execution, either. Once Moray got shot, peeps picked up on this whole political assassination thing as a good way to eliminate rulers they were sick of looking at. The Hapsburg empire incl the Low Countries & part of them had successfully rebelled under the command of William of Orange. Philip was not amused & sent a peep over to take a few shots at him & take him out, thinking this would demoralize the Dutch peeps.

William I of Orange

He miscalculated, as not only did it make the resistance stronger, they appealed to Elizabeth for assistance against Philip. After William's assassination, Elizabeth was the only strong Protestant ruler left standing in Europe. The 3rd had been Henry of Navarre, but since all of Catherine de Medici's boys had died sans heirs & he was married to their sister Marguerite, he was offered the throne of France if he converted to Catholicism.

Henry of Navarre

His famous line on this was, "Paris is worth a Mass". MQOSs BFF Elisabeth, who was married to Philip, had also demised, so Philip didn't factor in HA HA That irked him, too, esp as he hadn't gotten any sons out of Elisabeth to be a Frenchie player & he had to find a new wife as by now even he had to admit what a nutjob Don Carlos had turned out to be.

Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias
Philip IIs son

Elizabeth's decision to send aid to the Netherlands rebels really irritated Philip & so the demise of MQOS was the icing on the cake for him. He began planning an invasion of England w/ his hitherto-invincible navy, the Spanish Armada.

O SHITE was the English perspective on this threat, & they started to get ready to fight the Spanish. Luckily boats are slow & it took a while to provision such, so they had a few yrs to strengthen defenses. Robin ticked off Elizabeth again b/c he was over in the Netherlands in charge & peeps liked him & asked him to be their Governor-General.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

It wasn't a shiny crown, but he took it & told her after the fact. She didn't stay mad at him long b/c Philip Sidney, his nevvy & a great fav of the queen b/c he was her BFF Mary's kid & wrote fabby poetry praising her, was kilt at the battle of Zutphen. Elizabeth gave him a fab funeral & made peeps go into mourning.

Sir Philip Sidney

3 yrs after MQOS got her pair of whacks, word came that the Armada had left Cadiz & was en route to England to annihilate them.

Another English burr under Philip's saddle was Elizabeth's privateers. The difference btwn a pirate & a privateer is that a pirate is out for his own personal fun & profit, while a privateer obtains letters of marque from a ruler to go harass the ships of peeps they didn't like & share the wealth w/ said marque-granting ruler, & Philip was at the top of England's list. The Spanish explorations in the New World meant treasure ships regularly came back & forth full of gold, silver, spices, & other nice things. Sir Francis Drake was the bestest of Elizabeth's privateering peeps & plagued Philip incessantly.

Sir Francis Drake

So along w/ her cuz Lord High Admiral William Howard of Effingham, Drake was apptd 2nd in command for the English Navy now that the Armada was on the move. There's a legend & a painting to go w/ it that shows peeps jumping up & down & pointing hollering THE ARMADA'S HERE & Drake glancing over & going meh I got time to finish this game of bowls 1st LOL

The Armada in Sight

Philip had also been irking Elizabeth some by sneakily financing the Irish rebellions & one of their bestest pirates was a wench called Grace O'Malley. Elizabeth kinda respected her even if Grace was plundering the odd English ship here & there, b/c, yknow, tough chicks hafta stick together in a man's world, so when Grace was arrested Elizabeth let her off. Troops were pulled from the ongoing conflicts in Ireland & the Netherlands, w/ Robin put in charge of those, just in case the Navy couldn't fight the Spanish off & there was a landing. A series of signal fires were set up along the coastline to warn of the Armada's imminent approach, which they had to do b/c they had no cell phones yet.

The English hunkered down & waited.

The Pope approved of Philip's plans to proceed against the heretic Elizabeth & said meh take her down w/ my nice papal blessing, but then them English peeps gotta be Catholic again, & go ahead & pick em a new ruler from amongst the Catholic peeps.

Philip II of Spain

In the twists & turns of Plantagenet begats, Philip himself could claim descent from that prolific begatter Edward III. John of Gaunt's marriage to Constance of Castile made their daughter Catherine of Lancaster Philip's 11dy6x grandma. So he thunk he would install his daughter Isabella by Elisabeth of Valois as the new English queen & be her puppetmaster. Even tho they weren't playing, the Frenchies were cool w/ this, as Isabella was the new French queen's niece. The Armada was a huge, amazing fleet that had never once gone down in defeat, so twas all looking mighty rosy for the Spanish event planners.

Elizabeth donned a stylin' suit of armor (or was that just Cate Blanchett LOL) & went to review her troops at Tilbury.

Elizabeth at Tilbury

This is where she got to make her fabby speech where she said "I may have the body of a weak & feeble woman, but I have the heart & stomach of a king". I toldja she had lots of good lines & I ain't said the half of em. The English soldiers went wild & cheered their gallant queen & promised to kick Spanish behind all the way back to the Alhambra for her.

The Armada was sighted lurking round Flanders, so Howard of Effingham did a daring nighttime departure from Plymouth to surprise em come the morn. This was the battle of Gravelines. The Spanish woke up to see 11dy6 fireships coming at their fleet at anchor & said O MADRE DE DIOS, AMIGOS!

The English sending the fireships at the Spanish Armada

Fireships is where they take little boats & set em on fire & send em at bigger ships b/c hey, it only takes one good spark to set one ablaze. The Duke of Medina-Sidonia, the Armada's commander, was confident that he had the English Navy outnumbered. Didn't matter. The English practically annihilated em. The Spanish lost a few to the fireships & only had one ship captured, but the rest of em shrieked RUN AWAY RUN AWAY, only they did it in the wrong direction.

route of the Spanish Armada

The English had the English Channel clogged up, so the only available route of escape was up into the North Sea. This meant the Spanish had to sail around Scotland & Ireland to get back to the Atlantic Ocean & go home. I'm sure Medina-Sidonia was OK w/ the delay b/c would YOU wanna tell Philip the Invincible Armada got sucker-punched by a passel of heretics? But their bad luck continued & they ran into lots of late summer storms & by the time they got back to Spain, roughly only 1/2 the Armada was left. Philip was not amused.

The English, however, were partying like it was 1999; pffft to you, Phil was likely a popular phrase LOL Elizabeth's prestige had just taken a dramatic upswing so she was pretty chuffed her good self.

Elizabeth I
the Armada portrait
(see the ships?)

She made another speech where she said peace & prosperity were the greatest gifts a monarch could bring to her ppl. And she stopped being so penny-pinching like Grandpa after she'd seen what the Navy could do w/ a quick infusion of coin, which led to England's pre-eminence as the power of the high seas soon enough.

Trust Robert Dudley to put a damper on the party, huh? Robin hadn't been feeling well for several mos & in fact had argued w/ Elizabeth that he wasn't the bestest peep for the job of being in charge of the land troops, so you knew he must've been really sick b/c Robin thunk he could do anything. He managed to stay upright in the saddle until the peril was past, but then he got off his mount & never got on one again.

Robert Dudley in his 50s

Elizabeth flew to her sweet bonny Robin's bedside in the midst of the celebrations. He'd recently turned 55 & was going grey & tubby & hardly anyone's idea of Prince Charming anymore as he'd been in his younger days when he was supposedly all smokin' hot. It had been about 4 yrs since his legit son had demised & he & Lettice were fairly well estranged after their decade of marriage, as ya would be if your DH kicked you out when the queen came calling, tho his illegit by Douglass Sheffield was thriving (guess he married the wrong one, huh?) & would eventually grow up to be a famous privateer his good self & perpetuate the Dudleys by having 11dy6 kidlets, but that would be much later on & Robin wasn't going to get to dandle his 12 grandchildren on his knee.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Douglass Sheffield's son

Robin could barely heave his bulk out of bed. Elizabeth was worried b/c he looked awful & felt worse, so she arranged for a nice sedan chair (contrary to That Travesty on Showtime, fancy carriages hadn't been invented yet) to haul him off to take the healing waters at Buxton in hopes twould cure him. Robin kissed her good-bye, was trundled off, settled in, wrote her a letter, & then promptly demised. Eeriely it was almost to the day of Amy's death & a double bummer for the queen as twas 3 days b4 her own 55th BD. After Elizabeth died, they found Robin's letter in her jewel box, written on it in her own hand, "his last letter". Awwwww. I guess she really did love him after all....just not quite enough to share her throne w/.

C & W slapped high 5s at being rid of Robin at last, but his demise created a vacuum in the court b/c now the queen had no favorite, so peeps starting cleaning up & dressing up & jockeying for the position. Sir Christopher Hatton was a front-runner (for some stupid reason Elizabeth took to calling him her Lids LOL),

Sir Christopher Hatton

as was Sir Walter Raleigh (her Water).

Sir Walter Raleigh

they were much younger than her, but hey, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do to get the queen to ply ya w/ goodies, right? Hatton finally won b/c Raleigh didn't learn from his predecessor.

Amongst Elizabeth's maids of honor was the granddaughter of Daddy's old BFF Nick Carew, Bess Throckmorton (yes a cuz to the plot peep on her Daddy's side; Mum was Nick's eldest daughter Anne, who was 17 when her Daddy lost his head). Bess began to swell up sumfin awful & Elizabeth demanded to know who was the father of her brat. Turned out there had been another seecrud wedding btwn Bess & Raleigh, who natch got banished to rusticate in the country whilst awaiting the birth of their son Carew. Hatton wisely didn't make any seecrud marriages & stayed in the queen's good graces for quite a while. There were some other courtier peeps to whom Elizabeth showed her favor, too, as apparently Robin required several to fill his shoes, like Sir Francis Bacon

Sir Francis Bacon

& of all peeps, Lettice & Walter Devereux's boy, Robert!

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex

This caused much snickering b/c Elizabeth was pretty much old enough to be Robert Devereux's grandma at thus pt, even tho she still dressed young & slathered on about an inch or so of white lead paste makeup daily to conceal the ravages of age (hey, it happens to us all, except maybe Sean Connery LOL). And she pitched a fit when he married Philip Sidney's widow, Frances Walsingham, to much amusement.

His mum also caused an amusing scandal, as Lettice married a pal of Sonny's, Sir Christopher Blount, who was more than 1/2 her age. Cougar Alert! DH was allowed at court, but no siree, not Lettice, not even when Sonny made up w/ Elizabeth & begged her to let Mum come back. Elizabeth was adamant on that subject. NO MAN-STEALERS ALLOWED!

Then she got all bummed out again, b/c within a cpl yrs of finally getting rid of that pesky Dudley, Cecil had the demises.

Cecil (who should've properly been called Lord Burghley all these yrs b/c he got a nice title) had groomed his son (tiresomely) Robert, who allegedly was a hunchback, to take over for him, but it just wasn't the same for poor old Elizabeth. Cecil & Dudley had been her 2 major BFFs. To make matters worse, Walsingham then decided to have the demises as well. Elizabeth looked round & realized she was the elderliest peep standing at court all of a sudden. So she invited Bess of Hardwick to come for a visit.

Shrewsbury had also demised, but Bess decided 4 DHs was her limit. There was no need for her to get hitched b/c she prolly had more money than the queen at this pt & she was busy building Hardwick Hall & raising her granddaughter Arabella, b/c her daughter Beth had demised when the tyke was 7.

Arabella Stuart

Arabella heartily despised her grandmother. Bess was ever-mindful that the girl was a potential Queen of England in waiting w/ her infusion of Tudor-Stuart blood & she watched her like a hawk, determined that there would be no indiscretions to irk Elizabeth, who still hadn't named her heir. Arabella's BR was smack in the middle of Bess's apts & the only way to get to it was thru Bess's own BR. Even tho she was 20 she still had to have school lessons every day & report to Bess on her every move. Plus Hardwick Hall was out in the country & borrrrring.

Arabella was all come over unnecessary at being invited to go to court at long last & Bess cautioned her to behave herself b/c there could be a nice crown in it for her someday if Elizabeth liked her. This was a necessary caution b/c Arabella was what they called "high-strung" & what we'd prolly call "nuts" LOL She was always dramatickal & complaining to all her rellies that Granny kept her prisoner & making wild schemes to escape so she could have a life. She didn't get that if you were related to Elizabeth, you didn't GET a life unless the queen said so, so all her hatred (some of her journals still exist) was directed at Bess's over-protective 'tude. She foolishly thunk maybe she could catch a nice hubby at court & flip Granny the bird & get away from stupid old Hardwick Hall w/ its constant racket of construction.

Bess had drilled her status into Arabella all her life, so when they got to London, everyone decided they disliked Arabella in record time b/c she was so arrogant & demanded she take precedence over higher-ranking peeps merely b/c of her bloodline. In fact, she had the gall to ask Elizabeth how come she couldn't get her mitts on her Daddy's Lennox title so she could have a title. The fact that it was a Scots title & not an English one escaped her. Elizabeth found her a tiresome spoilt brat & wished she'd never incl her in the invite, b/c all she did was cause strife amongst the other maids of honor & attempt to elbow duchesses out of the way. If Arabella didn't get her own way, she threw spectacular tantrums & got all hysterical about it. This just wasn't done at court. Only Elizabeth could do that LOL

Elizabeth I
the Ditchley portrait

Finally she had enough of this nonsense & told Bess to take the brat home & never ever come back. Bess was furious w/ Arabella for incurring the queen's fervent dislike & was determined to reform her on the off chance Elizabeth changed her mind & invited them back again. Arabella was irked at Granny for dragging her back to Hardwick Hall & insisted that Bess had said something to Elizabeth to rile her up, b/c Arabella thunk she was a perfect little angel at court. Bess had to keep her even more closely surpervised than ever b/c Arabella kept plotting these hare-brained escape attempts. Arabella had the same pain in her side that Auntie MQOS'd had, so she might've had a touch of porphyria, too.

After dusting her gloves of Arabella, Elizabeth decided to make her boy-toy Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex. And NO Lettice could NOT come for the ceremony!

miniature of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex

Essex was now the clear bestest favorite & my didn't he put on airs about it. Elizabeth indulgently showered him & his sisters w/ goodies (but not Mum). Penny caused a scandal by leaving her DH & getting pregnant by her BF, but b/c she was Essex's sis she got to come back to court after she had the baby. Peeps started sucking up to Essex like crazy, hoping he could sweet-talk the queen into favors they wanted. Elizabeth even started letting him pop into her privy apts just like his stepdad had been privileged to do. Just like Robin, Essex could do no wrong & she'd not hear a word bad about him, even tho he was a rather arrogant jerk.

Then those pesky Irish decided to have the Revolt of the Earls.....

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