Timeline of a Queen: Elizabeth I


Making a timeline for Queen Elizabeth I is the most challenging of the timelines I’ve made thus far. Her rule so long, with a plethora of events to choose from that I hope I did her life justice by including just enough, but not everything. To obtain the dates I referenced books by David Starkey and Claire Ridgway and used multiple website as well.

See Elizabeth’s parent’s timelines here:  Henry VIII (1491-1547)  &  Anne Boleyn

Elizabeth as Queen of England, c. 1565
Elizabeth as Queen of England, c. 1565


  • September 7 – Birth of Elizabeth I at Greenwich. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.


  • January 7 – Death of Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife.
  • May 19 –  Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn is executed.
  • May 20 – Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII became betrothed to Jane Seymour.
  • May 30 – Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII married Jane Seymour.


  • October 12 – Birth of Elizabeth’s half-brother Edward VI.
  • October 24 – Death of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife.


  • January 6 – Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife.
  • July 9 – Annulment of marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves.
  • July 28 – Elizabeth’s father married Katherine Howard.


  • Supposedly (per Starkey) the year Robert Dudley met Elizabeth.


  • February 13 – Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard executed.


  • July 12 – Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII married his sixth (and last) wife, Catherine Parr.


  • William Grindal became Elizabeth’s tutor. At this point she could write English, Latin, and Italian. Under Grindal, a talented she also learned French and Greek.


  • Blanche Herbert (Lady Troy) retired from being Elizabeth’s Lady Mistress. She held the position starting in 1537.


  • January 28 – Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII died.
  • Circa May – Secret marriage of Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour, Lord Seymour of Sudeley.


  • Thomas Seymour acted inappropriately with Elizabeth on multiple occasions.  Seymour was said to have engaged in romps and horseplay with the 14-year-old Elizabeth. These included entering her bedroom in his nightgown, tickling her and slapping her on the buttocks. Catherine Parr, rather than confront her husband over his inappropriate actions, joined in. She accompanied him multiple times in tickling Elizabeth, and once held her while he cut her black gown “into a thousand pieces.” (quote via David Starkey)


  • May – Catherine Parr finds Elizabeth in Seymour’s arms and sent Elizabeth away to Sir Anthony Denny and his wife at Cheshunt.
  • September 5 –  Death of Catherine Parr, Elizabeth’s stepmother. This was also Elizabeth’s 15th birthday.
  • After death of his wife, Thomas Seymour renewed his interest in the young Elizabeth and hoped to marry her.


  • January 16 – Thomas Seymour was arrested.
  • March 20 – Execution of Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley by beheading.


  • June 4 –  Marriage of Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart.


  • The last outbreak of the Sweating Sickness. It seems to have vanished after this final outbreak.


  • January 22 – Execution of the former Lord Protector Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset for treason.


  • June 21 – Edward VI names Lady Jane Grey his heir.
  • July 6 – Death of Edward VI, half-brother of Elizabeth.
  • July 10 – Lady Jane Grey proclaimed Queen of England.
  • July 19 – Accession of Mary I, Elizabeth’s half-sister.


  • January 25 – Wyatt’s Rebellion - Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Queen Mary’s proposed marriage to Prince Philip of Spain.
  • February 9 – Wyatt’s rebellion collapses and he surrenders in London.
  • February 12 – Execution of Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley.
  • March 18 – Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London. She was suspected of having involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion.
  • May 19 – Elizabeth released from the Tower but kept under house arrest at Woodstock.
  • July 25 –  Mary I wed Philip of Spain.
  • November 30 – England formally rejoins the Roman Catholic Church.


  • April 17 – Elizabeth was recalled to court to attend the final stages of Mary’s apparent pregnancy.
  • October – Elizabeth returned to Hatfield House.


  • November 6 – Mary recognized Elizabeth as her heir.
  • November 17 – Death of Mary I and accession of Elizabeth I.
  • November 20 – William Cecil appointed principal Secretary of State.


  • January 15 – Coronation of Elizabeth I
  • May 8 – Elizabethan Religious Settlement – Passing of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity
  • June 24 – First use of the Elizabethan Prayer Book
  • July 10 – Death of Henry II of France, accession of Francis II. Francis and his wife, Mary Queen of Scots declared themselves King and Queen of England, as well as France.


  • September 8 – Death of Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley.
  • December 5 – Death of Francis II of France, husband of Mary Queen of Scots. Accession of Charles IX with his mother, Catherine de’ Medici as Regent.


  • March 1 – Massacre of Vassy; Murder of Huguenots on the orders of Francis, Duke of Guise, and the start of the French Wars of Religion.


  • August 19 – Mary Queen of Scots lands at Leith in Scotland.


  • September 22 – Treaty of Hampton Court (or Richmond) between Elizabeth I and Huguenot leader, Louis I de Bourbon.
  • October – Elizabeth I seriously ill with smallpox.


  • Elizabeth proposed her own suitor, Robert Dudley as a husband for Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • June – October – Outbreak of the Black Death or the Plague in London.


  • April – Treaty of Troyes between England and France.


  • Elizabeth raised Robert Dudley to Earl of Leicester.
  • April 26 – Baptism of William Shakespeare, thought to have been born around the 23rd, in Straford-upon-Avon.
  • July 25 – Accession of Maximilian II as Holy Roman Emperor after the death of his father, Ferdinand I.


  • Death of Elizabeth’s former governess, Kat Ashtley/Ashley.
  • July 29 – Mary Queen of Scots marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Holyrood Palace.
  • November 10 – Birth of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, son of Lettice Knollys with Walter Devereux.


  • March 9 – Murder of David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary Queen of Scots, by Darnley in front of the pregnant Mary.
  • June 19 – Birth of James I of England (James VI of Scotland), son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley.


  • February 10 – Murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley at Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh.
  • April 12 – James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, acquitted of Darnley’s murder.
  • April 24 – Mary Queen of Scots visits her son James at Stirling and is then abducted and allegedly raped by Bothwell.
  • May 15 – Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots and Bothwell at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • July 24 – Mary Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate the throne of Scotland in favour of her baby son. Mary’s half brother, James Stuart, Earl of Moray, is appointed regent. Mary is imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle.


  • January  15-  Death of  Catherine Carey, Chief Lady of the Bedchamber to Elizabeth I. Catherine was commonly known as Elizabeth’s 1st cousin (Mary Boleyn was her mother) but is rumored to have been her half-sister – a product of Henry VIII’s affair with Mary Boleyn.
  • January 26 – Death of Lady Catherine Grey. She was younger the sister of Lady Jane Grey. A granddaughter of Mary Tudor, dowager queen of France. Catherine was a potential successor to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. She incurred Elizabeth’s wrath by her secret marriage to Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford. Following her arrest, when the queen was informed of her clandestine marriage, she lived in captivity until her death, having given birth to two sons in the Tower of London.
  • March 19 – Death of Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, sister to the late Jane Seymour.
  • May 2 – Mary Queen of Scots escapes and flees to England where she is “voluntarily” imprisoned at Carlisle Castle.


  • The Rising of the North, also known as the Northern Rebellion or the Revolt of the Northern Earls – an attempt to depose Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots.
  • October – Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is imprisoned for plotting to marry Mary, Queen of Scots.


  • January 11 – Assassination of James Stuart, Earl of Moray, at Linlithgow, by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, a supporter of Mary Queen of Scots. James Stuart was Mary’s half-brother.
  • February 25 – Elizabeth I excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
  • Discussions commenced to arrange the marriage of Elizabeth I and Henry, Duke of Anjou.


  • February 25 – William Cecil made 1st Baron Burghley.
  • April – Treason Act forbids criticism of the monarchy.
  • June 25 – Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Horncastle, is founded in Lincolnshire.
  • Ridolfi Plot – A plot in 1571 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. The plot was hatched and planned by Roberto di Ridolfi.


  • June 2 – Execution of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk for treason.
  • August 24 – St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France.
  • October 24 – Death of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby.  King Henry VIII took responsibility for bringing him up until he was of age. He was born in 1509. Edward remained in favour under Elizabeth’s reign and remained on her Privy Council.


  • December 18 – Francis Walsingham becomes Secretary of State.
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for Boys established in Barnet at the petition of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester.


  • November 14 – Elizabeth declines an offer of rule over the Netherlands.


  • Francis Drake sets out on the first English voyage around the world.


  • September 21 – Secret marriage of Robert Dudley and Lettice Knollys.


  • April 4 – Drake knighted by Queen Elizabeth I


  • December – Francis Throckmorton’s plot to invade England with the assistance of Henry I, Duke of Guise, and replace Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots, is discovered by Francis Walsingham.


  • October 19 – Bond of Association: thousands pledge to defend Queen Elizabeth, and avenge any successful assassination attempt.


  • Elizabeth takes The Netherlands under her protection, beginning the War with Spain.
  • January 6 – Walter Ralegh knighted.


  • Babington Plot and trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, for treason.
  • February 4 – Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester accepts the title governor of the Netherlands.
  • October 15 to 25  - Mary, Queen of Scots, placed on trial for corresponding with Babington and sentenced to death.


  • February 8 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded at Fotheringay Castle.
  • April 16 – Death of Anne Stanhope/Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset (wife of Edward Seymour)


  • August 9 – Queen Elizabeth makes her speech to the Troops at Tilbury.
  • September 4 – Death of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, politician.
  • George Gower paints the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
  • Defeat of the Spanish Armada


  • April 6 – Francis Walsingham, principal secretary to Elizabeth I and spymaster.


  • First performance of Shakespeare’s play, Richard III.
  • December – Outbreak of the plague in London; 17,000 deaths over the following twelve months.


  • June 7 – Roderigo Lopez executed for allegedly trying to poison Queen Elizabeth.


  • August 28 – Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins depart on their final voyage to the Spanish Main which ultimately ends in both of their deaths.


  • January 27 – Death of Sir Francis Drake, explorer and soldier.
  • July 23 – Death of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon. It has been rumored that Henry VIII was his father, which would make him Elizabeth’s half-brother.
  • Death of Blanche Parry, Personal attendant to Elizabeth I.


  • August 4 – Death of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.


  • March 12 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex is appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by Queen Elizabeth I.


  • January 7-8 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, stages a short-lived rebellion against Elizabeth I.
  • February 25 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex executed for treason.
  • November – Elizabeth I addresses her final parliament with the Golden Speech.


  • March 24 – Death of Queen Elizabeth I at Richmond Palace aged 69, after 45 years on the throne She is succeeded by her cousin King James VI of Scotland, and unites the crowns of Scotland and England.
by Unknown artist, pencil and watercolour, circa 1595
by Unknown artist, pencil and watercolour, circa 1595


Elizabeth l History

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Very informative: My information says that when Robert Dudley was made Lord Protector and to receive 20,000 lbs sterling per annum she confessed to the priests that she had obeyed the laws of the CHURCH. Meaning her secret marriage to Dudley and the alleged children were legitimate: Mary Sidney 1561 Francis Bacon 1563 (History of Parliment on line shows him with the Queen and Dudley as a family) not often but often enough to have his debts forgiven by James I and Paid 40,000 lbs in return to swear never to seek the throne. Nov 22, 1565 5 days out of sight with 9 mos. after Dudley made master of the Queens horses. Child given to Sir John Perrott 1528 her 1/2 brother to raise…Name John Perratt II. DNA passed to him by Dudley and his son Perrot ap Rice 1598 named father of my proved 6th great grandfather John Rice of Dedham 1624 is 23/25 match to dudley’s 2nd cousin and 59/67 to Dudley’s sixth cousin Robert Sutton. D. Charles Rice on Face Book you can see some of the photo’s of 3 lines of Tudor descent via Dudley.

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