Friday, November 27, 2015

V is for Virgin The ABC's of the Reign of Our Most Gracious Sovereign Elizabeth

Did she or didn't she?
Elizabeth I made much of her decision to 'live and die a virgin.'
Wrong virgin.
Getting closer . . .

There you go!

Married 'to England.' 

Purity in the sixteenth century was a valuable commodity.
To be unblemished, untouched by (gasp!) man was the societal norm for unmarried women.
The reality then, as now, was less a norm than an ideal.
Certainly there were pregnancies a-plenty conceived outside the bonds of holy matrimony.
Then, as now, 'first children could be born at any time; after that, they took nine months.' 

In an age of unreliable or unavailable birth control, Elizabeth I had only one option - no sexual intercourse.
As a vibrant and sensual woman, that was a heavy toll for the Queen of England to pay.

There were rumours, of course; like gnats buzzing around one's head at a picnic - pesky, difficult to swat down rumours - but, in the end, unproved. 
Some of those gnats rumours persist even in the twenty-first century; that a painting at Hampton Court Palace shows a pregnant queen,
"Oh, Lord, not THAT again. . . "
that she bore a love child, namely Francis Bacon
"Mom?" Not even. . .
and some said she was mother to as many as five (5!) bastards.
"Makes my head hurt, having to defend my reputation all the time. . . "
There is no disputing that Elizabeth played a little slap-n-tickle with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, but did he ever. . . you know . . . uh. . . slip it in?
The queen's body was sacred and Elizabeth I knew just how precarious one's hold on the throne of England could be in the face of accusations and with an eager cousin just north of the border, ready to topple her with no encouragement whatsoever.
(Mary Queen of Scots, a proven-fecund claimant to the throne, proved herself a bit of a slut tainted woman after her second husband was blown up and Mary round-ankled her bad self into marriage with James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell.)
Against Mary Queen of Scot's charms, Elizabeth I chose wisely to hold herself above the pleasures of the flesh and maintained a strict hold on her own hymen. 

So, did Dudley get in there? 
Nope Sherlock 
To keep her country stable and war-free (at least until she and her troops and her navy effing blew the Spanish Armada out of the water, lol, in 1588) Elizabeth I kept her own needs and desires far, far away from the peen of Dudley, or any other alleged 'lovers.'
Because when one is a Virgin Queen whose purity is a mortal reminder to one's subjects of the other famous Virgin of Catholic origin,
Sweet and pure. Always.

one does not 'do' the Earl of Leicester.
One keeps one's knees firmly together.

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