Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603, daughter of Henry VIII, king of England, and of his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She was the last of the Tudor rulers of England.
From the beginning of her reign, Elizabeth's marital status was a political concern because there was no English heir to the throne. Parliament insistently petitioned her to marry, but she replied with the statement that she intended to live and die a virgin, and she became known as the Virgin Queen.
Her statement did not prevent her from toying constantly with the idea of marriage.
She was besieged by royal suitors, each of whom she favored when it was in her political interest to do so. Her affections, however, were bestowed on a succession of favorites, notably Robert Dudley, 1st earl of Leicester, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex.