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Who was Queen Elizabeth I? – Weird stuff about Lizzie One your teacher doesn’t want you to know

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

The "Darnley Portrait" of Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I is probably the most famous Queen… EVER! She’s certainly up there, at the top of the famous queen league table (that’s a real thing, honest) with Queen Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Queen Victoria, Queen Nefertiti, and – the current long-running undefeated Queen of the United Kingdom – Queen Elizabeth II.

With that being said, let’s crack on and find out about Lizzy the Legend (though I don’t people actually called her that, as it would have made her sound like a professional wrestler).

Why is Elizabeth 1 so well known?

Queen Elizabeth is probably so super mega-famous because she lasted as Queen of England for such a loooooong time. She became Queen in 1558 and stopped being Queen in 1603, due to a severe case of death. With such a good explanation as ‘death’, you can’t really fault her for ending her reign when she did.

During this era in England, the average life expectancy was 30 to 40 years old. Entire generations of people had only ever known Elizabeth as their Queen. There had been no other Kings or Queens during their lifetimes. She ruled for much longer than most people lived for!

Another reason Queen Elizabeth is likely so well-known is that her Dad, King Henry VIII, went to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to have a son. Henry wanted his son to be the next King. Ironically he never realised that his daughter had the necessary chops to become one of the most successful monarchs of all time.

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn - Elizabeth's Dad and Mum. Courtesy Dancingtudorqueen.

What era did she rule in?

The great thing about being a successful monarch is that people tend to name eras of history after you. Elizabeth I is no exception; she ruled during the Elizabethan Age.

Was a King hanging around during the Elizabethan Age?

Nope, in order to maintain her power, Elizabeth declined to marry any fellas and instead opted to rule on her ownsome.

Okay, so far so history book. What weird stuff can you tell me about Elizabeth I that my teacher doesn’t want me to know?

Here are three weird things. Get ready to blow your teachers mind during your next lesson!

Rotten Toothy Pegs

When people talk about the Elizabethan Age being a "Golden Age", they are definitely not referring to anyone’s teeth. As they didn’t gleam like gold, no, they looked more like lumps of coal. That’s because dental hygiene wasn’t much of a thing during the Elizabeth Age. There were no toothbrushes, instead, people would scrub their teeth with bricks and stones. If that didn’t work – and let’s face it, why would it? – Elizabethans bathed their teeth in mouthwashes consisting of sugar and honey. Which, of course, just made their teeth worse. Queen Elizabeth was no exception. Her teeth were black and rotten too! I'd say that's why she isn't smiling in any of her portraits, but then, when do monarchs ever smile in their portraits?

Those Dutch Ambassadors are lucky not to be spat on!

Honestly, who throws a shoe?

Elizabeth had quite the temper. There are reports from the time that, when displeased, she would lob her shoe at the poor unsuspecting displeaser! Fortunately, Elizabethan shoes were soft like slippers, so it would have been unlikely to cause too much damage. Perhaps Elizabeth realised that, which is why she would also spit on the clothing of whoever had naffed her off. Spit from a mouth filled with rotten teeth? Bet that smelled nice… NOT!

Language Master!

Ok, we might have been a bit mean to Elizabeth with those last two weird things, so let's finish with a positive weird thing. Elizabeth I, as you’d expect from a queen, was one of the best-educated people in all of England. She could speak loads of languages; Latin, Greek, French, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish. Could you keep all those words in your brain? I know I couldn’t, I’d soon have words leaking out of my nose, ears, and inner elbows. What can I say? I have very sweaty elbow crevices.

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