Elizabeth I: Cult of the leader

In 1558, Elizabeth inherited a demoralised nation riven by religious differences (think rival board factions).

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

In 1558, Elizabeth inherited a demoralised nation riven by religious differences (think rival board factions). Having endured the reigns of the tyrannical Henry VIII and conniving Mary Tudor, the English were desperate for direction. Elizabeth sought to keep the peace by convincing her mistrustful subjects that she truly loved them - people clearly were her greatest asset. Only loyalty to her, she said, would lead England to prosperity.

A master propagandist, she conducted walkabouts and displayed concern for her subjects - a real 16th-century Queen of Hearts. Her weepy performance when presented with an English bible by a Londoner has not been rivalled by royalty since - even Diana. But, crucially, she walked the walk. Addressing her troops facing the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth said: 'I come amongst you as you see at this time, not for my recreation and sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heart of the battle, to live or die amongst you all.'

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