Elizabeth's Speech at Tilbury

Elizabeth’s Speech to the Troops at Tilbury

              With the sky still pitch black, we rose from our beds early on the ninth of August in preparation for Queen Elizabeth I. Her expected approach gained mixed responses from the Tilbury soldiers. While seeing a monarch first hand produced entertainment, we expected not a Queen appreciative of the perils of our impending battles. Daily, our camp’s morale sank lower as our troops feared doom from the approaching Spanish forces. Will our Queen, only a woman, help us in defeating such a huge obstacle? Will she exemplify the kingly qualities necessary in our drastic conflict? If she commands, will we accept her military leadership? If accepted, will her reign as a successful ruler influence our view of future monarchs?

                With the wisdom of a monarch, our Good Queen Bess knew her troops craved an infusion of courage in the fight to secure our island nation. That year, 1588, a great naval conflict long brewed between England and Spain over supremacy of the seas. King Philip of Spain, in an effort to gain control, waged war against our tiny island. The Spanish Armada, carrying 30,000 soldiers bore down upon us. Though fire-ships, sent by our navy, destroyed a major portion of the Armada, the threat continued. Would they strike again? Severely wounded, the Spanish still posed an insuperable threat to our nation’s security. King Philip continued to send threats of torture and death to all men, women, and children of England, striking fear into our hearts. England needed more than physical strength to prevent a possible invasion. Our Queen’s arrival needed to bring fortitude to a disparaged and depressed camp of soldiers.

Along with my fellow soldiers, I anxiously fell into rank in preparation for the arrival of our Queen Elizabeth. While the prospect of eyeing the monarch first-hand offered entertainment, hesitation built as the camp began to wonder if Her Majesty recognized the difficulties of...