Facts and Myths From the Life of Queen Elizabeth I
Facts and Myths From the Life of Queen Elizabeth I

Facts and Myths From the Life of Queen Elizabeth I

D.G. Hewitt - January 19, 2019

Facts and Myths From the Life of Queen Elizabeth I
When Elizabeth welcomed the Dutch ambassador, she spoke in his own language. Wikimedia Commons.

1. FACT: Elizabeth I was a genuine a polyglot, capable of speaking 10 languages like a native

Over the centuries, England has been ruled by monarchs of varying intelligence. But Elizabeth I was almost certainly one of the kingdom’s most intellectually-blessed rulers. She was well-read, especially for a woman in the 16th century. What’s more, her reputation as being an expert in languages is well-deserved. According to the records, Elizabeth was a true polyglot and her expertise in a number of different tongues helped her rule over a divided kingdom and negotiate directly with foreign allies and potential enemies.

As a young girl, Princess Elizabeth learned Welsh from her nanny and mistress. She was then taught French, Latin, Greek and Italian by her private tutor. Such an education would have been pretty standard for a girl of her social standing at the time. On top of this, however, Elizabeth could speak Spanish, Dutch, Scottish, Irish and even Cornish, bringing her total up to 10. Notably, foreigners commended the Queen for her linguistic skills. For instance, when Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, the Ambassador of Venice, visited England in 1603, he and the Queen conversed in Italian. He remarked “she possessed these languages so thoroughly that each appeared to be her native tongue.”

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Elizabeth I: Reputations and Reconfigurations.” History.ac.uk.

“Queen Elizabeth I, facts and myths.” Royal Museums Greenwich.

“Was Elizabeth I England’s cleverest monarch?” Almost History, November 2012.

“Was Queen Elizabeth I A Man?” History Answers UK.

“7 things you (probably) didn’t know about Elizabeth I).” History Extra.

“Elizabeth I’s love life: was she really a ‘Virgin Queen’?” History Extra.

“Did the Virgin Queen have a secret love child?” Daily Mail, June 2006.

“Elizabeth I: the monarch behind the mask.” History Extra.

“Queen Elizabeth’s Oak: A Tree of Legend.” Royal Museums of Greenwich.

Advertisement