Queen Elizabeth's Speech at Tilbury Summary

Queen Elizabeth's Speech at Tilbury Summary

Elizabeth's love for her people and her desire for them to see her as their leader is really the content of the first part of the speech. Elizabeth explains that the prevailing opinion amongst her parliament is that engaging in war with the Spanish is also the opening of a door to traitors in their midst as concentrating so heavily on one battle and enemy will divert troops and attention from the internal enemy, but the Queen does not want to see treachery around every corner. She has faith in her subjects and particularly on her army, believing them to be loyal and trustworthy, and because of this has come to address them personally, not by decree or speech delivered by anyone else. She is one with her army and asks of them only what she asks of herself, which is devotion to God and country.

Although she is a female and not seen to have the strength and fortitude of a man, she assures her troops that she has the courage of a King and this courage is doubled because an English monarch has more heart than a ruler presiding over another nation. She is as indignant at the prospect of a European invasion as any male monarch would be and condemns this invasion believing it is the very fact that she is a woman that has emboldened these foreign invaders. Rather than allow an invasion to succeed she will take to the battleground herself, preferring to die in the glory of defending her realm than to be captured. Troops that valiantly fight alongside her will be rewarded.

The Queen is aware that she has asked a great deal of her troops already; these are tumultuous times with internal and external instability and troops have been over-worked and sacrificed a great deal. Whilst they are at war, her Lieutenant General will act in her place and his commands will be hers. He is a worthy general and she believes and expects they will obey his orders knowing that they come directly from her. If they follow his commands and fight as valiantly as they have shown themselves able, victory over their enemies is guaranteed.

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