Elizabeth I and Foreign Policy (Lancaster Pamphlets) by Susan Doran

By Susan Doran

At her accession in 1558 Elizabeth I inherited a difficult legacy with a protracted heritage of wars opposed to France and Scotland. This overseas state of affairs used to be turning into an important monetary burden at the English crown and economy.
Elizabeth I and international Policy describes and assesses England's overseas coverage in the course of the moment half the 16th century. It comprises assurance of Elizabeth's relatives with international powers, the impression of Reformation on international affairs, Elizabeth's successs as a stateswoman and the conflict with Spain.

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Early indications suggested to English observers that the French were bent on pushing for Mary’s claim to be queen instead of Elizabeth. Henry II refused to restore Calais to Elizabeth at Cateau-Cambrésis on the grounds that she did not have a title to England let alone the French possession. Furthermore, soon after Elizabeth’s accession, Mary came to adopt the English royal style in her title and bear the arms of England in her heraldic quartering. In fact, Henry II did not mean to pursue Mary’s claim immediately, but just wanted to keep it as a possible lever to use against Elizabeth in the future.

The Anglo-Scottish collaboration, constructed so carefully by Cecil in 1560, was therefore in tatters five years later, and England was once again at loggerheads with the monarch of the northern realm (Dawson 1986). None the less, Elizabeth was furious to learn of Mary’s deposition in 1567. In the summer of that year Mary lost control of Scotland after a rebellion of her lords, and was formally deposed in favour of her baby son, James VI. In May 1568 she fled across the border, and was detained in Carlisle before being moved to Bolton Castle.

Although the summer riots of 1566 had little adverse effect on the woollen cloth trade, members of the English business community anticipated further unrest, which would disrupt the traffic of goods. Sir Thomas Gresham, the government’s financial agent in Antwerp, was so apprehensive about the political and economic future that he advised Cecil ‘to consider some other realme and place’ for selling English goods (Doran 1999: 107). Initially, the restoration of Spanish authority failed to improve the situation, since it was accompanied by a flight from Antwerp of native businessmen and artisans fearing prosecution.

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