50 minutes
June 2003
R0 (PAL), SD mp4


The only child of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was born on September 7 1533 in Greenwich Palace. From her accession in 1558 to her death in 1603, she was a great, beloved, feared, complex, contradictory ruler, and for many ever since she has remained England’s most fascinating monarch. Four hundred years on, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich stages the most extensive exhibition ever of Elizabeth’s personal items, portraits from her reign, and a wealth of other objects related to her life and times.

Illustrated with many of the exhibition’s key exhibits, this film explores Elizabeth’s life and characters, the England she governed and the court in which she lived. The curators of the show celebrate Elizabeth’s achievements and consider the many threats to her rule, including Mary, Queen of Scots and the Spanish Armada. They also consider the adventures of Elizabeth’s seafarers, such as Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher, and the importance of trade and exploration to Tudor England and to the later British Empire.

Elizabeth is an Illuminations production in association with the National Maritime Museum.


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