When young Elizabeth I picked 15 January 1559 as her coronation date, she did so on the advice of an astrologer, who claimed it would ensure a long reign. Long indeed: Her reign lasted 45 years, ending at her death, 407 years ago on 24 March.
About a month before her death, her rheumatism had been acting up in a big way. Her last public appearance came at this time. After that, it was all downhill. Her BFF, the Countess of Nottingham, died and Liz was grieving her terribly. Then the poor queen’s joints were so swollen from rheumatism that her coronation ring had to be sawed off her finger. To her, this symbolized the end of her reign.
By March, she had a fever and ulcers swelled in her throat which eventually segued into pneumonia or bronchitis. On top of everything, she was extremely depressed and simply could not sleep. And one week before her death, she was emaciated and often silent.
T-minus-24-hours or so, the childless queen mimed a crown above her head with her fingers, letting her advisors know she wanted to be succeeded by James VI of Scotland. He was Mary Queen of Scots’ son and had been the king in Scotland already for 36 years. Talk about tenure!
Anyway, Liz knew her time was just around the corner so she asked for the Archbishop to pray at her bedside on that rainy night. Surely, she was comforted at his confidence that, “though she had been long a great queen here on earth,” she’d “soon yield an account of her stewardship to the King of Kings.” She died just before 3:00 a.m. the following morning, ending an era of tremendous drama and accomplishment, the Golden Age of England.