Elizabeth I (also known as Elizabeth the Great, or the "Virgin Queen") was born in 1533 into a dangerous world of political intrigue. When she was only two years old, her father, King Henry VIII killed her mother, Ann Boleyn, because she had not yet produced a male heir. Henry's routine killing of her successive stepmothers every few years traumatized Elizabeth, who loved her father. Although Henry finally did father a son, Edward VI, the boy did not live long, dying at the age of sixteen after a six-year reign, and thus Elizabeth's older sister Mary I came to the throne in 1553. Meanwhile, the young Elizabeth showed exceptional intelligence, excelling at her studies well beyond any of the other royal children. A Catholic, Mary married the Hapsburg prince of Spain, the soon-to-be Philip II. Mary would come to be known as "Bloody Mary" for her harsh treatment of English
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