Japanese tissue embroidered with a quote attributed to Queen Elizabeth I
“I do not want a husband who honours me as a queen if he does not love me as a woman”
(to the French Ambassador, Fenelon who urged her to marry into the French Royal family) from ‘The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth I’ by Frederick Chamberlin 1923 ch 7
Shortly after her coronation Queen Elizabeth I shocked the nation, stating that she intended to remain a virgin.
She did so despite many negotiations with other countries for a match. A marriage into royalty from another country was expected but also fraught with potential problems for a female monarch. Would a foreign husband usurp the powers of the Queen of England?
Marriage was inevitably for the purpose of producing an heir. However, Queen Elizabeth understood fully the risks of pregnancy and motherhood. She had seen two of her stepmothers, Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr die from puerperal fever.
She was fiercely protective of her beloved country and perhaps considered the risks of marriage and motherhood too great.