The line of the Tudor family came to an end when on 24 March 1603, Henry VIII’s last surviving child, Elizabeth I, died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty nine. Unmarried and childless, the throne passed on to her only surviving relative, her cousin James VI of Scotland, and the Stuart Dynasty began in England.
Elizabeth was the only living child of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, named after the king’s mother, who died 100 years before her granddaughter due to childbirth complications. Elizabeth was a bright child who succeeded to the throne of England after the deaths of both her half-brother Edward VI and her half-sister Mary I and she would rule for over four decades. During that time, which is referred to as England’s Golden Age, she shattered the belief that a woman could not become sole sovereign of a country. She brought prosperity to England, giving rise to an era of legendary poets and playwrights that included William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe as well as a time of discovery and colonization in the New World when Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh began their exploration careers. Upon her death, Elizabeth was buried in Westminster Abbey in a joint tomb with Mary I. The epitaph reads “Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection.”