Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (1/7)

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Possibly one of the most famous female monarchs in the history of the world, Elizabeth I ascended to the throne on 17th November, 1558. She has been argued by historians to have been among the best, if not the best monarchs the country ever had. Despite her relatively low standing at the time of birth (she was the youngest of three women in line for the throne), she exceeded the expectations of her entire court when she emerged as a powerful ruler. During her reign alone, Elizabeth consolidated the Protestant hold over England, which her half-sister Mary had previously tried to reverse, and fended off the mighty armada of the Kingdom of Spain. In her inspiring speech at Tilbury in preparation for the battle against the Spanish Armada, she famously declared, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too!” She defied the expectations of a highly misogynistic England, proving that a woman could rule as well as any man.

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Death and legacy (7/7)

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) (2/7)