Queen Bess: The Reign of Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth on her throne

Queen Elizabeth on her throne

On this day 457 years ago, Queen Mary I died and Elizabeth was now the head of the English, Welsh and Irish thrones; However, she did not officially ‘take over’ until January 15th 1559. She reigned for an impressive 44 years and her reign was interesting one.

We decided to look at her reign and a little poem came to mind…






An interesting one that Bess,
The virginal queen of years,
Her life was filled with intrigue,
Plots, death and troublesome fears.

She never married – the only queen
Not to take a spouse,
But think dear people would you trust Love,
If Henry VIII was the leader of your house.

She didn’t start life very well,
Despite being a bit of a smarty,
Just for not being a boy ,
Daddy Henry cancelled her birth party.

To really- SERIOUSLY -put the icing
on the family cake,
He sliced her mummy’s head off
For being a devious fake.

Even when dear daddy died,
Her life wasn’t exactly bliss,
Would you be happy in London Tower,
At the demand of your threatened sis?

Despite this beginning being
jammed pack with trouble and strife,
She ended up being queen of England
For 44 years of her life.

The last Tudor on the throne
And England saw a golden age,
Of travel, theatre and Drake,
Even seeing Philip of Spain in a rage.

Unfortunately, his revenge backfired;
His Armada had a terrible defeat,
More due to the stormy weather,
Than Francis and his English fleet.

With skills in lots of languages,
To all she could converse.
Her true language was rather blue
and contained many a wonderful curse.

When Mary Queen of Scots arrived,
She caused rather a traitorous buzz,
But Bess did not despair,
Of this Catholic troublesome Cuz.

‘Poor’ Mary was shoved
towards a prison cell in a trice,
until she went too far and Lizzie said:
‘her head is for the slice’.

But Mary had the last laugh,
Which was quite a funny thing;
As Lizzie never found a mate,
 Mary’s son became England’s new king.

A Catholic and a Scottish man,
the Tudor’s reign had had its run,
James I was king and heir,
The Stuart Age had begun.


How to Remember

Remembrance Poppies at Sandown

Remembrance Poppies at Sandown

Whilst we do not want to upset children, it is so important for today’s carefree and instantly-gratified children to have a concept of the hardships of war. Books and poems can be a fantastic way to achieve this (along with film and T.V. versions of the books.) Although they have great grandparents who tell them about life in the war, are taught about it at school and know it was actually not that long ago, the concept of what life was like is not always appreciated.

Here are some ideas for you.Most of these ideas suit older children (7+) but you can adapt and add to the list:

Watch or read Goodnight Mr Tom; find out what the poppy and the colours represent; watch some of the parades and minute silences; take your child/children/class to see a village or town memorial, looking at some of the names – who could those people be?; create a World War II meal based on some of the recipes used (BEWARE – some do not taste good!); Watch Warhorse; visit any local museum exhibitions on the World Wars; if you are near London, go to the Imperial War Museum and Whitechapel; look up some World War poetry; read: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Shirley Hughes; look at the BBC Schools Page for lots of videos and information on both World War I and II; watch or read Horrible Histories Frightful First World War and Woeful Second World War.

The list could go on and on but I did say ‘some ideas’  not a million and you can contact us on info@excitingeducation.co.uk with any ways you have shared the event.

Lesser known facts about Bonfire Night…

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

Remember, remember the 5th of November.


We all know it is about a plot to kill the king and it was something about a guy named Guy Fawkes. But do you know the rest about the history of Bonfire Night? Let’s see…

*  In celebration of the fact that he had not been blown to smithereens, King James I allowed people to light bonfires around London (so long as they behaved themselves, which many of them didn’t!)

*  In 1606, parliament decided to make these celebrations a compulsory event with the Observance of 5th November Act which enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. They allowed a little creative licence to people and said they could celebrate as they wanted 

* To the people of England the 5th November became known as: Gunpowder Treason Day and it became a rather raucous affair, with people enjoying the freedom to burn effigies of popular hate-figures.

*  Towards the end of the 18th century the kids tried to get in on the action with some entrepreneurial ideas: children started begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes and 5 November gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Day.

* The naughtiness was not limited to the 5th November with the 4th being know as  ‘Mischief Night’. It is claimed that people conducted April Fool’s Day style pranks on people such as putting treacle on door handles (watch your garden gnomes Grandma!)

* In addition to mischievous acts, people took the ‘fired-up theme’ too literally on the day and many towns in the 19th century were the host to long-standing class confrontations. These violent events led to  the Observance of 5th November Act being repealed in 1859 as government felt the situation had got out of control.


In today’s civilised society, we celebrate with a hotdog; ooing and ahing from behind a risk assessed distance safety rope.  It still remains an important event over 400 years later and children all around the country are reciting the poem: Remember, remember the 5th of November…