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The Speech to the troops at Tilbury was deliered i! "#$$ by %uee! Eli&abeth I
o' E!(la!d a!d is a political speech to the la!d 'orces earlier asse)bled at
Tilbury i! preparatio! o' repelli!( the e*pected i!asio! by the Spa!ish
Ar)ada+ Eli&abeth I was ,uee! re(!a!t o' E!(la!d a!d ,uee! re(!a!t o'
Irela!d 'ro) -oe)ber "##$ .at the a(e o' /#0 u!til her death+ She was the 'i'th
a!d last )o!arch o' the Tudor dy!asty+ She was bor! a pri!cess but her )other
was e*ecuted two a!d a hal' years a'ter her birth1 a!d she succeeded the
Catholic 2ary I i! "#$$+
Eli&abeth3s early li'e was co!se,ue!tly troubled+ Her )other 'ailed to proide
the 4i!( with a so! a!d was e*ecuted o! 'alse char(es o' i!cest a!d adultery+
A!!e3s )arria(e to the 4i!( was declared !ull a!d oid1 a!d Eli&abeth1 li5e her
hal'6sister 2ary1 was declared ille(iti)ate a!d depried o' her place i! the li!e
o' successio!+ 7espite bei!( o''icially ille(iti)ate1 her 'ather had rei!stated his
dau(hters i! the li!e o' successio!+ 8he! he died1 his you!( so! beca)e 4i!(
Edward 9I1 2ary was to 'ollow Edward1 a!d Eli&abeth was to 'ollow 2ary+ Her
brother was too you!( to rule hi)sel' as he was o!ly !i!e years old1 but 'or
Eli&abeth1 her )ai! proble) was 2ary I1 %uee! o' Scots+ Edward had died i!
the su))er o' "##: 'ro) prolo!(ed ill health1 a!d 2ary was !ow %uee! 2ary I
o' E!(la!d+ Catholics co!sidered 2ary as the ri(ht'ul %uee! o' E!(la!d1 a!d
they persuaded 2ary that Eli&abeth )ay hae bee! co!spiri!( to sei&e the
thro!e1 so Eli&abeth was ;ailed i! the Tower o' Lo!do!+ 2ary hae li5ed
Eli&abeth to hae bee! e*ecuted1 but there was !o eide!ce a(ai!st her a!d
she was popular with the people+ A'ter the years i! priso!1 Eli&abeth discoered
a plot to assassi!ate her1 so due to this1 Eli&abeth ordered the beheadi!( o'
2ary i! "#$<+ The death o' 2ary was the per'ect e*cuse 'or Philip II o' Spai!
.catholic as 2ary0 to declare the war to E!(la!d+ It is i)porta!t to say that
Spai! had bee! su''eri!( the attac5s o' E!(lish pirates duri!( seeral years+ I!
additio!1 Eli&abeth1 who sou(ht to ada!ce the cause o' Protesta!tis) where
possible1 supported the 7utch Reolt a(ai!st Spai!+ Thus1 Philip pla!!ed a!
e*peditio! to i!ade a!d co!,uer E!(la!d1 supported by Pope Si*tus 91 who
treated the i!asio! as a crusade1 with the pro)ise o' 'urther subsidy should the
Ar)ada )a5e la!d+ This (reat 'leet would be 5!ow! as the Spa!ish Ar)ada+
O!e o' her 'irst )oes as ,uee! was to support the establish)e!t o' a! E!(lish
Protesta!t church1 o' which she beca)e the Supre)e =oer!or+ It was
e*pected that Eli&abeth would )arry but despite seeral petitio!s1 she !eer
did+ I! (oer!)e!t1 Eli&abeth was )ore )oderate tha! her 'ather a!d her
strate(y o'te! saed her 'ro) political )isallia!ces+ The de'eat o' the Spa!ish
Ar)ada associated her !a)e 'oreer with what is popularly iewed as o!e o'
the (reatest ictories i! E!(lish history+ Her >> years o! the thro!e proided
welco)e stability 'or the 5i!(do) a!d helped 'or(e a se!se o' !atio!al ide!tity+
She is still o!e o' the )ost loed )o!archs a!d o!e o' the )ost ad)ired rulers
o' all ti)e+
%uee! Eli&abeth we!t to Tilbury to e!coura(e her 'orces1 a!d the !e*t day (ae
to the) what is probably her )ost 'a)ous speech?
"My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take
heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but, I do assure you, I
do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so
behaved myself, that under God I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal
hearts and goodwill of my subects; and, therefore, I am come amongst you as you see at this
time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of battle, to live
or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdoms, and for my people, my
honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but
I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a !ing of "ngland too, and think foul scorn that
#arma or $pain, or any prince of "urope, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to
which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be
your general, udge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for
your forwardness, you have deserved rewards and crowns, and, we do assure you in the word
of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my
stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subect; not doubting but
by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we
shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my

I! the si*tee!th ce!tury1 E!(la!d e*perie!ced a cultural e''loresce!ce a!d
ac,uired a clear )oder! !atio!al ide!tity+ Part o' that ide!tity was 'or)ed i!
co!'lict with Spai!+ A de'i!i!( )o)e!t occurred with the attac5 o' the Spa!ish
Ar)ada i! "#$$+ The E!(la!d o' Eli&abeth was a ery structured place a!d had
a rather co)plicated syste) o' (oer!)e!t+ To e!sure that the %uee!3s laws
were bei!( obeyed1 there were royal represe!taties eerywhere+ The )ost
i)porta!t o' these were The @ustices o' the Peace1 the Sheri''s1 a!d later the
Lord Lieute!a!ts+ I! Tudor a!d Elisabeth ti)es the !obility was a (reat
i!'lue!ce a!d it was co!sidered to be i! a positio! o' respo!sibility1 to aid the
)o!arch i! (oer!i!( the la!ds oer which she presided+
The de'eat o' the Spa!ish Ar)ada is o!e o' the )ost 'a)ous ee!ts i! E!(lish
history+ Spai! was the )ost power'ul cou!try i! the world+ Philip II ruled ast
territories o' la!d+ E!(la!d was a s)all cou!try1 with little wealth1 'ew 'rie!ds1
a!d )a!y e!e)ies+ Althou(h relatio!s betwee! Spai! a!d E!(la!d had be(a!
rather well1 oer the :A years si!ce the %uee!3s accessio!1 relatio!s had
deteriorated+ There were )a!y reaso!s 'or this+ To be(i! with1 E!(la!d was a
Protesta!t cou!try1 a!d Spai! was a Ro)a! Catholic o!e+ The Spa!ish )ade
!o secret o' their hostility to the E!(lish %uee!1 who they belieed was
ille(iti)ate a!d had !o ri(ht to the E!(lish thro!e+ Eli&abeth hersel' had
e!coura(ed the actiities o' the E!(lish pirates1 who plu!dered Philip3s ships as
they )ade their way 'ro) the -ew 8orld+
At "#$#1 Philip had be(u! to prepare a (reat 'leet that would i!ade E!(la!d+ At
'irst the ai) o' the Ar)ada was to liberate the captie %uee! o' Scots1 but whe!
2ary was e*ecuted 'or co!spiri!( Eli&abeth3s death1 Philip pla!!ed to i!ade
E!(la!d i! the !a)e o' his dau(hter1 the I!'a!ta Isabella+ The purpose o' the
)issio! was to depose Eli&abeth1 put 2ary or Isabella! o! the thro!e1 a!d
)a5e E!(la!d Ro)a! Catholic o!ce a(ai!+ Howeer1 'ro) the start1 the
Spa!ish had proble)s+ %uee! Eli&abeth had heard )utteri!(s o' the i!te!ded
i!asio! o' E!(la!d by Spai! 'or so)e ti)e+
She was !ot1 howeer1 at 'irst co!cer!ed about the ru)ours+ But i! those days1
the Spa!ish were really (oi!( to se!d a 'leet a(ai!st E!(la!d1 a!d the %uee!
!ow e)ployed all her e''orts to e!sure that whe! the Spa!ish 'leet ca)e1
E!(la!d would be prepared+
7espite !u)erous setbac5s the Spa!ish had receied1 they were deter)i!ed to
set a 'leet a(ai!st E!(la!d1 a!d i! 2ay "#$$ at last the (reat 'leet set out+ The
pla!s o' the Spa!ish were )eticulous+ It was pla!!ed that the Spa!ish 'leet1
co!sisti!( o' oer "AA ships1 would sail up 'ro) Spai! alo!( the E!(lish
Cha!!el a!d )eet with the 'orces o' the 7u5e the Par)a1 Philips3s !ephew1
)a5i!( their way 'ro) the -etherla!ds1 To(ether they would sails towards
E!(la!d+ The E!(lish would be co!,uered1 a!d the heretical %uee! would be
But the E!(lish were waiti!(+ O! the cli''s o' E!(la!d a!d 8ales1 )e! watched
the seas day a!d !i(ht1 waiti!( 'or the 'irst si(hti!( o' the (reat Ar)ada+ 8he!
at last1 the ships appeared o! the hori&o!1 the )essa(e was se!t oer the cli''s
a!d throu(hout the cou!try1 that the Spa!ish were co)i!(+ Lo!do! a!d %uee!
5!ew that the day had co)e+ As soo! as the ships be(a! to )a5e their way up
the cha!!el1 the 'i(hti!( be(a!+ 8hile E!(lish soldiers a!d sailors 'ou(ht 'or
E!(la!d3s liberty1 %uee! Eli&abeth )ade her way to Tilbury+ She was !o (oi!(
to sit tre)bli!( i!side a (uarded Palace while her people 'ou(ht1 but was (oi!(
to (o to the coast o' the battle a!d Blie or dieC with the)+ Li5e a true warrior
%uee!1 Elisabeth1 upo! a white horse1 i!spected her soldiers1 a!d )ade what
was possibly her )ost 'a)ous speech o' all? BSpeech to the troops at TilburyC+
7uri!( the !i!e6day battle1 the s)aller1 E!(lish ships )et the Spa!ish Ar)ada
a!d i!'licted terrible losses+ The Spa!ish ships that escaped the E!(lish ra! i!to
bad weather a!d o!ly a 'ew retur!ed to Spai!+ Dollowi!( the de'eat o' the
Spa!ish Ar)ada1 E!(la!d beca)e the do)i!a!t world power a!d re)ai!ed so
'or ce!turies+
There o'te! co)es a poi!t i! the history o' a !atio! whe! its people )ust sta!d
a!d 'i(ht or be a!,uished at the ha!ds o' their e!e)ies+ I! such cases whe!
battles draw !ear1 it is 're,ue!tly !ecessary 'or (reat leaders to rise up a!d
co)pel their 'ollowers to stay stro!( i! the 'ace o' adersity+ Awaiti!( a Spa!ish
i!asio!1 i! "#$$ %uee! Eli&abeth I atte)pted to rally her troops asse)bled at
Tilbury+ To rouse their e)otio!s a!d stir the) to 'i(ht1 the ,uee! appealed to
her troopsE se!se o' ho!or1 duty1 a!d patriotis)+ I! order to (ai! the trust o' her
sub;ects a!d proe the stre!(th o' her resole1 %uee! Eli&abeth I uses
power'ully iid la!(ua(e a!d a )yriad o' stylistic+ 8e a!alyse the speech li5e a
political te*t which co!tai!s speci'ic words that appear oerall i! a political
armed multitudes
loyal hearts
honour & dishonour
king & kingdom
lieutenant general
The use o' la!(ua(e a!d the co!;uri!( up o' i)a(es de)o!strates her purpose
o' boosti!( )orale a!d showi!( her ow! will to perseere+ Althou(h %uee!
Eli&abeth IEs outward appeara!ce is perceied as Fwea5 a!d 'eeble1F she )ore
tha! )a5es up 'or her lac5 o' physical )i(ht by hai!( a Fheart o' a 5i!(1F which
e''ectiely shows her willi!(!ess to lead her troops to ictory+ 8hile it is a 5i!(
who is )ore o'te! associated with the ability to 'i(ht1 %uee! Eli&abeth I
i!ti)ates to her audie!ce that her passio! 'or her cou!try surpasses a!y
de'icie!cy that )ay co)e with bei!( a wo)a!+
I! the speech Eli&abeth I hit head6o! the alle(atio! that a 'e)ale )o!arch was
less suited to lead a !atio! i! warti)e tha! a )ale+ As a result1 the speech is
best 5!ow! 'or its li!e FI hae the body but o' a wea5 a!d 'eeble wo)a!G but I
hae the heart a!d sto)ach o' a 5i!(+
%uee! Eli&abeth I o' E!(la!d (ae a speech to her troops i! which she uses
dictio!1 co)pariso! o' her 'e)i!is) a!d se!te!ce structure to co!i!ce her
troops to co!'ide i! her ee! thou(h she is a 'e)ale+ %uee! Eli&abeth I tries to
(ai! the assista!ce o' her troops+ I' !ecessary she is ready to die 'or Bher
people1 her ho!our1 a!d her blood+F The usa(e o' parallel structure stre!(the!s
the idea o' bei!( a stro!( leader+ She 'urther rei!'orces her leadership ,ualities
by sayi!( FI )ysel' will be your (e!eral1 ;ud(e1 a!d rewarder+F The additio! o'
a!other parallel se!te!ce helps her reerberate the )essa(e that she is
capable o' leadi!( the ar)y i! a war+ She is also resou!di!( her co!'ide!ce !ot
o!ly i! hersel' but also i! her troops+ %uee! Eli&abeth persuades her troops to
co!'ide i! her ability as their leader throu(h se!te!ce structure+
'his famous speech was given by (ritish monarch "li)abeth I in *+,, as
"ngland prepared for an invasion by !ing #hilip of $pain and his powerful
-rmada. .ictory for the "nglish was in no way certain, but the e/pected
invasion was averted when an une/pected and powerful wind blew the -rmada
away from the "nglish shores.

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