Queen Elizabeth 1

Power & Government


Queen Elizabeth I in Parliament

Queen Elizabeth I in Parliament
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Like today, the Tudor Parliament consisted of the House of Lords (the Upper House) and the House of Commons (the Lower House). In the Lords sat the bishops and the aristocrats, and in the commons sat the common people. Although elections were held for the lower house, who was made a member of parliament depended very much on who was supported by important people in the locality, and elections were often rigged. Only those with a certain annual income could vote, and only men.

The main function of Parliament was to pass laws and grant the Queen money when she needed it. However, the Queen could make laws without Parliament's consent, in what were called ROYAL PROCLAMATIONS, if she wanted, and so if for some reason she and the Privy Council could not get Parliament to pass certain measures, they could resort to proclamations. Tudor monarchs tended only to summon Parliament for major governmental reforms or for money, and money was the main reason that Elizabeth summoned hers. Parliament did not have anywhere near as much power as it has today, and there was no Prime Minister or any political parties. It was up to the Queen when a Parliament was called, and over the course of her long reign, Parliament sat only a few times.


25 January - 8 May 1559
12 January - 10 April 1563
30 September 1566 - 2 January 1567
2 April - 29 May 1571
8 May - 30 June 1572
8 February - 15 March 1576
16 January - 18 March 1581
23 November 1584 - 23 March 1587
29 October 1586 - 23 March 1587
4 February - 29 March 1589
19 February - 10 April 1593
24 October 1597 - 9 February 1598
17 October - 19 December 1601


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English Heritage: Power & Politics
Article: Tudor Parliaments
Article: Tudor Privy Council
Article: Elizabethan Privy Council
Tudors Wiki: Privy Council
Wikipedia: Elizabethan Government

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