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What kind of king was Charles I?

Case study 1: Monarchs before Charles I - Source 1

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The second Great Seal of Elizabeth I

(Catalogue ref: SC 13/N3)

SC 13/N3; second Great Seal of Elizabeth1
SC 13/N3; second Great Seal of Elizabeth1
 
SC 13/N3; second Great Seal of Elizabeth1
 

What is this source?

This is the Great Seal of Elizabeth I. The main job of a seal was to seal up a document. The queen rolled or folded the document, poured hot wax on the join and then pushed this seal into the hot wax.

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What's the background to this source?

Elizabeth had a reputation as an outstanding ruler. This was partly because she was very good at propaganda (promoting her own viewpoint and reputation). However, she could also point to many real achievements.

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It's worth knowing that...

The other job of the seal was to send very strong messages to people about the ruler. It was packed full of symbols.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What do you think the rays of light shining down on Elizabeth were meant to show?
  2. What other features can you find in this seal and what messages do you think they were meant to send?
  3. Looking at the seal, which of the following words best describe the image of Elizabeth:
    a) Powerful
    b) Wise
    c) Foolish
    d) Weak
    e) Magnificent
    f) Strong
    g) Cruel
    h) Fair
    i) Caring
  4. Why do you think Elizabeth had the symbols for England, France and Ireland on her seal?
  5. Do you think there is a connection between images of the queen like this and Elizabeth’s reputation as a great ruler?