Elizabeth R

by Andrea Elizabeth

Elizabeth R (1971) on Netflix streaming is a surprisingly good and captivating 6 episode miniseries. I agree with this reviewer, though I’ll take her word for how historically accurate it is, that the costumes themselves are reason enough to watch all 9 plus hours.

I’m divided as to whether so much time should have been spent on courtly love. It probably accurately reflected its emphasis in the period, however.

What I appreciated most was the handling of the religious climate. Elizabeth 1 solidified Protestantism in the land. I hadn’t studied how much the campaigns of the time were about which Church would control western Europe. Since Protestantism won, what are we to conclude? I get ahead of myself. What did Protestantism have to do with the success of Elizabeth? My tendency is to say that in her case, the best “man” won. She was smarter and more savvy than her counterparts. She didn’t take her religious superiority for granted as much as Mary 1, Mary Queen of Scott’s, or Phillip II of Spain did, which to me doesn’t speak to the merits of their confessions, but of their personal characters, educations, backgrounds and talents. Now, did God ordain Elizabeth to be superior in these ways? That’s the tough question. If so, was it because of the defects of Catholicism? Since I am neither Protestant nor Catholic, but Eastern Orthodox, I don’t have to choose between the two. I can speculate that He let the Protestants ascend to stop a tyrant. Since my background is Protestant, I can also believe that the Protestant values of individual critical thought have influenced westerners to be able to think in terms of an alternative to Roman Catholicism. That protesting the Catholic Church is a necessary step. But only as a step towards Orthodox Christianity. So was it necessary to go through the last 400 years to get to Orthodoxy in the west? Surely not is my impression. But maybe so. It took 3758 years to make Christ, not to mention Mary, after all.

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