Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

The scene on the Plymouth Hoe when captains play bowls as the Spanish Armada comes into view by John Seymour Lucas (1880) (Public Domain)

The Protestant Wind That Scattered The Spanish Armada 1588

There had never been such good blood between Spain and England as in the mid-16th century. However, in the last quarter of this century relations between Philip II of Spain (also known as 'Philip the Prudent') and Elizabeth I (also known as 'The Virgin Queen') were very tense at that time, and they deteriorated from 1585 onwards. History teaches that in addition to places, dates, winners and losers, there is another important variant to observe, perhaps of even greater importance: the whys.

The Protestant Wind That Scattered The Spanish Armada 1588 The Protestant Wind That Scattered The Spanish Armada 1588

Philip II of Spain by Joos van Cleve (c. 1580) National Portrait Gallery, London (Public Domain) and Queen Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (c. 1597), Trinity College, Cambridge (Public Domain)

British Brides for Spain’s Philip II

Many years earlier, in the early 1530s, during the reign of Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, the Protestant Church of England had split from the Pope and from the Roman Catholic Church altogether. Henry's eldest daughter, Mary, succeeded to the throne. Mary attempted to restore Catholicism in England, and did so by marrying King Philip II of Spain. Mary was born of the union between Henry and his first wife, Spanish Catherine of Aragon. When Philip united with Mary, he hoped for an heir who would bring England back into the fold of Catholicism. But the English Parliament played along, approving the marriage only on the condition that Philip would be Mary's consort and that he was expressly forbidden to rule the country and become its king.

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