The Virgin Queen (2005– )
[Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant, displays a far more tolerant attitude to Catholics than Queen Mary, her Catholic sister, did towards Protestants]
Queen Elizabeth I: As for religion... Henceforce, all services will be conducted, not in Latin, but English, starting with my Coronation. How can my people understand the power of prayer unless they first understand its meaning? If they are to accept the Protestant faith, it must be through persuasion, not purges. Let the Catholics keep their crucifixes and robes, if they wish. There is but one Jesus Christ. The rest is trifles.
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: If I am exiled they will see it as proof of my guilt, I'm done for!
[Elizabeth is unmoved]
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: All these months you kept me close you were using me. Playing with me for your own callous ends as you do all men! So long as I was married you were safe, and now I am free you spurn me! If I leave I won't return, Bess. It will be the last time you ever see me.
Queen Elizabeth I: [He turns to leave] I will have but one mistress here, and no master! Do you hear me? I will have no man rule over me!
[rallying her troops to fight the Spanish]
Queen Elizabeth I: I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a king - and a king of England, too. And I think foul scorn that Spain or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm. To which, rather than face that dishonour, I will myself take up arms beside you. I will be your general and your rewarder for your virtues in the field. We know that you already deserve rewards and crowns, and we do assure you in the word of a prince, this shall be paid to you. And take heed too of my Lieutenant General. For no prince ever commanded a more worthy or noble subject as he. By your obedience to him, by your valour in battle, we shall yet win a famous victory over these enemies of God. Of my kingdom. And of my people.
[her troops cheer uproariously]
[just before her death, reflecting on her reign]
Queen Elizabeth I: To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them who see it than pleasant to them who bear it. For myself, I was never so much enticed by it as humbled that God chose me as His instrument to defend my kingdom from peril, dishonour, tyranny and oppression. There will never be a queen with more zeal and devotion for her country and her subjects, but it is my desire now to reign no longer than for your good.
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: Hadn't you as a child vowed never to take a husband? Dear God, after what happened to your mother, who can blame you? Would you forego a chance at motherhood, Bess, for the sake of a childish vow?
Queen Elizabeth I: It's not only men who can be corrupted by power. An heir can be as much a threat as a comfort in that.
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: But the love of a man is hardly that of a child.
Queen Elizabeth I: It can be as fickle.
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: As can a woman's.
Queen Elizabeth I: But a woman ruler is not as other women, is she? Like the coin that bears her image there are two sides to her. On the one, she embodies the feminine frailty of her sex, and on the other she is the body politic ordained by God.
Robert Dudley - Earl of Leicester: Well, then, it is to the frail and feminine one I must appeal.