History : Jul-Aug 2018
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 1 FROM THE EDITOR Amy Briggs, Executive Editor When studying history, historians look to the facts. Knowing names, dates, and places helps explain past events, but there is often another factor whose influence remains intangible: luck. Fate’s role in major events cannot be denied, and perhaps no ruler understood that more than Queen Elizabeth I. Chance decreed that Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, would not give birth to a son, which soured her young daughter’s luck. Elizabeth’s mother was executed, her half brother declared her a bastard, and her half sister threw her in prison. Elizabeth survived this series of unfortunate events to become queen, and England entered a golden age, one that included the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a victory often credited to Elizabeth’s good luck rather than her good strategy. Despite her successes, it seems that Elizabeth I never forgot how one’s luck could turn. Tradition says that the queen always wore a locket ring (above) until her death in 1603. On the outside was the letter E in diamonds. On the inside were two portraits—one of Elizabeth herself and the other of her mother, whose visage she kept close to her, perhaps to remind her of the broad consequences of a simple twist of fate.