Was Elizabeth I A Man?
According to THE SECRETS OF THE VIRGIN QUEEN, Elizabeth (then a princess) had died aged 10 while staying at Berkeley Castle, in Gloucestershire (the same castle where Edward II was murdered). Her minders, terrified of the retribution of her father, Henry VIII, made a substitution. A lookalike boy from the nearby village of Bisley was put in her place and sworn to secrecy. This legend 'explained' why Elizabeth never married or had children. In fact, the tale was apparently invented as a joke by a local clergyman in the 19th century. Bram Stoker picked it up and wrote about the story in his book about Famous Imposters.
The show contained interviews with the residents of Bisley who apparently do consider the idea that Elizabeth I was actually a dude. One more cynical resident admitted that it was good for tourism. They tried to pass it off by suggesting that she wore all those ruffs to hide her Adam's Apple, and that the white make-up she wore was to cover up her stubble. The one valid point that was brought up was the fact that Elizabeth I didn't want an autopsy of her body after her death. Although that could have been because she didn't want anyone cutting her up, or she wanted to conceal the fact that she wasn't actually a virgin, which is more likely.
This is my question, given the fact that Elizabeth spent her life surrounded by women who dressed her and undressed her everday, and the doctors who examined during her lifetime, how could she conceal that she was a man? I think people would have noticed that she had a penis! Especially since she did apparently get her period, if not regularly, then often enough. Plus even though Henry might have been a neglectful father, I think he would have noticed that his daughter now had an Adam's apple!
Has anyone ever heard this story before?
Thanks for sharing this.
There were contemporary stories that Elizabeth was somehow "not normal" physically, which has led to serious speculation that she might have been a hermaphrodite! Of course, that can't be proved or disproved now.
Undine, they talked about whether or not she might have been a hermaphrodite in the program.
Socialitedreams, I have never heard that Elizabeth wrote Shakespeare's plays before. LOL! When would she have found the time?
Lisa, I actually enjoyed the program on Henry VIII and Edward, the Nazi King more than the program on Elizabeth but I'm glad that I watched it. It was a great evening of TV for history buffs.
I've never heard this before and think it's a load of bull, but kind of funny.
And yes, in the play The Bard of Avon I recall that there was some theorizing by scholars that Elizabeth wrote a few of Will's works, which I also this is just plain funny. :)
Thanks, as always, for the great posts!
Also in terms of her also being Shakespeare, I kind of like that idea. Elizbeth I: Ruler by Day, Playwright by Night. I suppose she must have left those manuscripts that were performed after her death somewhere. It would sort of explain Pericles and Cymbeline.
Actually no, I've never heard this and I've been a EI fanatic since the 70's. Interesting, if completely implausible.
i could certainly believe she had an eating disorder, and psychological reasonings behind her desire to never marry.
what i can not believe is that she was, in fact, a man. ridiculous.