The talent which flourished in the Elizabethan period in the arts, and the exploits of Elizabethan seamen in circumnavigating the globe and exploring new trade routes meant that even at the time Elizabethans felt they were living in an extraordinary period. Queen Elizabeth I was the longest lived monarch since Edward III and her influence over the English Renaissance derives partly from her patronage of the arts and explorers. Her carefully cultivated image as the Virgin Queen also contributed to the emerging sense of English identity.
Queen Elizabeth, always astute with money, was not a lavish patron of the arts. However, she was highly educated and had a real enjoyment of all the contemporary forms of literature, art and music. Simply by ensuring that the London theatres remained open she provided a platform for one of the greatest playwrights of all time — William Shakespeare — to develop his genius.
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