An 1832 engraving of Elizabeth I addressing her troops at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada approached. (Photo by Universal History Archive via Getty Images)

Things Worth Remembering: ‘The Body of a Woman and the Heart of a King’

Queen Elizabeth I had no children herself, but on the banks of the Thames, staring down the Spanish Armada in 1588, she gave birth to a nation.

Welcome to Douglas Murray’s column, Things Worth Remembering, in which he presents great speeches from famous orators we should commit to heart. To listen to Douglas recite Elizabeth I’s 1588 speech, in Tilbury, scroll to the end of this piece.

Today is Mother’s Day. Though—note—only in the United States. (I don’t want to send any international readers into a frenzy of online flower ordering.) But it is an important day nonetheless that encourages us to show gratitude. We could do with more of that.

There is one type of motherhood that is worth mentioning because it is too little written about, and it comes to mind because of the great woman whose speech I want to focus on today.

One of the oddities of our time is the tendency to try to fix things that aren’t broken, or at least to apply vast slathers of attention to things that are doing pretty well. For example: “representation” in industries with a great deal of it. Or, better yet, women in popular culture.

Whenever I watch a Netflix show these days, it seems as if there are several themes that are yawningly predictable. One of them is the motif of the “strong woman.” (I’m not referring to the South Parkstrong woman.” That is a subject for another day.) 

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