Was Elizabeth I REALLY a virgin?

Apr 2015
I personally think she and Robert Dudley were lovers, but it's open for debate.
I have no evidence for this, but my instinct tells me she kept him on the string precisely because she was unattainable. Also, remaining a virgin was power for this queen - as long as no man could have her, no man could be her master.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2013
I personally think she and Robert Dudley were lovers, but it's open for debate.
I tend to hold this opinion as well. I have no strong opinions on Elizabeth's virginity. I would be surprised if she didn't indulge in some sexual foreplay with someone like Dudley as an adult - we know she indulged in that sort of activity as a young teen. Whether she went the "whole way" is still open to doubt.

I used to think the question of Elizabeth's virginity was of some importance. I tended to defend her against such allegations. I now believe it matters not a jot. If Elizabeth said she was a virgin then to her loyal subjects she was a virgin, or at least a plausible virgin.

paranoid marvin

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
More likely she abstained from sex after becoming queen than before. You couldn't even go to the loo as king/queen without at least one other being in attendance.


Ad Honorem
May 2016
We'll never know. Too bad no autopsy was done when she died!
That is the most correct historical approach. All above that is pure speculation… or gossip… :)

But if we make some contextualization she could have sexual relations before she was queen, when the scrutiny was lower, or even after rising to the throne there were certainly many ways that she, even as a queen, could have her intimate moments. The fact that they weren’t registered just tells us that… they weren’t registered.
Apr 2015
Well let's just hope we never find out Liz and Dudley got it on. Then we'll have to change the name of two states to reflect her true sexual status!

(What say, Virginia and West Virginia?)


Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
San Diego
I'm curious, how does your "common sense" arrive at this conclusion? Are you basing it on something specific?

Keep in mind that a monarch couldn't really do anything in secret. There were eyes and ears everywhere, and everyone talked. The very fact that there was "speculation" meant that people were watching carefully for any crack in the facade or any hint of scandal. Little or nothing would have escaped detection by the hundreds of people at court every day. My "common sense" tells me its far more likely Elizabeth remained a virgin as claimed than that she got away with a clandestine sexual relationship.
There are lots of rumors from that era of her sexual dalliances and favoritism toward lovers.

The "Virgin Queen" trope was a PR gambit intended to lul the masses and END the constant pressure on her to marry and make an heir.

In her world view, she rightly saw that any man she married would be a rival for the power of her own rule, and so opted to stay unmarried and in full control.

And she was in full control of her bedchamber, as well.

Its amazing how few people are willing to tell secrets about a Boss who Can and DOES chop off the heads of those who wrong her.