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Elizabeth I in pop culture

What Can Google Suggest Tell Us About How People View Elizabeth I?

Google Search can help one find many items, such as this 4 1/2 inch recreation of Elizabeth's Rainbow Portrait. Thanks, mom!

Yesterday on The Creation of Anne Boleyn Facebook site, I wrote a note on what Google Suggest could tell us about searches on Anne Boleyn. The results were interesting to say the least – I was particularly amused to find that a common search item beginning with “Henry VIII was” ended in “capable of flight.” So, now, without further ado, I present the most received queries about Elizabeth I.

Search item: Was Elizabeth I…

1.) an absolute monarch

2.) catholic

3.) a politique

4.) machiavellian

Notes: So far, the search is looking a bit more erudite than the ones I performed for Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. With Henry and Anne, the interest is primarily in gossip – did Anne have six fingers, three breasts, or true love for Henry? Did Henry have six or two wives, and did he care for any of them (but especially, did he love Anne Boleyn)? These terms suggest that searchers want to know about the political and religious aspects of Elizabeth’s reign, not just about romantic relationship she might have had. I am momentarily pleased, if only because it would seem that modern questions concerning Elizabeth seem to have moved on from old concerns surrounding her romantic attachments.

Search item: Elizabeth I was…

1.) the daughter of henry viii and

2.) a man

3.) very intolerant of the separatists

Notes: Why only 3 suggestions for this one? I am not certain. In other news, there is a question about her birth, and another concerning religious and political policy. The second point is the same old ridiculous question as to whether or not she was a man. I hold to my earlier promise, I will address the man rumor soon!

Search item: Elizabeth I had…

1.) her executed

2.) hadiway (this is a poet!)

Notes: Even fewer suggestions here. I assume the first point concerns Mary, Queen of Scots. Not surprising, but it is the only question that deals with Queen Elizabeth I.

Search item: Elizabeth I and…

1.) Robert Dudley

2.) parliament

3.) mary queen of scots

4.) shakespeare

Notes: Ah, here he is. I was wondering when Dudley would pop up in all of this. The other two are not terribly surprising, either. I am still amused that even though people continue to ask questions about Elizabeth’s personal life, they are still interested in the political, too. I did not see such results on searches concerning Henry VIII. Does this suggest that, for the majority of the Google generation, that Henry’s personal life has overshadowed his political life (although, let’s be honest, there is nothing terribly “personal” where Henry’s position was concerned – the personal was wed to the political)?

Search item: Elizabeth I is

1.) crowned queen of england

2.) issue

3.) islam

4.) isabel

Notes: Hmm, how to interpret this set? The first makes sense, the second deals with whether or not she had children, and the fourth is likely an attempt to compare Elizabeth I with Isabel of Spain. As to Islam? Perhaps it is a question related to her dealings with the Ottoman Empire.

Search item: Did Elizabeth I

1.) have children

2.) marry

3.) kill mary

4.) kill catholics

Notes: Once again, no surprises here, either. Overall, the searches have shown a nice balance between questions of a political, religious, and personal nature.

Have you tried a Google Suggest search yet for a subject you study?

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