The Golden Speech
The Golden Speech was delivered by Queen Elizabeth I of England to 141 Members of the Commons (including the Speaker), on 30 November 1601. It was a speech that was expected to be addressing some pricing concerns, based on the recent economic issues facing the country. Surprisingly, she revealed that it would be her final Parliament and turned the mode of the speech to addressing the love and respect she had for the country, her position, and the Members themselves. It is the second such speech for which Queen Elizabeth I was noted, the first, the Speech to the Troops at Tilbury, having been given to English forces in preparation for the Spanish Armada's expected invasion. The Golden Speech has been taken to mark a symbolic end of Elizabeth's reign, one which is widely considered one of the Golden Eras of England's history. Elizabeth died 16 months later in March 1603 and was succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland and I of England.
Origin of the name
The 'Golden' label was first coined in "a version of the speech printed near the end of the Puritan interregnum" which bore a header beginning 'This speech ought to be set in letters of gold'. It was to be reprinted time and time again up to the eighteenth century, whenever England was in danger, as the Golden Speech of Queen Elizabeth. Several versions survive, including a printed pamphlet which is thought to have been checked and corrected by Elizabeth herself.
A different account by the diarist, Hayward Townshend, who was among those kneeling before her that November afternoon in the Presence Chamber, is used in the text below.
- Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H. Abrams, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: varun doshi&co.2050 Print.
- "Elizabeth’s ‘Golden Speech’ (1601)". Retrieved 2009-04-11.
- "Modern History Sourcebook: Queen Elizabeth I of England (b. 1533, r. 1558-1603) Selected Writing and Speeches". Modern History SourceBook. Retrieved 2009-04-11.