Friday, March 27, 2020

The Virgin Queen

There’s been times of plague in the past, genuine plague and the word used in a wider sense for a  
nasty disease that creeps its way round the planet.

Here, we have seen many people upsticks and take to the highlands in their caravans and motorhomes to get away from the virus…. Though leaving a city well served by the NHS and critical care units to a remote location with bad weather, bad roads and no hospital beds nearby does need a certain  internal logic,  or lack of.  It has been banned now of course and the travel of a positive testing Prince Charles to Scotland, has become a  … yes you’ve guessed it, a  nationalist issue.

It’s human nature I suppose, to get away from the epicentre of any disease and the city centres where population is dense.

In the past, children were often first shipped out,

So think of a  pleasant walled  garden at the hunting lodge of a small sleeping village called Bisley. England, in the summer,  children playing outside.  There’s two of them, a boy and a girl,  both aged ten. The kids get on very well, in fact they do look quite similar, slightly long faced, a titian hint to the hair.   They are distantly related  on the father’s side, the blue eyes and red hair genes are easy to see.

The girl  had been sent out from London city to escape the bubonic  plague, to stay at her father’s hunting lodge in the village of Bisley.

The boy was local, from Bisley itself.

One day, as they play in the garden, the girl begins to feel unwell and collapses.  The servants in the house come out and take her up to her bed room, lying her on her bed, where later, she passes away.

She was  only ten years old. The year was 1543.

The servants in the house are horrified, the nurse in particular. They are more than a  little scared that they are going to be accused of neglect in the care of the wee girl.

Then, in the worst timing possible, it was  announced that the girl’s dad was going to be visiting his  hunting lodge, and by extension, his daughter. The nurse panicked,  and  looking out the window she and the rest of the servants, developed a plan. The boy is very similar, could they… swap?

The boy  was to be known from that day onward at The Bisley Boy

The girl was, or became to be, Elizabeth I, the Renaissance queen of England.

The obvious question is, did nobody notice. Well, if you were close to the princess, the chances are you’d get your head chopped off if you admitted what was going on.   If you were not close to the princess ( and that includes her father Henry 8th . )The girl rarely saw the courtiers,  rarely saw her father and how much can a   child change in 6 months at the age of ten. 

She was the child of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn and was really  only ever third  in line to the throne. The other two died leaving her a free rein.. free reign??   Nobody had any idea that this  ten year old child would ever become reigning monarch,  never mind become one of England’s greatest ever monarchs.

So, let’s accept for a moment that the  king didn’t  notice and the Bisley boy  grew up to rule the kingdom. As queen.

                                To this day the crowned Queen Of the Bisley Fete will be a  boy.

It's easy to see how this theory has  some traction. There is much about the gender presentation of the Queen that is interesting.  She never  married, despite legitimate offers and many times when it would have been politically prudent to do so, she still never tied the knot. Most monarchs desire,  more than anything,  an heir ( and heir and a spare as the saying goes). Elizabeth? Nope. She told one of her nobleman, that she had her reasons and that she would never bear a child.

There is, it is rumoured, a  perceivable difference in the letters the princess wrote before and after her stay at the hunting lodge in Bisley.

Her physical appearance as an adult was ‘manly’. She could outride most of her male companions on a horse, she was robust, had great endurance, hunting and horseriding were her passion.   When out in public she wore a wig, she set the fashion of  high ruffs – to hide an Adam’s apple?  She wore blanket cover white make up, as many did because of plague scars, but in her case  was it to hide a five o’clock shadow?

It’s stated that she had very long fingers for a woman, rather strong hands for the delicate sex. It’s seen in her portraits.

Although she suffered illness frequently, she only saw her physicians as a last resort and even then,  it was a  very few trusted doctors that she allowed anywhere near her.   She also stated, very clearly that she was not to have a post mortem carried out after death,

There exists  a document written  in the 1800’s by a church cleric in the village of Bisley. He states that he found a coffin  and that coffin held the skeleton of a young girl wearing  the fashion of the  Renaissance aristocracy.

Bram Stoker believed it. Well he didn’t but he liked the idea of it enough to include it in  his non- fiction book “Famous Imposters.”

I’ve read somewhere that the book supports the theory while privately  Stoker didn’t believe  a word of it but I can see why he might find the story attractive.

There are many who dispute this and it’s probably totally untrue  and much of what is put forward as supporting evidence  for this theory  be explained by the queen  being  some kind of mixed gender physically due to  birth malformation or DNA mutation.

But it is a good story to ponder why staring out the window waving at the neighbours.

 Caro Ramsay


  1. Hmm. I hadn't heard that one before. It would make a great historical novel. I guess it's been done...

  2. This is a great yarn, Caro, and I am so happy to be reminded of it. It is, however, entirely fiction. Elizabeth was, to my way of thinking, the greatest of Britain's monarchs. People--men mostly--are inclined to think that no woman could do a better job of ruling a country than a man. Since she was so good at it that the conclusion such prejudiced souls came to was that she must have been a man. What drivel! Balderdash! Poppycock! She ruled, and was best ever at the job, when people--men mostly--believed in the divine right of kings, but also in the divine right of men. No wonder she didn't want a husband. I speak with passion because I find myself the citizen of country that chose to be governed by a totally incompetent man rather than a highly competent woman. ARRRGGHH!

  3. I'd not heard that one, Caro. But you forgot to include the part of the theory that included the grassy knoll...