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troubleinharlem's avatar

How does Queen Elizabeth I exploit the difference between the "person of the king" and the "office of the king" to her advantage?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7968 points ) January 30th, 2011

I’m trying to help my mom with her homework assignment about Queen Elizabeth I, and I have no idea how to on this, so I told her to ask on my fluther account to see if you guys had any ideas. We’re clueless.

Okay, now she’s typing all this other stuff.

troubleinharlem’s mom: Okay, so, apparently the difference between the office of the king and the person of the king is like the difference between the office of the President and Barack Obama.

Here’s the speech, and I answered with this:

“Queen Elizabeth mentions “God, kingdom, and people” twice. The kingdom is the office, which is intangible. Elizabeth is letting her army know that she is the executive ruler of the office, in addition to being the ruler of the people. She lets them know that she is willing to die for all three entities.”

I know that this is a stupid answer, but it’s all that I could come up with. I’m stumped.

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8 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

What is the actual question? Is it to explain the difference the office of the king and the person (king). And is she supposed to take her answer from the passage that you linked?

If it is to decide what is meant by the office of the king: I take it, in the context of her speech, to mean that she is the king but she is putting her Lieutenant General in charge of any battles in her stead.

tranquilsea's avatar

The advantages, of course, would be that she is not in the line of fire in a battle.

flutherother's avatar

The speech was given at the time of the Spanish Armada when England was threatened with invasion. It is a rousing speech, and quite famous I think. It is a bit like Winston Churchill’s speeches during the dark days of the Second World War when it seemed likely that Hitler would invade the country. It is designed to rally and inspire the people in defence of their country and Queen Elizabeth does this by stressing not the office that she holds but her person.

Queen Elizabeth uses words like body, blood, heart and stomach that stress the physicality of the Queen as a human being just like her subjects. She doesn’t appeal for loyalty to the abstract office of Queen which would have been much less effective. Remember Churchill’s speech ‘I have nothing to offer you but blood toil sweat and tears’. This is very graphic very real language that relates to what people were experiencing. Queen Elizabeth was doing much the same in her speech. Her subjects knew she was their Queen, but by stressing what she had in common with her subjects they could more easily relate to her and give her their loyalty and so make her an effective leader.

bkcunningham's avatar

How does Queen Elizabeth I exploit the difference between the “person of the king” and the “office of the king” to her advantage?

Despite her office, she got out and walked amongst the people like she was one of them when she spoke this famous speech. She said, “Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.”

Read it carefully and slowly and look how she stepped down from her throne and showed herself a “weak and feable woman.” Yet she tells her people that she has a love of country and love and trust of her people like a “king.” She said, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too,”

She became their equal by stepping down from a position of authority, the office, and becoming a person they respected who represented them.

Does that make sense? I love your daughter’s thoughts and comments on this forum btw.

thorninmud's avatar

The “person of the king” is, as @bkcunningham says, her reference to being a “weak and feeble woman”. It would have been expected of a male king to be a courageous leader in battle, at ease among the soldiers, willing to fight among his men; that wouldn’t be anything extraordinary. But to hear this woman fully taking on all of the bravado incumbent upon her office must have made quite the impression. How would a man hearing this woman talking about going out and kicking some Spanish ass have felt?

You might want to consider how being a girl gave Joan of Arc an advantage in leading the army of France.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@tranquilsea : The actual question was the one that I asked in the beginning.

thorninmud's avatar

Yeah, I think @tranquilsea ‘s on the right track. She’s saying “I have the power, spirit and courage of a king (the office) and of course I’d love to go die with you all, but since I have this frail body of a woman and everybody’s worried about me, I’ll be sending Dudley in my stead”.

bkcunningham's avatar

@troubleinharlem don’t forget, the main question is how she exploits the two different positions to her advantage. Her advantage is to rally the people behind her and get their support. The two different positions are person of king and office of king.

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