The Miracle of Tilbury

Archived setting material from Game 1. Game 2 players, this is not relevant to you.

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.

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, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.
Queen Elizabeth I of England, on the eve of the Battle of Tilbury

In 1561 the massive Spanish Armada, the largest fleet the world had ever seen, attempted the crossing of the English Channel. Though the ships of the Royal Navy fired cannon till water boiled on the iron barrels and their powder stores ran dry the majority of the Spanish survived to land on the coast of Kent. Forming up beneath the gaze of their general, the Prince of Parma, the experienced Spanish troops formed up. They expected to be in London within the week to await the crowning of Philip II as King of England.

Elizabeth marshalled her small army at the fort of Tilbury and waited for the invaders to attack. In a speech that every child in England knows by heart she promised to lead the army in battle herself. That evening walking amongst the troops without bodyguard, resplendent in silver helmet and cuirass and bearing the Sword of State, she looked every inch the Queen.

The key moment of the battle is an image to be found in almost every home in England, crudely inked and printed on cheap paper and pinned to the walls of rude shacks or painted in enormous tableaux on the ceilings of the great halls of the rich. The Miracle of Tilbury.

The Queen alone astride her warhorse, waving the English standard unsullied by the mud of the battlefield. Her sword is bloody and her helm shattered at her mount's feet. Around Elizabeth her honour guard lie dead and dying, cut down by the elite Spanish knights that have attempted to capture her. The last of their company are dead too, the final four cut down by the Queen herself. The overcast sky has parted to illuminate Elizabeth, her battered armour shining and her hair streaming in the freshening breeze like fire. And she cries “For Albion” and charges the Spanish lines. And her routing army take up the cry “For Albion” and drive the Spanish into the sea.

tilbury.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/28 20:57 by helen