Queen Elizabeth I was one of the greatest monarchs in English history. At 25, she donned a crown the previous three monarchs (Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary) had worn between them for only 13 years. Bucking the trend, she held onto the English throne with an iron hand for the next 44 years.
As queen, Elizabeth fought off the French, defeated the Spanish armada, quelled the religious conflict in England and fended off a challenge for her crown from Mary, Queen of Scots. Determined not to be overthrown by anyone – even a husband – Elizabeth fended off opportunistic suitors for decades.
An Eye on the Future
In 1592, Elizabeth visited her “saucy godson” Sir John Harington, a poet known for his bawdy humor. Sir John didn’t just use toilet humor in his writing, he actually invented the first English flush toilet. Elizabeth tried his invention on her visit and very impressed. She commissioned him to build one for her.
But despite being the first British monarch with 2 thrones in her palace, Elizabeth I never used the newfangled one. After all, how would it look for a reigning monarch to excuse herself from Parliamentary deliberations to go back to her chambers?
No, no, Elizabeth decided it wouldn’t do. She needed to show at all times that her seat was secure on the British throne.
Elizabeth decided that she – the queen of Britain – could not possibly go to the toilet. Instead, the toilet had to come to her. And so, throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth I insisted that her maids bring her chamber pot whenever and wherever she was.
And that is why most people never knew that Queen Elizabeth actually sat on 2 thrones during her reign!