This Is What Queen Elizabeth I Did For Fun

So much of history is subjective. Life in Elizabeth I's court might seem romantic and exciting, but it's important to remember that this was a terrifying time to be alive. Medicine was much more blotty, impressionist art than science. Basically everything was fatal. Hand washing was a novelty. Shakespeare wrote a whole sonnet about loving someone after they'd reached the frail old age of 40, and it was his second one. Death was everywhere.

So how do you distract yourself from constant reminders of your own mortality when you're several centuries removed from being able to stream The Mandalorian? If you were on the bottom rungs of society, there were classic entertainment options like all-male theater and going to church and, on special occasions, watching guys on horses try to knock each other over with sticks. Options were limited.

If you were royalty, on the other hand, the world was brought to you, and Queen Elizabeth I had her pick of the litter in terms of recreational activities. Some of them got pretty gross, which brings us back to our original point: so much of history is subjective.

Elizabeth I loved watching critter maulings

Elizabeth I was a product of her time, which, as we mentioned earlier, wasn't an altogether pleasant one, and as we've learned from the last nineteen Purge movies, when the going gets tough, the rich love bloodsport.

According to Elizabeth's Tudor historian Heather Sharnette, Elizabeth enjoyed a bracing deer or stag hunt, going full Big Buck Hunter with a crossbow on one occasion in 1575 and killing six does in a single day. She was also big into "hawking," the practice of letting a bird of prey loose, then waiting for it to kill something, then trying to grab what it killed before the bird ate it. Look, twenty five years ago we all learned the Macarena for fun. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Elizabeth was also deep into bear baiting, the charming practice of chaining a bear up in a pit and then seeing how many dogs it took to kill it. Other courtly activities included cock fighting and dog fighting, leading one to believe that if she were alive today, Elizabeth would either be a big Pokemon fan or in prison.

It wasn't all animal cruelty, though. Queen Elizabeth also loved horseback riding, at one point doing it so often that her advisers worried that she was neglecting her job. Additionally, she apparently enjoyed watching tennis. There's no accounting for taste.