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Anglo -Swedish foreign relations during the reign of Elizabeth I

Nathan James Martin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Before 1558, Sweden and England had had little diplomatic contact. This changed in the early 1560s when Erik XIV of Sweden embarked upon a project to win Elizabeth I's hand in marriage. Despite sending several embassies to England, spending enormous sums of money on Elizabeth, and twice trying to sail to England himself, Erik was unable to interest Elizabeth in marrying him. The marriage negotiations broke down in 1562, and the main Swedish ambassador in England, Nils Gyllenstierna, was recalled to Sweden. Still, the Anglo-Swedish contact initiated during the matrimonial project would continue during the next few decades. Erik's sister Cecilia traveled to England to visit Elizabeth in 1565. She had no legitimate diplomatic mission and ran into debt, becoming unpopular with many in England. She left the country in April 1566, but one of her servants, Helena Snakenborg, remained in England to marry into the English nobility. Snakenborg, who was also known as the Marchioness of Northampton was the chief mourner at Elizabeth's funeral in 1603. This study examines the contact between England and Sweden during the late sixteenth century and argues that the diplomatic ties between the two countries took on a unique quality of being heavily influenced by cultural attitudes, which was due to the limited contact before the time of Queen Elizabeth.

Subject Area

European history|International law

Recommended Citation

Martin, Nathan James, "Anglo -Swedish foreign relations during the reign of Elizabeth I" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3307554.