Endearing nickname for Queen Elizabeth.

When Queen Mary I of England died in 1558, she left her country a poor and divided nation. Her religious persecutions and those of her brother, Edward VI, had split the country and disrupted trade.

Mary's successor was her younger sister, Elizabeth. Over the forty years of her reign, Elizabeth was to make England a rich and united nation. One of her first actions was to reach a compromise over religion which satisfied most of her subjects. Shen then encouraged trade with foreign countries.

At home Elizabeth presided over the growth of a healthy economy and a thriving culture which encouraged artists and writers of high calibre. The startling success of her reign was in such contrast with her predecessors that Elizabeth gained the name of "Gloriana" from her subjects.
Gloriana is an opera by Benjamin Britten, with words by Britten and William Plomer, one of the musical celebrations of the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

It tells of Elizabeth I's love of Essex and her division between personal feelings and duty. In the first act there is a duel between Essex and Mountjoy. Essex warns of the threat of the Armada, and is appointed to quell a rebellion in Ireland. In the last act, he rebels against the queen and is sentenced to death.

Gloriana was not successful in its first season, but a 1966 revival brought it within the standard repertoire.


Gloriana is also the Grand Duchess of the microscopic English-speaking European principality of Grand Fenwick in the two Ealing comedies The Mouse that Roared (1959) and The Mouse on the Moon (1963). She was played by Peter Sellers in the first and Margaret Rutherford in the second.

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