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Elizabeth's father, King Henry the VIII, was married to Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela of Spain. After Catherine gave birth to a baby girl, the king, wanting a son pass on the crown to, wished to divorce Catherine. This however was impossible, as the pope of the time did not yet grant divorces to royals. In his determination to to dissolve he and his wife's union, King Henry chose to separate England from the Roman Catholic Church,thus creating the Church of England. Once he was able to go through with the divorce, he went on to be remarried many times, some marriges even ending in the excecution of the wife. In one marriage, Henry was given a son, Edward, and in another his daughter Elizabeth. Both Edward as well as Mary spent time on the throne, but after Mary's death,it was time for Elizabeth to rule.Since Elizabeth was born into a marriage not recognized by the catholic church, many Europeans thought of Elizabeth as iligitamate, and said she was not the rightful Queen of England, but that Mary Queen of Scots, granddaughter of King Henry VII, was.In the years to follow, Mary and Elizabeth had a fierce rivalry that ended with the beheadment of Mary Queen of Scots.

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