WHAT DID QUEEN ELIZABETH THINK OF GRACE O’MALLEY? The Elizabethan documents remarkably give a glimpse of what Queen Elizabeth thought of Grace O’Malley. Elizabeth granted Grace what she had requested. The documents avoid explicit references to Grace’s pirate activities. Grace claimed that she had retired from piratical activities, that “utterly did she give over her former trade of maintenance by sea and land”. When Elizabeth made and explained her decision, she accepted that Grace had retired (“…she now sheweth herself dutiful, although she hath in former times lived out of order….)

Yet the documents show both ladies understood that Grace would not be retiring. Elizabeth grounded her decision on Grace’s promises of military support for Elizabeth against her enemies—France and Spain. Elizabeth referred to them as “assured promises by oath to continue most dutiful….that she will fight in our quarrel with all the world.”

(Here is an excerpt from Barbara Sjoholm”s THE PIRATE QUEEN, which has more background about the meeting between the Pirate Queen and Queen Elizabeth.)

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