#7 dawns, and indeed it was mentioned yesterday, leading on as it does from the Dutch revolt.

During the early days of the war the English put aside their differences with the Dutch and sent aid, a fact not lost to that nice Philip II, although to be honest he was mostly smarting from Elizabeth's refusal to marry him.

Now, I'm not necessarily your go-to guy for relationship advice, but when you marry a girl, realise you don't get along and abandon her and go back to your own country, and then when she dies ask to marry her younger sister, it's not that much of a surprise to get a negative response.

Equally mentioning in passing that it might even be OK if she keeps her own religion, but obviously her country must convert...

Well, I'm no Romeo, but that's not how I'd woo Elizabeth I. 'Very carefully' would be how I'd do it, to coin a phrase. But we digress. After teaching the Dutch such a valid lesson in how to turn an invincible army into a sodden lump of nothing, the Spanish decided to use their specialist subject (getting beaten up at sea) to good effect with the largest armada ever seen. Would have been larger if they hadn't left them largely unprotected in Cadiz so we could burn a few of them, of course, but that's pirates for you. ("Pirates are fun!" "I didn't say they weren't fun, but they're still the baddies.") Anyhoo, from that point on the story is at least well-known, so we can probably leave aside the gradual destruction of the armada as it fails completely to understand training/upwind/fireships/anything really.

The only extra I'd add is that I didn't realise a flotilla of smaller ships (Dunkirk spirit and all that) went out to help supply the fleet with cannons and gunpowder during the battle - a fact I certainly wasn't aware of. Suffice to say that England survived, Protestantism survived, our love of our navy was cemented, and the way was clear to sing Rule Britannia at the last night of the proms for ever after. Huzzah for good Queen Bess.