Elizabeth I (1533-1603) impressed herself more vividly on the memory of the world than any other monarch in the history of England. She successfully established and maintained power while refusing to bow to the wishes of those who believed that no woman was fit to occupy the English throne. One of the mysteries that surround her is her stubborn refusal to marry. Some historians believe that she made a vow already as a teenager to remain single when a romantic love affair ended unhappily. Others think she was shocked by the fate of her mother, Anne Boleyn, who was executed by her husband, Henry VIII. It may well be, though, that she simply wanted to prove that she could rule without a king at her side.