American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Elizabeth" (1998)

 

Queen Elizabeth Addresses Rival Clergy on a Unified Church of England

Windows Media Video of Address

 

Elizabeth: If there is no uniformity of religious belief here, then there can only be fragmentation, disputes, and quarrels. Surely, my lords, it is better to have a single Church of England. A single Church of England, with a common prayer book, and a common purpose. I ask you to pass this Act of Uniformity not for myself, but for my people, who are my only care.

Clergyman 1: Madam, by this Act, by this Act you force us to relinquish our allegiance to the Holy Father.

Elizabeth: How can I force you, Your Grace? I am a woman I have no desire to make windows into men's souls. I simply ask, can any man, in truth, serve two masters and be faithful to both?

Clergyman 2: Madam, this, this is heresy!

Clergyman 3: It is heresy, indeed.

Elizabeth: No, Your Grace. This is common sense, which is a most English virtue.

 

[scene interrupts to conversation among "imprisoned" Clergy leaders]

 

Clergyman 4: Your Majesty would improve all these matters, if you would agree to marry.

Clergyman 2: Aye, marry.

Elizabeth: Aye, but marry who, Your Grace? Would you give me some suggestion? For some say "France" and others "Spain" and some cannot abide foreigners at all. So, I'm not sure how best to please you, unless I marry one of each.

Clergyman 5: Now Your Majesty does make fun of the sanctity of marriage.

Elizabeth: I do not think you should lecture me on that, my lord, since you, yourself, have been twice divorced -- and are now upon your third wife.

Each of you must vote according to your conscience. But remember this: In your hands, upon this moment lies the future happiness of my people and the peace of this realm. Let that be upon your conscience also.

Movie Speeches

Online Speech Bank

American Rhetoric Home

Copyright 2001-2010. 
American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.