On September 7,1602, the Queen entered upon her seventieth year. For the 16th century and for an English monarch, she had already had an unusually long life. Her control over policy and affairs of state was still firm and strong, but she could not ‘endure as long as the sun and moon’. Among those waiting to step up to her throne were James VI of Scotland and Infanta Isabella, daughter of Philip II of Spain. However, the great majority of Englishmen looked upon James VI as the natural and rightful successor. France did not greatly relish the prospect of the King of the Scots, their old allies at England's back door, becoming king of a united and insularly impregnable Great Britain. But certainly by 1602, they recognized that James's accession was virtually inevitable. Henry IV was well aware that French intervention over the English succession would be a sure way of bringing upon him a new war with Spain.
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