Thursday 3 am .. 24 March 1603 .. death of Queen Elizabeth I ..
This story of Elizabeth’s death comes from John Clapham, formerly clerk to Lord Burghley, the queen’s principal secretary for most of her reign. Burghley died in 1598, so by this time Clapham had probably lost his intimacy with the royal court.
He does admit his information is second hand, and from internal references it seems he was writing in November 1603, about six months after the event.
Clapham’s comment on reports of the queen’s death-bed approbation of her successor – “Sure I am they did no hurt” – shows a safe pair of hands. But he does relate some vivid details, especially the queen’s fairy-tale reckoning with mortality: “she had a great apprehension of her own age and declination by seeing her face (then lean and full of wrinkles) truly represented to her in a glass, which she a good while very earnestly beheld: perceiving thereby how often she had been abused by flatterers (whom she held in too great estimation) that had informed her the contrary”.
The version below is from a secondary source, ie. it’s an old copy of the original manuscript in the Sloane collection.