Did Queen Elizabeth I really die of lead poisoning?

Queen Elizabeth I began her reign in 1558, and was one of the most successful monarchs in England’s history.  Historians however, believe that the makeup she wore was slowly poisoning her, and ultimately caused her death!

Queen Elizabeth had smallpox as a young woman, and it left scarring on her face.  To cover the scars, she wore makeup called “ceruse”, which is lead powder mixed with vinegar. Ceruse gave her the pale, milky complexion she has in paintings.  Gradually this makeup led to weakness, hair loss, and paralysis from lead poisoning.


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