|Rainbow Portrait - a rather flattering likeness!|
A trip up and down the Thames was a necessity for Elizabeth I as the river connected many of her key royal residences - Windsor, Hampton Court, Richmond, Westminster, Greenwich. The court would move often as a matter of convenience - when the *cough* conveniences were full, they upped and left for the next palace, leaving the cleaning out to the servants left behind (something I discovered when researching The Queen's Lady). There were other reasons too, of course, but I rather like this very practical one of the Queen running away from the blocked loos.
Like our present queen, Bess also knew how to dress for practical impact. I have been reading in The Week (an excellent news digest magazine)how the Queen chooses solid bright colours (like the yellow above) so she can be seen easily. Shoes are worn in by attendants so the long hours on her feet don't result in blisters (and I think we can allow her one or two foibles like this at her age - I am amazed she still does so much meeting-and-greeting). Bess demanded her ladies wore white or black so she could shine like a jewel in their midst. I don't know about shoes but she was extremely demanding, losing her temper if they tried to rival her. She boxed the ears of one noble lady for her presumptuous clothes and banished her from court. Thankfully Queen Elizabeth II is far more tactful with her subjects.
There's a fun timeline of other Thames pageants here and an exhibition in at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on the subject if you can get there.