Astonishingly, ministers who had little but reproach for the late king were second to none in their admiration for Elizabeth of England. In 1587 it was observed that at court “everyone is amazed to see how cleverly that woman manages in everything”. “The Spanish say that the king thinks and plans while queen of England acts.” In Armada year, 1588, the pope himself had not disguised his admiration for Elizabeth. “She certainly is a great queen”, he said, “and were she only a Catholic she would be most dear to us. Just look how well she governs. She is only a woman, mistress of half of an island, yet she makes herself feared by all.” The year after the Armada a minister of Philip II, Juan de Silva, count of Portoalegre, commented that “only England preserves its spirit and increases its reputation. I think that other princes should exchange advisers with the queen, because she alone assaults with impunity the most powerful crowns of the world.” The late king’s ministers joined in the paean of praise. Silva wrote to his friend Cristóbal de Moura: “these last twenty-two years that the queen of England has spent in the service of the world, will be the most outstanding known of in history”. Moura wrote back, heartily endorsing this opinion of the queen. In his residence Silva displayed prominently two highly prized portraits, of the queen and of Drake.
—  Philip of Spain by Henry Kamen (p. 319 - 320)