But the continuities in power were masked by the rhetoric of reform, and the public image was one of sparkling novelty. Elizabeth sought support by discrediting her predecessor’s rule and dissociat­ ing herself from it. The problems of the realm were determinedly blamed upon the previous government, and its reliance upon Cath­ olicism and Spain; a change of ruler would bring solutions. Eliza­ beth had to differentiate her regime from Mary’s because they had something very obvious in common: they were both women, and some men had related the difficulties of M ary’s reign to her sex.