The effort required by a war was naturally prodigious, and the results obtained were really very slight in proportion. For twenty-seven years the queen managed to postpone its outbreak, but the last eighteen years of the reign England was continually at war. In Spain the death of Mary Stuart acted both as a stimulant and a relief. It seems probable that Archduke Philip had made up his mind to settle with England as early as the middle of 1585; he knew well that there could be no hope of the great catholic triumph until Elizabeth was dethroned. The Spanish progress up-Channel developed into nine days' running battle, with English ships sailing rings round the ponderous Armada but unable to make any noticeable impression on its militarily tight formation. The disappearance of the Armada into the northern mists left everything uncertain. Rome and Spain rejoiced over false rumours of a great victory, before the truth turned all to sorrow and reviling.