Was Sir Francis Drake a pirate at some point in his career which was funded by Queen Elizabeth?

Sir Francis Drake was a pirate all through his career, actually.

Drake made his living by smuggling slaves and pirating Spanish ships.

His entire “voyage around the world” was funded by Queen Elizabeth and was, in essence, a thinly-veiled privateering racket to plunder Spanish ships and settlements.

It was only because the British hated the Spanish and that his expedition was so financially successful to the crown that he was knighted instead of hanged.

Being in the good books with the Queen of England is definitely a good thing.