The Jewels of the Tudors – Part One (Guest Post)

Written by Lissa Bryan

Tudor nobles were taught from birth that God had chosen them to fill a particular station in life as a part of the Great Chain of Being. Part of their duty to their station was dressing appropriately for their rank. From the linen they wore to the jewels that adorned their person, every aspect of their attire had to properly reflect their position in life.

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Tudor Rivals: The Scorned Rose and England’s Precious Jewel

Guest article by Anthony Ruggiero 

The Tudor Dynasty of England, spanning from the late fifteenth century into the early seventeenth century, was a fascinating drama, filled with intrigue, lust and murder. The dynasty’s monarchs were its main characters whose relationships impacted the country socially, economically and politically. Such relationships included Queen Mary I and King Edward VI. Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, ruled over England from July 1553 to her death in November 1558. Her reign as Queen was marked by her steadfast effort to convert England back to Catholicism from Protestantism, which had been established under her father twenty years earlier and then further intensified during the reign of her younger brother, King Edward VI.

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Can We Give Mary Tudor a Break? (Guest Post)

Guest post by Juliana Cummings

She is known as one of the most evil women in history and is responsible for burning more protestants at stake than any other English Monarch. There are alcoholic drinks and childrens sleepover games named after her, but in all fairness was Mary Tudor, the first Queen regnant, evil?

Born on February 18, 1516, Princess Mary would be the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. By the time Mary was born, Katherine and Henry had already lost several children, either through miscarriage or stillbirth. And while Mary was a healthy baby, she was still a girl, not the long-awaited prince of Greenwich Palace.

Mary was brought up Catholic, and like her mother, Marys faith would become unshakable during the hardest days of her life. Mary was instructed by her mother to attend mass several times a day and also to be sure she knew her prayers. Mary was not only spoiled by her mother but she was the apple of her fathers eye. Despite the fact that she was not a boy, she was the most loved little girl in all of England.

However the ruby cheeked, red-haired Mary was often used as a pawn by her father in securing the English throne. At only two years of age, she was betrothed to the young son of King Francis l of France. But the marriage contract was broken after three years. At six years of age, she was betrothed to her 22-year-old cousin, Charles V of Spain, with the promise of a large dowry. This too fell through and it was even suggested that she marry King Francis l himself. Happily for Mary, this did not happen either.

In 1525 Mary was sent to live at Ludlow Castle of the age of nine under the tutelage of Lady Margaret Bryan. It was common practice for royal children to be brought up away from court. It was also around this time that Henry VIIIwas becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that he still did not have a male heir. Queen Katherine was six years older than The King and it seemed that her child-bearing days were coming to an end.

When The Lady Anne Boleyn walked into King Henrys court in 1526, it would ultimately mean the end of the royal marriage. Anne, a lady in waiting to The Queen, was young and beautiful and attracted the eyes of not only several men of the court but The King himself. Anne gave Henry even more reason to end his marriage with Katherine. She would deliver him a son once she became Queen.

Henry was a very religious man and he turned to The Bible for guidance. A chapter in the book of Leviticus 20:21 stated that if a man married his brothers wife, it was unclean and they shall be childless. Before becoming Henrys Queen, Katherine had been the bride of Henrys older brother Arthur for only four months when he passed away. This was enough to convince Henry that his marriage to Katherine had been no marriage at all and he that he should have the right to divorce her. It also convinced him that his daughter Princess Mary, was now a bastard.

Over the next several years, Henry and Anne continued to have an open and lucid affair directly under the nose of Queen Katherine. And in June of 1527 Henry told Katherine he was ending the marriage and demanded his advisers petition the Pope for a divorce.

There was no love lost between Mary Tudor and Anne Boleyn. Mary saw Lady Boleyn as the great whore who was determined to ruin her mother. Over the next year Henrys advisers carried forth their attempts to persuade The Catholic Church to give him his divorce. When Anne Boleyn became ruthless in her attempts to dethrone Queen Katherine, Marys feelings turned to pure hatred.

Queen Katherines attempts at trying to save her marriage, even with The Catholic Church on her side, were in vain. In the summer of 1529, a frustrated Henry VIII sent Queen Katherine away for good. And Princess Mary never saw her mother again. After four years of fruitless attempts at convincing Rome to give him a divorce, Henry VIIIbroke with the Roman Catholic Church and declared himself head of the new Church of England. He then married Anne Boleyn, who was already pregnant with his child, in a small ceremony. Queen Katherine was demoted to Dowager Princess of Wales while Princess Mary was stripped of her titles. And Anne Boleyn now reigned as Queen of England.

In September of 1533, Queen Anne gave birth to a daughter; Marys half sister, Elizabeth. Despite the treatment she received by her father and her new step-mother, Mary could not bring herself to hate the Princess Elizabeth. She found herself looking after her and enjoying the childs curiosity and obvious intelligence. But she could not and would never refer to Anne Boleyn as Queen. The only Queen in Marys eyes, was her mother Katherine. Anne was an avid supporter of the Protestant Reformation and in Marys eyes, this was absolute heresy. Her refusal to call Anne Queen enraged Henry and he and Mary didnt speak for over three years as a result. To make matters worse, the quick-tempered Anne saw Mary as a threat and would continue to criticize her in front of The King.

When her beloved mother fell ill, Henry refused to let Mary see her. Katherine died in January of 1536 and Marys world fell apart. Her mother had been her strength and their love for each other had only deepened while separated . Now Mary was utterly alone with only her devotion to Catholicism to comfort her.

After three short years of marriage, Anne Boleyn had not given The King a son as promised. She quickly fell from The Kings favor and was accused of adultery, incest, conspiring against The King, and being a witch. She was charged with high treason and executed on May 19, 1536.

We can imagine that Mary Tudor was probably not losing sleep over the fact the her step mother was dead. Its been said that she simply stated Is it done? and nodded with approval when told that the execution had been carried out. But perhaps she had some sympathy for her half-sister Elizabeth, who was also then declared a bastard and stripped of her title in the same way Mary had been.

Henry VIII would go on to marry four more times in his life. Jane Seymour, his Queen just days after Anne Boleyns execution, played an important role in trying to repair Henrys relationship with his daughters. After Mary begrudgingly signed a document, agreeing to recognize her father as head of the The Church of England and to adhere to all his wishes, The King welcomed her back to court. This was done in large part to Janes gentle persistence. Queen Jane would also deliver Henry the one thing he had longed for; a son. In October of 1537, Prince Edward was born. Henry was elated. But sadly, Queen Jane fell ill from infection and died only 12 days after the birth. Mary was made Godmother to her half-brother and also served as the head of the family at the Queens funeral.

Henrys fourth and fifth marriages were short-lived and Mary often acted as the royal hostess at court. But it was Henrys sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who was responsible for bringing the family even closer together. Catherine also convinced The King to rewrite the line of succession, which would now include Mary and Elizabeth should Edward die without a son.

Henry VIIIdied in 1547, leaving his kingdom to nine-year old Edward VI. Edward was too young to rule alone and his uncle Edward Seymour, The Duke of Somerset, acted as regent. Like Edward, The Duke was intensely devoted to Protestantism. Protestantism was quickly being established all over England.

But Mary remained passionately faithful to Catholicism and during her brothers reign she spent most of her time away from court where she was free to practice Mass in her private chapels. The religious differences between Mary and Edward continued and she refused to bow to The King’s demands that she abandon her faith.

Edward had not been a healthy child and suffered from frequent lung infections and coughing fits. When he fell seriously ill in July of 1553, he turned his fathers rules for the succession upside down. He knew he was dying and he feared that his sister Mary, who was to inherit the crown, would restore England to Catholicism. Edward rewrote the succession, and instead of Mary and Elizabeth, he placed his very protestant cousin Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Mary was summoned to London to see her dying brother but feared this was a trap to capture her. She fled to East Anglia where she had a strong Catholic following.

When King Edward died on July 6th, 1553, Lady Jane, a scared and self-conscious girl, took the crown. At this time a letter had arrived for the privy council from Mary, claiming her right to the throne. Support for Lady Jane dwindled as support for Mary grew. Jane Grey was charged with being a traitor and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

On August 3rd, 1553, Mary paraded through the streets of London with almost 1000 nobleman. The streets were filled with the English people who wanted their rightful Queen. Mary had Henry Tudors bloodline and the support of the Catholics. She was crowned Queen of England on October 1st, 1553. As Queen, Mary was faced with a difficult decision. Did she really want to sign the execution warrant of an innocent girl? Jane Grey was just a child and in Marys eyes, didnt deserve to die for being used politically. But unfortunately after deliberating with Parliament, Mary saw no choice but to have Lady Jane and her husband executed.

When Mary Tudor took the throne she was 37 years old and not very attractive. She had not inherited her fathers height but was short with a bulky stature. She was considered an old maid instead of a young, virtuous bride. But Mary knew that in order to be an effective Queen, she needed a Catholic husband. In July of 1554, Mary married Prince Philip of Spain. Mary was quite smitten with Philip, however, he didnt share the same affections. He noted that Mary was very plain-looking and was not arousing to the pleasures of the flesh.

Mary was also determined to set right the wrongs that her brother had caused. She carried much of this out by way of execution. Several leaders of the Protestant church, including Thomas Cranmer, who was the moving factor in Henrys divorce from Katherine, were imprisoned and executed. Mary also declared the marriage of her parents valid and abolished all of her brothers religious laws. Mary also had the Heresy Acts, which were repealed by her father and brother, revived. Under these laws, Queen Mary l would execute almost 300 protestants by burning them at the stake.

Being burned at the stake was considered one of the most gruesome deaths one could endure. If you were lucky you would die from inhaling carbon monoxide before actually burning to death. The people of England did not look upon their Queen favorably for her choice of revenge on protestants. The burnings were so unpopular that even Marys husband and his advisers condemned them.

In September of 1554, Marys menstrual cycles stopped. She was also plagued with nausea and had started to gain weight. Despite Marys history of irregular cycles, her court doctors confirmed that she must be pregnant. Marys abdomen continued to swell as she awaited the birth of her child but spring of 1555 came and went without any signs of The Queen going into labor. By July of that year, rumors started to spread that Queen had never been pregnant. The swelling in her stomach started to recede and Mary was convinced that God was punishing her. Her husband Philip left England to join his army in fighting the French and Mary was heartbroken.

Philips returned in 1557 and Mary soon believed she was pregnant again. However no baby was born this time either and Marys health was declining. She suffered migraines, fatigue and stomach pain and passed away at age 42 in November of 1558. Because she had no heir, her sister Elizabeth inherited the throne.

As we look back on Mary Tudors life, its hard not to have some sympathy for her. As a child, she was cast aside by her father and stripped of her titles after watching a bitter struggle between her parents. She was filled with such hatred for her step mother that it all but consumed her. And Mary suffered the pain of knowing that her mother would die alone. The migraines that plague Mary as a young woman would continue into adulthood and leave her in bed for days. After seeing her father denounce her beloved Catholic Church, she was ousted by her own brother and forced to leave England for safety. When Mary did take the crown, perhaps she was already filled with such bitterness over the cards she had been dealt. And although being burned at the stake was horrific, it was still the choice of execution for heretics over much of Europe. And as a woman who desperately wanted to marry, her own husband made it clear that he wasnt at all physically attracted to her. This must have been so hard for Mary because Philip would be the second major male figure in her life to mistreat her. And after two false pregnancies, its not hard to imagine how Mary turned into the bitter, miserable person she did. For someone who was born having everything, she quickly learned that things could change in the blink of an eye.

So, what if Mary had a life filled with the love of both her parents, free from illness and abandonment? Could she have possibly been a different kind of ruler? However to this day, she still remains the infamous Bloody Mary.

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To Prevent Us From Over-Running With Strangers

Sir Thomas Wyatt is usually best known as the son of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elder and Poet. Today, we look at the event that caused his death – Wyatt’s Rebellion. You see, Wyatt thought having the Protestant Lady Jane Grey on the throne was best for England, but when that didn’t last more than a week, his next battle was stopping Queen Mary from wedding Philip of Spain. Wyatt, along with others, worried that having the Queen wed a foreign prince would in turn make that prince their ruling sovereign. They were also very concerned (and rightfully so) that Queen Mary would return England to Rome and Catholicism.

The rebels themselves explained that they were rebelling in order “to prevent us from over-running by strangers.

“This was a rebellion led by nobles principally Sir Thomas Wyatt from Kent, Sir Peter Carew from Devon, Sir James Croft from Herefordshire and the Duke of Suffolk from Leicestershire. However, it had one major weakness it did not have the popular support of the people across the land and was doomed to failure.”

Their plan was to coordinate a series of uprising that would occur in the south, southwest, the Welsh Marches and the Midlands – from there the men would march on London. Once in London their mission was to remove Queen Mary and replace her with her Protestant sister, Elizabeth. The plan then was to have Elizabeth marry Edward Courteney.

Unfortunately for Wyatt and his men, Simon Renard, the Imperial Ambassador, heard rumors that such a plot existed and immediately informed the Lord Chancellor, Stephen Gardner. Gardiner hauled in Edward Courteney for questioning.

Meanwhile, word of Wyatt’s Rebellion spread to the Queen. Mary attempted to reason with Wyatt – she asked him what he wanted in return for ceasing the uprising. Wyatt stated that he should have the Tower of London handed over to him and that she should be in his charge. Clearly this was not something that Mary was willing to do.

On the 1st of February 1554, Queen Mary made an inspiring speech to Londoners and won over their support:

I am your Queen, to whom at my coronation, when I was wedded to the realm and laws of the same (the spousal ring whereof I have on my finger, which never hitherto was, not hereafter shall be, left off), you promised your allegiance and obedience to me. And I say to you, on the word of a Prince, I cannot tell how naturally the mother loveth the child, for I was never the mother of any; but certainly, if a Prince and Governor may as naturally and earnestly love her subjects as the mother doth love the child, then assure yourselves that I, being your lady and mistress, do as earnestly and tenderly love and favour you. And I, thus loving you, cannot but think that ye as heartily and faithfully love me; and then I doubt not but we shall give these rebels a short and speedy overthrow.

Because of the Queen’s speech she had won over her people, and they in turn jumped into action to protect the Queen from this uprising.

The rebellion failed miserably after Edward Courteney spilled the beans on all the plans to Stephen Gardiner during questioning. When Wyatt’s men had a difficult time getting into London they found another way across the Thames through the southwest end of the city. Unfortunately they would not succeed. Wyatt surrendered. So many men were arrested from this uprising that the they had to house the overflow in area churches.

In total about 90 rebels were executed, including Wyatt and Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. Wyatt was severely tortured (in the hope of extracting a confession implicatingElizabeth) and on the 11th of April 1554, was beheaded at Tower Hill and his body then quartered. This event was also the nail in the coffin for Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley. Their fates had been undetermined until this uprising occurred, and then it was obvious to the Council and the Queen that she would never be safe as long as Jane lived.

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The Life of Lady Jane Grey (Part Three)

We ended Part Two of the series with the death of Edward VI on the 6th of July 1553. In this, the final article in the series, we will observe the short reign (13 days, not 9) of Queen Jane and discuss her execution.

If you’d prefer to listen to me discuss the topic you can do so here:

Heir to the Throne

On the 21st of June 1553, the Letters Patent was signed by 102 noblemen, London aldermen, bishops, archbishops and councillors – this was pretty much every politician that was available.These letters patent were issued stating that King Edward VI’s heir would be Lady Jane Grey, the daughter of Frances Brandon. Frances was the daughter of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon.But before we go too deep into that lets look at what had happened before Edward became King of England.

Will of Henry VIII

In the Will of Henry VIII it was laid out exactly how the King wished for it to be for his son as a young monarch. It was obvious that he wanted his son to have the best, and to continue on with the Tudor dynasty.

Here is the succession part of his will:

As to the succession of the Crown, it shall go to Prince Edward and the heirs of his body. In default, to Henrys children by his present wife, Queen Catharine, or any future wife. In default, to his daughter Mary and the heirs of her body, upon condition that she shall not marry without the written and sealed consent of a majority of the surviving members of the Privy Council appointed by him to his son Prince Edward. In default, to his daughter Elizabeth upon like condition. In default, to the heirs of the body of Lady Frances, eldest daughter of his late sister the French Queen. In default, to those of Lady Elyanore, second daughter of the said French Queen. And in default, to his right heirs. Either Mary or Elizabeth, failing to observe the conditions aforesaid, shall forfeit all right to the succession.

Edward’s Devise for Succession

When Edward VI created his Devise for Succession he wasnt trying to overthrow his fathers 1544 Act, he was merely trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bluff King Hal.

Edwards Devise for Succession had been sent to Parliament, just as his fathers had, unfortunately there would not be enough time for it to be passed prior to his death. If it had been passed things may have turned out differently.

Here is Edwards Devise for the Succession: Grey Inheritance

  1. For lack of [male] issue of my body to the male issue coming from this female, as I have after declared. To the Lady Frances male heirs if she have any such issue before my death, to the Lady Jane and her male heirs, to the Lady Katherines male heirs, to the Lady Marys male heirs, To the male heirs of the daughters which she shall have hereafter. Then to the Lady Margarets male heirs. For lack of such issue, to the heirs male of the Lady Janes daughters. To the heirs male of the Lady Katherines daughters, and so forth until you come to the Lady Margarets daughters heirs males.

There are four more paragraphs, if you’re interested in reading more I recommend using Google and searching “Devise for Succession” and you will fin your way around.

It wasnt even clear that Edward even had the authority to alter his fathers will, particularly as Parliament had granted Henry the right to dispose of the crown. Even the Chief Justice, Sir Edward Montague, had a hard time believing that Edwards devise would overthrow his fathers 1544 Succession Act – however, with a bit of royal and political pressure Sir Edward Montague was convinced to change his mind, and was given a pardon for his attempt to stop the Kings wishes.

Reluctant Queen

When the Duke of Northumberland informed Lady Jane Grey that Edward VI had died and that she would be his successor, Jane collapsed weeping and declared The crown is not my right and pleases me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir.Northumberland and Janes parents explained Edwards wishes to their anguished daughter; Jane accepted the crown as her duty: Declaring to them my insufficiency, I greatly bewailed myself for the death of so noble a prince, and at the same time, turned myself to God, humbly praying and beseeching him, that if what was given to me was rightly and lawfully mine, his divine Majesty would grant me such grace and spirit that I might govern it to his glory and service and to the advantage of this realm.

Mary Tells the Council She is Queen

Here is part of the letter from the Lady Mary that is dated the 9th of July 1553, and it was sent to the Lords of the Council but arrived to them on the 10th. At the beginning she discusses that she had heard of the death of her brother, the King and how much it saddened her. Then she dives right into the issue:

But in this so lamentable a case,/ that is to write, now/ after his Majestys departure and death, concerning the Crown and governance of this realm of England/, with the the title of France/, and all things thereto belonging, what hath been provided by Act of Parliament and the Testament and last will of our dearest Father, besides other circumstance advancing our right, you know, the realm, and the whole world knoweth, the rolls and records appear by the authority of the king our said Father, and the king our said brother, and the subjects of this realm, so that we verily trust that there is no good true subject, that is, can or would pretend to be ignorant thereof, and of our part we have ourselves caused, and as God shall aid and strength us, shall cause our right and title in this behalf to be published and proclaimed accordingly.

Queenly Proclamation

Unfortunately, for Mary the preparations for Janes proclamation were already under way and the following day Jane was proclaimed queen.

It was between four and five in the afternoon, Lady Jane Grey, her husband, Guildford Dudley, her parents and mother-in-law arrived by barge to the Tower of London. As the large Tower gates closed behind them, a blast of trumpets grabbed the crowd’s attention. It was there, that two heralds then proclaimed that Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England.

A Genovese merchant by the name of Sir Baptista Spinola, described the situation as such: Jane was wearing a green gown embroidered with gold, large sleeves and a very long train. Janes headdress was white and heavily jeweled. By her side was her young, tall and blonde husband, Guildford Dudley, dressed in white and gold – he appeared attentive to Janes needs. Spinola was apparently close enough to notice that Jane had small features and a well-made nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red. The eyebrows are arched and darker than her hair – which is nearly red. He also described her as thin and very small even though she was wearing platform shoes to increase her height. He was so close that he stated her eyes were sparkling and reddish-brown in color. It’s almost like he was standing right next to her.Unfortunately for all of us, that description by Sir Baptista Spinola was a work of fiction – literally. The first evidence of this observation goes back to a book by Richard Davey and Patrick Boyle in 1909 – men who were obviously not present at the time of the event. Because of that statement many portraits have been modeled after his fictional description.

Leanda de Lisle, author of The Sisters Who Would be Queen says that actual witnesses at the event reported that Guildford walked by Jane with his cap in his hand and that her mother was carrying her train.

I need to take a minute to address the train carrying. It was highly unusual for someone with the pedigree of Frances Brandon to carry the train of her own daughter. What on earth did Frances Grey do to upset both Henry VIII and Edward VI – to be removed from the succession and be replaced by your daughter? I have no idea…if you know, let me know, because I dont know.

After making the announcement at the Tower, the heralds then moved on to proclaim their message throughout London. From the beginning, there were many who felt an injustice had been done.

A boy lost both of his ears when he shouted out that it was Mary who was the rightful queen and not Jane. The reception Jane received was a cold one, for the most part, after the proclamation was read.

Here is part of the proclamation:

Jane by the Grace of God Queen of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, & of the Church of England, & also of Ireland under Christ in earth the supreme head. To all our most loving, faithful, and obedient subjects, and to every of them greeting. Where our most dear cousin Edward the Sixth, late King of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, and in earth the supreme head under Christ of the Church of England and Ireland, by his letters patentsigned with his ownhand, and sealed with his great seal of England, bearing date the 21st day of June, in the 7th year of his reign, in the presence of the most part of his nobles, his councillors, judges, and divers others.

It then goes on to explain the legitimacy, or lack there of for both Mary and Elizabeth. The truth was that Mary was a Catholic and Edward and his men had done all they could to rid England of Catholicism during his reign. Allowing Mary to inherit the throne after his death was seen unfavorably.

All throughout London, notices were hung to announce the new Queen for those who were not present for the hearlds announcement.

In The nine days queen, Lady Jane Grey, and her times by Richard Davey and Patrick Boyle – it says:

From every point of view, Queen Janes proclamation was ill-advised. It was very long-winded, even for that period, and the manner in which it dealt with the claims of Mary and Elizabeth, brutal in frankness, was well calculated to offend the Catholic powers, and cruelly wound the personal feelings of the late kings sisters.

As we continue with this timeline we cannot forget the Spanish – they were, of course, very interested in how things played out in England. Dated the 11th of July 1553, a letter was sent from the ambassadors in England for the Emperor – it said:

By way of news received since our last letter, we have heard that the Lady Mary, in spite of the considerations we submitted to her, has caused herself to be proclaimed Queen in Norfolk, and is continuing to do so in the neighbouring districts, both verbally and by means of letters. She has also written letters to the Council, which they received yesterday, declaring herself Queen. We have been told that when the letters arrived the Council were at the table, and were greatly astonished and troubled. The Duchesses of Suffolk and Northumberland, it is said, began to lament and weep. The Council commanded my Lord Grey to go and bring in the Lady Mary. They told him he would ride out the following day with a good number of horses.”

As we now know, Janes father did not go – he grew ill with fits that would weaken him for months – it is believed he suffered from stress and anxiety. I also need to address the part about the duchesses of Suffolk and Northumberland is most likely a made up story, as they would have never been allowed into the meeting.

The Council Pushes Back

The Council then responded to Lady Marys letter on the 11th of July by saying:

Madam, we have received your letters the ninth of this instant, declaring your supposed title, which you judge yourself to haue to the Imperial crown of this Realm, & all the dominions thereunto belonging. For answer whereof, this is to advertise you, that forasmuch as our sovereign Lady Queen Jane is after the death of our sovereign Lord Edward the sixth, a prince of most noble memory invested and possessed with the just and right title in the Imperial Crown of this Realme, not onely by good order of olde ancient laws of this Realme, but also by our late soveraigne Lordes Letters patentes signed with his own hand, and sealed with the great seal of England in presence of the most part of the Nobles, Counsellors, Judges, with divers other graue and sage personages, assenting & subscribing to the same: We must therefore as of most bo?nd duty and allegiance assent unto her said Grace, and to none other, except we should (which faithful subjects can not) fall into grievous and unspeakable enormities. Wherefore we can no lesse do, but for the quiet both of the realm and you also, to advertise you, that forasmuch as the divorce made between the king of famous memory K Henry the 8 & the Lady Katharine your mother, was necessary to be had both by the everlasting lawes of God, and also by the Ecclesiastical lawes, & by the most part of the noble & learned.

Crown Jewels and Coronation

The following day, on the 12th of July 1553, Mary traveled roughly thirty miles moving from Kenninghall to Framlingham Castle. It was at Framlingham that she really began to rally support. On that same day, the Lord Treasurer William Paulet, brought Jane the crown jewels, even though she claimed she never asked for them. It was decided that her coronation would not be for at least a couple of weeks, so there was no need. at the moment, for her to have the crown jewels in her possession.

It makes me curious, why would the Duke of Northumberland not push Jane for a quicker coronation. Had the ceremony been performed immediately there would have been no question who the Queen was – she may have been considered a usurper but she would have been anointed by God. When Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, inherited the crown of England it took her so long to return to England from the continent that her cousin Stephen jumped at the chance and was crowned King Stephen before she had the opportunity to claim it. Things like that actually happened. This is the very reason the Duchess of Northumberland wanted Jane in London while the king was dying, so she would be ready. Why didnt Northumberland schedule an immediate coronation? It makes me curious. With that question in mind I contacted my friend Claire at The Anne Boleyn Files – Claire knows a lot about the time period and it generally my go to person when I have nagging questions. Claire said that a coronation took much time to plan and that is why she believed it wasnt done immediately. In my opinion, if they were worried, they could have rushed the plans and made it less of a spectacle.

While the stories we are often told of Jane are of her weeping at the thought of being queen, the truth is that she was performing the duties of a monarch. And every day,Jane signed letters and papers with her name – Jane the Quene If she was reluctant I do not believe she would have signed it as such. Ive always believed that she may not have wished the role at the beginning, but once she was in it she would fulfill her duties properly.

Jumping Ship

For the next three days Mary’s supporters and forces grew. She gained support from men such as Sir Edward Hastings; Henry Radclyffe, Earl of Sussex; Sir Thomas Cornwallis; Thomas, Lord Wentworth; Sir Henry Bedingfield; John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. These men are big names for Mary to have on her side. In addition to them were many prominent families of eastern England. Mary was proclaimed Queen in various counties and towns due to her efforts.

On the 15th of July the tide really began to turn against Jane when the royal ships guarding the Eastern coast for ‘Queen Jane’ swapped their allegiance to ‘Queen Mary’. Their crews had not been paid, and they received a visit from Sir Henry Jerningham (grandson of William Kingston – that name should sound familiar) asking them to support Mary instead, so it was an easy decision. It makes one wonder why they hadnt been paid.

Now, you are probably interested in hearing more about these ships and what happened:

A man by the name of Robert Wingfield accompanied Jerningham who had heard about the ships off the coast by a drunken sailor, and the following morning (15th) found the ship beached at Landguard Point. Wingfield documented what happened:

Very early the next day Jerningham, accompanied by Tyrrell and Glemham, rode up to inspect the ships thus brought to the haven by a lucky tide and wind, as they say. When they had reached the haven he ordered Richard Brooke, the squadrons commander, a diligent man and skilled in seamanship, to be called to him, and took him to Framlingham castle to bring news of this happy and unexpected arrival to the queen.

I dont know anymore than that. They brought the commander of the ship to see Mary and then the ships switched allegiance. Could it have been because Mary paid him the money that had been owed by Queen Janes establishment? Or maybe she just offered to pay in the future. Either way, they turned sides.

The Spy Talks

On the 15th of July 1553, a letter was sent from a spy in France to the Emperor. The emperor had great interest in the events at English court. His cousin, Mary, was supposed to be Queen. France was looking at aiding the Duke of Northumberland in securing Jane.

The letter said:

“The present courier, who is returning in haste to Italy,will only give me time to write a few words; but it will be enough if your lordship learns the most important news. The King of England died on the 7th, and the wife of the son of the man who was formerly governor (i.e.Northumberland) was suddenly elevated to the throne, and took possession of London Tower with great pomp. The Emperor’s cousin retreated to some place in England. The said governor’s son followed her with 300 horse; and it is thought he will arrest her if he can. The said governor has written post-haste to the King here, and if there is trouble in England I am sure the King will not fail to help him with all his forces, both from here and from Scotland. Within two days’ time he is going to send M. de Gy (the French ambassador) and the Bishop of Orleans to encourage the said governor, and offer him all the help he may need. There is some hope that this sudden change may give rise to an alteration for good in religious matters. God grant it may be so!”

Jane Fights Back

In the meantime, Jane continued to send letters to sheriffs and Justices of the peace and demanded their allegiance, saying: Remain fast in your obeisance and duty to the Crown Imperial of this realm, whereof we have justly the possession. Jane was determined to maintain her role.

The Chronicle of Queen Jane also reports that at around 7pm on 16th of July “the gates of the Tower upon a sudden were shut, and the keys carried up to the Queen Jane”. Jane had ordered guards to be setup all around the Tower to help her maintain her possession of it.

A couple of days later, on the 18th Queen Jane began to raise more troops. She had been upset and sent letters to those who would betray. She was sure that these rebels lacked the heart to continue on with their mission. She said these men should receive such punishment and execution as they deserve. But unfortunately her show of force was too little too late, the tide had turned and all appeared lost.

A Change From Within

While the Duke of Northumberland, and his army made their way from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds to stand against Mary’s men, the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel called a council meeting and then betrayed Northumberland and Queen Jane. The men persuaded many council members that Mary’s claim to the throne was legitimate.

It was after the council had turned that men began to run through the streets shouting, the Lady Mary is proclaimed Queen!

Enemies of the State

With Mary now considered Queen of England, Jane, her father, the Duke of Northumberland and Guildford Dudley were now enemies of the state. There had to be consequences for usurping the throne.

So the Councils soldiers arrived at the Tower, and Janes father, Henry Grey was there to speak with them. They informed him that all was lost and that he must have his Tower guards put down their weapons. Grey complied. They also told him to he must remove himself from the Tower at once. Also, if he did not read the proclamation that Mary was his Queen in public he would be arrested. Henry Grey once again complied.

Queen No More

Grey had the unfortunate duty of informing his daughter that all was lost and that she was no longer Queen of England. Jane gracefully held her composure and reminded her father that it took much convincing at the beginning for her to accept the crown.

The Duke of Northumberland was quick to pledge his allegiance to the merciful Queen Mary as well. If this had been Marys father, all those involved would have easily been executed for treason.

Jane was moved from the royal apartment to a small house next to the royal apartments within the Tower. Her husband was placed in the Beauchamp Tower close by.

Northumberland may have believed himself safe but on the 25th of July 1553, he and his sons Ambrose and Henry arrived at the Tower. The following day his son Robert Dudley and William Parr both arrived as well. On the 27th of July, Janes was saddened to see her father arrive at the Tower – they had all hoped that Northumberland would take the fall for the entire event.

Fighting for her Family

On the 29th of July, Janes mother and cousin to the Queen, Frances Brandon paid a special visit to Queen Mary. It was at this meeting that Frances pleaded with Mary that her family were the victims of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Mary agreed to release Henry Grey the following day, but Jane was charged with treason had to stay in the Tower – it was too dangerous for Mary to release her.

Queen Mary

On the 3rd of August, Queen Mary made her formal entry into London. With her procession of nobles and courtiers took claim of the Tower of London.

While this battle for the throne was shrouded in religion, Queen Mary made a point of issuing a conciliatory proclamation which promised a settlement of religion by common consent – and said that people, in the meantime, should live under the religion they thought best. This was a smart move by Mary. Most people were terrified that she would immediately return England to Catholicism.

Treason Trial

On the 13th of November, Jane, her husband Guildford and his brothers Ambrose and Henry were tried for treason. The trial was public and was held at Londons Guuildhall. Jane Guildford were charged with high treason for taking possession of the Tower and proclaiming Jane as Queen. Jane was also charged with signing her name as Queen.

They were all found guilty as charged. The men were to be hanged, drawn and quartered and Jane was to be burned alive or beheaded. It was reported that Jane remained calm during her trial and sentencing. Jane was determined that her death would have meaning. During her time in the Tower as a prisoner she truly devoted herself to her religion and found comfort in it.

Eric Ives states in his book (Lady Jane Grey – A Tudor Mystery) that:

Jane faced imprisonment in the Tower positively. The loss of liberty was irksome, but the more she could, by Gods grace, triumph over hardships, the more confident should be be of her eternal destiny.

Even though Jane had been condemned to die there was no date given for her execution. It appeared at the time that her cousin, the Queen, might spare her life.

Wyatt’s Rebellion

Unfortunately for Jane, the year 1554 brought trouble, by way of Thomas Wyatt and Wyatts Rebellion. The point of the rebellion was to remove Mary from the throne and win it for Elizabeth (another Protestant) because Mary was looking at marrying a foreign prince, Philip of Spain. However, many believed at court that the intent was to place Jane back on the throne of England. But, as history tells, Wyatts Rebellion a failure – the only thing it succeeded in was the execution of Jane and her husband.


A resident in the Tower wrote this about the day of their execution:

The Monday, being the 12th of February, about ten of the clock, there went out of the Tower to the scaffold on Tower hill, the Lord Guildford Dudley, son to the late Duke of Northumberland, husband to the Lady Jane Grey, daughter the Duke of Suffolk, who at his going out took by the hand sir Anthony Brown, master John Throckmorton, and many other gentlemen, praying them to pray for him.

Guildford was led to the scaffold, where he said few words, kneeled down and said his prayers.

Then holding up his eyes and hands to God many times, and at last, after he had desired the people to pray for him, he laid himself along, and his head upon the block, which was at one stroke of the axe taken from him.

The same witness made account of Janes execution as well:

First, when she mounted upon the scaffold, she said to the people standing thereabout: Good people, I am come hether to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, in deed, against the queens highness was unlawfull, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my half, I do wash my hands thereof in innocence, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day, and therewish she wrung her hands, in which she had her book. Then she said, I pray you all, good Christian people, to bear me witness that I die a true Christian woman, and that I look to be saved by none other mean, but only by the mercy of God in the merits of the blood of his only son Jesus Christ; and I confess when I did know the word of God I neglected the same, loved myself and the world, and therefore this plague or punishment is happily and worthely happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God of his goodness that he hath thus given me a time and respite to repent. And now good people, while i am alive, I pray you to assist me with your prayers.

After reading a psalm from her book she stood up, and gave her gloves and handkerchief to Elizabeth Tilney, and her prayer-book to Master Thomas Bridges. She then untied her gown. The executioner went to assist her but she adamantly declined his offer and turned to her ladies. It was after all that that her eyes were covered with a blindfold.

The executioner then knelt down and asked for her forgiveness in which she willingly forgave the men for what he must do. She said to him, I pray you dispatch me quickly.

Blindfolded, Jane was unable to locate the block in front of her. She had a moment of panic and said, what shall I do? Where is it? A person nearby (it does not say whom) guided the frightened young woman to the block.

Her final words were, Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!

’Spain: July 1553, 11-15′, inCalendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, ed. Royall Tyler (London, 1916), pp. 80-90.British History Online [accessed 18 March 2018]


De Lisle, Leanda. ‘Three Sisters Who Would Be Queen‘.
Ives, Eric. ‘Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery‘.
Tallis, Nicole. ‘Crown of Blood’.
Jane Grey – The Tudor Society Monarch Series (Book 4)
Green, Mary Anne Everett Letters of royal and illustrious ladies of Great Britain, from the commencement of the twelfth century to the close of the reign of Queen Mary; Published 1846
Nichols, John Gough The chronicle of Queen Jane, and of two years of Queen Mary, and especially of the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt
Letters of royal and illustrious ladies of Great Britain, from the commencement of the twelfth century to the close of the reign of Queen Mary; by Green, Mary Anne Everett; Published 1846; pages 274-279
Tudor Society: Edward VI Chooses Lady Jane Grey as Heir

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Elizabeth, Queen of England (Part Three)

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Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England (Part Three)

The last article in this series on Elizabeth was two weeks ago because of Christmas, and since then my research and writing has been at a minimum. As I discussed on Facebook Ive been having a difficult time with this part of her life. The purpose of this series on Elizabeth was not only to share with all of you but to open my own eyes on the woman, the Queen, that Ive had little interest in. My interest has always been with her father, Henry VIII. Ive never been a big fan of Queen Elizabeth, only Princess and Lady Elizabeth Tudor. This series on her is a selfish one – one that will show me something about the adult Elizabeth that I was unaware of.

At the end of our last podcast we ended with Elizabeth under house arrest at Woodstock.At Woodstock Elizabeth was allowed to keep six of her own servants. Three men and three women. The women were with her constantly while the men could come and go. This made it easy for messages to be delivered.

Bedingfield was housing a woman who could easily outsmart his rules and there wasnt much he could do about. While he was doing a job for the crown, Bedingfield understood that one day Elizabeth would be Queen and he would have HER to answer to.

As a prisoner at Woodstock it was Elizabeths responsibility to pay for her jailer, Bedingfield, and his staff. She had to pay for their food and drink – so they were dependant on Elizabeth for sustenance.

While Woodstock was better than the Tower, Elizabeth hated her time there – If she had wished to escape her jail, there were a couple of options at her disposal: A coup detat was an option but that wouldnt be as easy as one would think. It was imperative to Elizabeth not to dethrone Mary or have her killed. Her biggest concern was the impact of repeated usurpation on the monarchy. First Lady Jane Grey and then Mary – an aggressive act on the part of Elizabeth could have caused doom for the Tudor dynasty.

The only other way out of her jail would have been to negotiate with her sister, the Queen. When Elizabeth told Bedingfield that she wished to send a letter to her sister he denied her request. As per the rules she was not supposed to communicate with anyone, including the Queen.

Bedingfield the smart man he was mentioned her request to write the Queen to the council. Their response, which obviously came from the Queen, was that she was pleased that Elizabeth should write.

The actual letter did not survive history but author David Starkey states that we know a broad outline from Marys response. Starkey states that Elizabeth professed her innocence. The Queen said that she was most sorry for having been suspicious of her sister but copies of letters had been found in the French ambassadors bag that appeared to implicate Elizabeth. Not only thats but the fact that she had been used as a figurehead for Wyatts Rebellion did bode well for Elizabeths cause.

Queen Mary had been quoted as saying, Conspiracies be secretly practised, and things of that nature be many times judged by probably conjectures and other suspicions and arguments, where the plain direct proof may chance to fail.

It was the actions of Elizabeths that showed her sister her guilt. The Queen was tired of her sisters disguise and colourable letters. She informed Elizabeth through a letter to Bedingfield that she must behave properly toward God which would eventually improve her behaviour toward the Queen herself.

When Elizabeth heard the contents of her sisters letter to Bedingfield her reaction was one of regret – she wished her letter would have had a better reaction from her sister. Just because she had a way with words did not ensure her safety and freedom. This had become obvious to her.

Eventually Elizabeth was given permission to approach the Council through the means of Bedingfield. Her plea to the Council was the she should be put on trial for the charges against her – and she wanted a face to face meeting with her sister. If both requests were denied than she requested the Council come to Woodstock to hear her case.

Elizabeth was an excellent lobbyist. The benefit for Elizabeth was that the Council was divided. There were those who understood that she could one day be queen herself, this meant the members of the council had to look out for themselves and their futures.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth would spend nearly a year at Woodstock. That is until she was summoned to court by her sister who was now married to Philip of Spain and believed to be with child. It was the 17 of April when Bedingfield received the letter. He was told by the Queen to bring Elizabeth at once.

Elizabeth arrived at court, which was being held at Hampton Court Palace sometime between the 24th and 29th of April. She did not have the grand entrance of a princess but was essentially snuck in the back door.

Mary had brought her sister to court to be there when she gave birth to her heir and to be present at the christening. Of course the heir would never come because she was not pregnant, only believed to be. But well get back to that a bit later.

During Elizabeths time at court, Prince Philip saw an opportunity to keep Elizabeth under his thumb and essentially the Queens as well. He wished for Elizabeth to marry his friend the Catholic prince, the Duke of Savoy. Elizabeth refused to be a pawn and the marriage never happened. Instead the Duke of Savoy married the daughter of King Francis I of France.

The first week of May brought more fear into Elizabeths life when she was summoned to the pregnant Queens rooms at ten at night. Elizabeth feared an assassination attempt. At this point she was aware that death could be around every corner awaiting her. This late night meeting with her sister was the first time in a year that Mary and Elizabeth had seen one another.

Little did Elizabeth know at the time but her new brother-in-law, Prince Philip was listening in on the conversation from behind a tapestry on the wall, he was very interested in how this all played out. You see, Philips interest was with Elizabeth- the much younger and prettier sister who could still provide an heir for England and Spain. His wife, Mary, the Queen of England had not yet given birth and many believed she had not been pregnant at all. But they dare not say it to the Queen.

Philips attitude toward the Protestant princess had recently changed. His eyes had turned from one sister to the other. Elizabeth…compared to her aging and less attractive sister was very appealing to Philip – he was a man nonetheless.

Philip had wed Mary to bring England on his side with Spains ongoing struggles with France and it had become obvious to Philip that his wife was not with child after all and that her womb only carried disease.

These were the things that made Elizabeth attractive to Philip. His fear was that if Mary died that the Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scots would inherit the Catholic throne of England. The Scottish Queen had extreme ties to the French throne through her engagement to the dauphin.

Elizabeth was fully aware of how the tide was changing in her favor and she took full advantage of the situation. While Elizabeth saw the events of the time turning in her favor, she also felt pity on her sister. The woman who once cared for her so much.

As the Queens pregnancy continued even her doctors believed she was still with child, they believed they had merely miscalculated her due date. This reminds me of her mother, Katherine of Aragons miscarriage when doctors believed she had been carrying twins and had miscarried one.

Even while her doctors continued to assume the pregnancy was valid, the women closest to the Queen knew that she was not with child at all. They had known her since childhood and had seen how Mary suffered during her monthly courses.

The Queens midwife and servant had witnessed her recently and were quoted as saying, that the Queens state was by no means of the hopeful kind generally supposed, but rather some woeful malady, for several times a day she spent long hours sitting on the floor with her knees drawn up to her chin. As we understand today that is not normal behavior for a pregnant lady. I could not imagine when I was at the end of my pregnancy bringing my knees to my chin. My belly was too firm and too big to do so.

We know that Marys womanly courses had never been normal and that she had suffered from a retention of her menstrual fluids and a strangulation of her womb. In my opinion, I believe Mary suffered from Endometriosis.

During her supposed pregnancy her body had swelled and her breasts had become swollen and produced milk – no wonder the doctors of the time believed her pregnant.

Four months after she had taken to her chamber Mary realized all was lost. At the beginning of August she snuck out of Hampton Court and slipped away to Oatlands Palace – the place her father had married Katheryn Howard…surely she was embarrassed that she had not been with child after all. She had let down England, Philip and herself.

Throughout all those months at Hampton Court while the Queen was lying-in, Elizabeth was by her sisters side. She had witnessed the heartache of her pain and the sadness of her mental state. Not only had this broken the Queens spirit but it had also done great damage to the Queens reputation in public.

On the 18th of October 1555, Elizabeth was finally given permission to leave court and head back to Hatfield. As she traveled through London on her way out the crowds cheered loudly for her. Elizabeth understood the danger of the crowds reaction to her and instructed her men to quiet them for fear of the Queen finding out.

Once at Hatfield her life was indeed better than it had been while at Woodstock. Bedingfield was no longer her jailer and only a month later Kat Ashley was allowed to rejoin Elizabeth.

In the meantime, Philip was summoned by his father, Charles V to attend to business in the Netherlands. When Queen Mary found out about the summons she wrote Charles asking Philip to stay – she needed him. Her appeals fell on deaf ears. When no child appeared Philip prepared to leave England. He had requested that his beautiful sister-in-law be present to bid him farewell – something that upset the Queen dearly.

In July 1556, Elizabeth had been informed that her former stepmother and great ally, Anne of Cleves had died. Annes will declared that the sisters should receive her best jewels. She was the last of Henry VIIIs wives to die. Her death would have affected Elizabeth deeply.

Around this time Philip had reluctantly returned to England – Mary was beside herself with happiness. The following summer he left once more and Mary once again believed herself with child.

In February 1558, Elizabeth visited her sister at Richmond Palace to give her sister well wishes on a safe delivery and probably to see for herself if Mary was indeed with child. Elizabeth presented the queen with baby clothes that she had made herself. A week later Elizabeth left Richmond to return to Hatfield.

Near the end of her life, Queen Mary once again reached out to her sister. Elizabeth returned to court per her sisters request. At court it had become obvious to everyone that the Queen was dying. She needed to name an heir and Elizabeth was the obvious answer, however, she was Protestant and this was difficult for Mary to acknowledge. Her husband even sent his confessor to Mary to persuade her to name Elizabeth as her heir. After much resistance she eventually gave in and told Philip that she was much pleased with his suggestion. While she agreed with Philip she did not formally acknowledge her choice.

On the 28th of October 1558, Mary updated her will and finally acknowledge that she would have no child and that crown should transfer to the next heir by law. She had not directly named Elizabeth but all knew who she meant. It wasnt until a week later that Mary finally relented and named Elizabeth her heir. Marys favorite lady, Jane Dormer was sent to deliver the Queens final wishes to Elizabeth. That she was to uphold the Roman Catholic faith, to be good to her servants and to pay her debts.

Elizabeth, being as evasive as ever was careful not to promise to fulfill all her wishes – in particular religion.

On the 17th of November 1558, at four or five in the morning, Queen Mary I died. Elizabeth was now Queen of England.

So thats where well end this show…Queen Mary was dead and Elizabeth was now Queen of England.

Read Part Four:Click Here/ Listen to Part Three:Click Here


Borman, Tracy; Elizabeths Women (2009)
Johnson, Paul; Elizabeth I – A Study in Power & Intellect (1974)
Starkey, David; Elizabeth – The Struggle for the Throne (2001)

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