Kept from the King


At some point, during Edward’s last illness, Princess Elizabeth sent the King the following letter, however, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland made sure the letter never reached her brother. This is noteworthy because it shows that Elizabeth had attempted to visit her brother, but had been stopped on her way there, and sent back:

PRINCESS ELIZABETH TO KING EDWARD VI. [Ellis’s ” Original Letters.” From the Harleian MSS.]

Like as a shipman in stormy weather plucks down the sails tarrying for better wind, so did I, most noble King, in my unfortunate chance on Thursday, pluck down the high sails of my joy and comfort, and do trust one day that, as troublesome waves have repulsed me backward, so a gentle wind will bring me forward to my haven. Two chief occasions moved me much and grieved me greatly, the one for that I doubted your Majesty’s health the other, because for all my long tarrying I went without that I came for. Of the first I am relieved in a part, both that I understood of your health, and also that your Majesty’s lodging is far from my lord Marquis’s chamber. Of my other grief I am not eased, but the best is that whatsoever other folks will suspect, I intend not to fear your Grace’s good will, which as I know that I never deserved to forfeit, so I trust will still stick by me. For if your Grace’s advice that I should return (whose will is a commandment) had not been, I would not have made the half of my way the end of my journey. And thus, as one desirous to hear of your Majesty’s health, though unfortunate to see it, I shall pray God for ever to preserve you.

From Hatfield, this present Saturday.

Your Majesty’s humble sister to commandment,


It appears that John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, played his cards so well that not only did he succeed in estranging the dying Edward VI from his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, but that he also persuaded the young King to alter the line of succession in favor of his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey and married his son, Guildford Dudley to the ill-fated Grey. What men would not do for power….


Source of Letter:

The Girlhood of Queen Elizabeth – A Narrative in contemporary letters; by Frank A. Mumby

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Edward VI Elizabeth l History Lady Jane Grey

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