Princess Elizabeth TudorOn this day in history, 1st July 1536, Parliament declared that Henry VIII’s two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were illegitimate. This meant that the King had no legitimate children, just three bastards, so the pressure was now on the King’s new wife, his third wife Jane Seymour, to provide a legitimate heir, and preferably a male one.

Trivia: The very first Parliament of Mary’s reign passed an act which overturned the annulment of Mary’s parents’ marriage, making her legitimate. Elizabeth, however, never overturned her parents’ annulment or made herself legitimate.

Also on this day in history:-

  • 1st July 1535 – The trial of Thomas More began. He was found guilty under the 1534 Treason Act and sentenced to death.
  • 1st July 1543 – Treaties of Greenwich signed – In these treaties between England and Scotland, it was agreed that Prince Edward would marry Mary Queen of Scots.

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9 thoughts on “1 July 1536 – Elizabeth and Mary Declared Illegitimate”
  1. Those girls had a tough life. It must have been hard to be forced through all of this. Legitimate, illegitimate, legitimate again. They really didn’t have solide ground to stand on because they had no idea what their father was going to do next. I am sure Henry loved his daughters but he really had flaws as a father.

  2. It was shameful, selfish, and a terrible thing to do to his own children. It must have been so humiliating for them, and heart breaking as they must have felt completely rejected by their own father.
    Poor girls I feel so sorry for them.

  3. Claire, where did you find out this was the date that Elizabeth and Mary were declared illigitimate? (I mean, the source) 🙂

    1. The Later Parliaments of Henry VIII, 1536-1547 by Stanford E. Lehmberg p 24 in the chapter on the second Act of Succession (1536). It was introduced the day before but given its first reading on the 1st July. It superseded the 1st Act of Succession (1534), which had made Mary illegitimate and Elizabeth the heir to the throne.

  4. Alison Weirs book called Children of England is very good I highly recommend it, in it she says that Edward may have been murdered by Dudley and hastily buried in a field somewhere and that in Westminster an imposter lies ‘ in state’, I wonder if that’s true, iv also read that tale in another biography by a different historian, when you consider all the intrigues that went on years ago and all for power and glory, Dudley was so determined to rule England he married his son to Jane Grey then had her proclaimed Queen, he underestimated Mary’s courage to fight for the throne, the stain of illegitemacy had hung over the two sisters for most part of their lives yet they were then both legitimised, the offspring of John of Gaunt by his mistress were also legitimised to yet of course they had been born out of wedlock in the first place, the fact that Henry did legitimise them in the end is a sign that he knew he had failed to provide England with healthy sons, Edward was his heir of course but maybe had knew he wouldn’t live long, the mortality rate being so high for his sons.

  5. It is a disgust, the way, that Elizabeth and Mary got done when they were growing up,
    because of the Old Goat, their father. In his mind, they weren’t good enough to reign.
    because they were young ladies. They got declared bastards because of their Mother’s
    down falls. Elizabeth and Mary could play nice while their Father was alive, then when
    Mary became Queen, she sent Elizabeth to the Tower of London.

    Both Elizabeth and Mary suffered, because of how their Old Goat of a Father treated
    his wives. The Old Goat need his arse kicked. Sadly there was nobody Man enough
    to kick Henry VIII’s arse.

      1. Yes,good point – Elizabeth had enough other problems to deal with during her long reign.

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