17 November 1558 – The Death of Mary I and the Accession of Elizabeth I

Mary I Hans EworthOn 17th November 1558, Henry VIII’s eldest child, Queen Mary I, died. She was just forty-two years-old.

After Easter 1558, Mary I made her will because she believed that she was pregnant. The birth should have been imminent because Philip departed in July 1557, yet there is no mention in the records of preparations being made such as nursery staff being appointed, remarks on her changing body shape, preparations for confinement etc. The pregnancy was all in Mary’s mind.

Mary’s health began to decline from that point on, although nobody seems to have been unduly worried at the time. In August 1558, Mary contracted a fever, and although she was able to fight that off, she was reported to be suffering from a “dropsy” at the end of September. At the end of October she made an addition to her will, and although she did not name Elizabeth, her half-sister, she did confirm that the throne would go to the next lawful heir, and that was Elizabeth. The Duke of Feria arrived at the English court on the 9th November and reported to his master, Mary’s husband Philip II of Spain, on the 14th November:

“there is… no hope of her life, but on the contrary each hour I think that they will come to inform me of her death, so rapidly does her condition deteriorate from one day to the next.”1

In her last days, Mary spoke of visions of angels, and of how the word “Calais” would be found written across her heart after her death. She received the ‘viaticum’, the special holy communion for the dying, on the 17th November, and was able to make the appropriate responses before she lapsed into unconsciousness, never to wake again. The exact time of her death is not recorded as it was not noticed, and she slipped peacefully away.

On Mary’s death, her twenty-five year-old half-sister, Elizabeth, became Queen. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth I was proclaimed Queen at around noon at Whitehall by the Houses of Lords and Commons who had been in session that morning. In the meantime, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton rode from London to Hatfield, carrying Mary’s ring to Elizabeth as proof that Mary was dead. Members of Mary’s council also made their way to Hatfield to see Elizabeth.

Elizabeth I CoronationAccording to tradition, Elizabeth was sitting under an old oak tree in the parkland around the palace of Hatfield, reading a book, when lords of the council disturbed her to give her the news. Overcome with emotion, she sank to her knees and said in Latin “This is the Lord’s doing: it is marvellous in our eyes”, from Psalm 118. Another story, told by Elizabeth’s godson, Sir John Harington, has Elizabeth making the following speech:

“My lords, the law of nature moveth me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me maketh me amazed; and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so I shall desire you all, my lords (chiefly you of the nobility, everyone in his degree and power), to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity in earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel. And therefore, considering that divers of you be of the ancient nobility, having your beginnings and estates of my progenitors, kings of this realm, and thereby ought in honour to have the more natural care for maintaining of my estate and this commonwealth; some others have been of long experience in governance and enabled by my father of noble memory, my brother, and my late sister to bear office; the rest of you being upon special trust lately called to her service only and trust, for your service considered and rewarded; my meaning is to require of you all nothing more but faithful hearts in such service as from time to time shall be in your powers towards the preservation of me and this commonwealth. And for council and advice I shall accept you of my nobility, and such others of you the rest as in consultation I shall think meet and shortly appoint, to the which also, with their advice, I will join to their aid, and for ease of their burden, others meet for my service. And they which I shall not appoint, let them not think the same for any disability in them, but for that I do consider a multitude doth make rather discord and confusion than good counsel. And of my goodwill you shall not doubt, using yourselves as appertaineth to good and loving subjects.”2

Extract from On This Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.

Also on this day in history…


  • 1558 – Death of Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary I’s Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace in London. He had been ill since September 1558 and died after hearing news of Mary I’s death. He lay in state at the palace for forty days before being buried at Becket’s Corona in Canterbury Cathedral.

Notes and Sources

  1. Quoted in Tudor Queens of England, D. M. Loades (2009), p206
  2. Nugae antiquae : being a miscellaneous collection of original papers, in prose and verse; written during the reigns of Henry VIII. Edward VI. Queen Mary, Elizabeth, and King James. Selected from authentic remains by the late Henry Harington, and newly arranged, with illustrative notes, Sir John Harington, Henry Harington and Thomas Park (1804), p66-68

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34 thoughts on “17 November 1558 – The Death of Mary I and the Accession of Elizabeth I”
  1. We can only speculate as to the cause of Mary’s death, but it might have been a rapidly growing tumour or fibroid that turned cancerous. We are very lucky that medicine is no longer confined to treating the ‘humours’.

    Court must have been a sad place to be on this day in 1558. Hatfield, on the other hand, must have had the most overwhelming atmosphere of relief oo hearing the news. I wonder what was going through Elizabeth’s mind as she saw the messengers coming towards her?

    1. Melanie, the dramatic tension in the juxtaposition of the two locations boggles my little mind. While not historically accurate, in the film ‘Elizabeth’ with Cate Blanchett, I did like the way Ang Lee (director) had Elizabeth stepping into a very bright light as the couriers apprached. It was such a beautifully-wrought statement dividing her previous life of fear to her glorious reign, beloved by her people.

      1. I think like you Melanie that we can only speculate what Mary died from, it could be what you have said, or ovarian cancer perhaps. I’m no Doctor, but with it being mentioned that she had a bout of dropsy a short while before may have been an indicator of organ failure, such has the heart or kidneys, even deep vein blood clots, these things are so easy to pick up on now, but then medicine was not far from a guessing game. What ever caused her death, at least she passed away peacefully, peace was not something she had a lot of in life.

      2. The symbolic use of Elizabeth emerging into the light on the news of her accession is a not very subtle device by the directors. However, having said that, most people probably didn’t make the symbolic connection even when they thought about the film after they had seen it.

        20/20 vision with hindsight sees Elizabeth’s accession as heralding a Golden Age, but how much of that is a Victorian construct in order to re-establish the monarchy as something benign in the minds of the English people, after the excesses of The Prince Regent? You only have to look at the Houses of Parliament and know a bit about how they came to be a Victorian take on Tudor architecture to realise the Victorian establishment were making a very definite statement about Empire.

  2. Elizabeth’s transition from fearful heretic to anointed queen was beautifully presented in the movie starring Cate Blanchett. The director was Shekhar Kapur not Ang Lee.

  3. While I do not see this as the start of a glorious reign, as for Catholics it was the start of a long reign of terror; I can well imagine her making the quote she is said to have above, and the speech is more likely to have been made in Parliament than her garden at Hatfield. I have learned that many authors traditionally liked to put great speaches in the mouths of famous leaders. It sort of built them up for a good introduction. Boudicca and other strong warriors were given big speeches to say, even though we do not really know that they said them or what they said; but quoting from a psalm was crediable as these people had an inner true sense of their own destiny and importance: saw themselves called by God and so they used these moments to praise God and acknowledge His part in their destiny. In Elizabeth’s case she may have seen herself called as a deliverer to rule or that this was her delivery; we cannot really know but she chose a very apt quote nonetheless.

    It is only Elizabethan propaganda that she was beloved of her people as in the North it is clear that she was not so much. In the midlands there was also support for Mary Queen of Scots just as here in the north. The supression of the Catholic Faith started almost within a few years with the arrest on a large scale for Catholics attending Mass and the Northern Rebellion written in 2010 gives a lot of evidence that she diverted from her alleged desire for a middle way almost at once. There is much to commend the reign as well, art, poetry, literature, drama, music and many other things, but there was also war with Spain and France, poverty and famine, witch trials and fear and terror. Nothing much different to any other reign in fact.

    Elizabeth was lucky in that she was healthy and that she was only 25 when she came to the throne. She was lively, enthusiastic, loved life and danced well. Like her sister, she was well read and learned and a champion of such learning. She loved music and encouraged the very best from Europe and from England. She loved to ride and she expressed the very life that she adored. She hunted and hawked and her court was full of colour and life. Mary was unfortunate that she was not married in her youth and was too old to have a healthy child and was 38 when she came to the throne; or she may have also have ruled for a long time and had a healthy child to continue to Tudor dynasty.

    But Elizabeth was also a fool. She let the Tudor dynasty end and opened her reign up to challenge. By not providing England with a direct heir or indicating who would succeed her she opened England up to anyone who She had the prospect of succession; Mary, Queen of Scots had a good claim, as did her cousins the Seymours and the Howards. She had the unfortunate belief that no-one was worthy of ruling at her side and refused to marry, not wanting any of the candidates that came to her as they would not in her view be good for England. She had hands offered from both Catholic and Protestant Princes and Kings but could not choose any of them. This meant that she had no children and several contenders came forward to put forth legal claims. It also made her jealous of her ladies in waiting and of her cousin Mary when she had a son or they got married and had sons. She placed in the Tower Margaret Douglas and Catherine Grey and many others for marrying and having sons and heirs. The number of good claims is not known but they even included Arabella Stuart and Donna Isabella of Spain. A marriage and the birth of her own heir would have quieted the country and stopped all these claims making her the terrified and jealous woman that she became as she aged.

    Elizabeth was criticised by her council as she ran after Robert Dudley and she was even rumoured to have a hand in the death of his wife Amy. Amy, of course was not killed but died after she fell down a flight of stairs and she may have had cancer, making her bones brittle and causing her to fall, But Elizabeth feared those rumours and would not let Dudley back at court until both of them were cleared. But the criticism continued and she had other favourites that gave very much the rumours that these people wanted to share her throne. None of them were not worthy to do so; but some had older better claims than Elizabeth. One: the Earl of Essex was so jealous that he directly tried to steal her crown when she rejected him, as he wanted power. But she would have no-one above her or at her side; that was seen as her wise choice but it may also be seen as foolish; as she opened the door to all of these challenges by not naming or providing an heir.

    The theatre was opened up to the people and we have the greatness of Shakespeare to remember as well as very lovely buildings and artists. But there was also defeat in Ireland and war with Spain. Yes, Elizabeth’s seamen defeated the Amarda in 1588, but that was helped with the wind and the storms and the loss ofr formation as the ships sailed around our shore. Also our guns were better made for sea; they had only land guns and it could be said that Elizabeth was lucky as the measure of the fleets was not that great. Strong Elizabethan propaganda played a role in the building up of the defeat of the Armarda and that shows that her propaganda machine was a strong one. Her reign just the same as anyone else is being re-evaluated and not seen so much as the perfect golden age anymore.

    Elizabeth’s age had much to recommend it but it was not a golden age and also had many things wrong with it. Elizabeth may have been a great queen and a learned woman, but she had her faults. Her jealousy was well known and her temper fearsome, making her Henry’s daughter, but she was also a spoilt brat and that opened herself up to threats and her land to uncertainty and revolt and warfare. A good marriage and an heir would have given England stability; something that evaded her; making the country even more prosperous. It is true that the age is recalled for the exploration and treasures; but this had begun under Mary and Henry, and as for the treasures these were stolen from cultures all over the earth and from the Spanish and Portugese ships. May-be they should be returned to them.

    This day we remember before God the gracious and faithful soul of Mary, true child of the true faith. True Princess and true Queen of England; daughter of Katheine of Aragon and Henry VIII, true heir of England. May she rest in peace and may Eternal Light shine upon her. Amen.

    1. I find it heard to think of Mary as gracious as she was most harsh to those who did not follow her religion. IN truth whether you see Mary as Devil and Elizabeth as saint or vice versa rather depends on ones own religion. IN reality both were pretty brutal to those of the “wrong faith” in their eyes.

      In pure Poltical terms Mary lost England Calais. The Elizabethan age in contrast was one of increasing power for England. Elizabeth was more successful than Mary Politically. Elizabeth’s main error was not leaving an heir.

      1. I do agree with you Mr.Denning about Elizabeth’s main error being that she left no heir.I still wonder what if a lot in that matter.I guess it was too great a risk to her.But then again I also think she would have married Robert Dudlley in the beginning of her reign had he not been already married at that time.I think once that option was taken from her she didn’t want to have anymore to do with marriage.

        As her reign progressed she used it as a political tool and perhaps as well to feed her vanity.I am not so sure about the religion part though.I think people choose which queen they like better by their personalities and the success of their reigns.After all they both murdered people based on their religions.

      2. Paul Doherty”s, the Secret Life of Elizabeth I, has some compelling evidence that perhaps Elizabeth may well have produced a child. I have unearthed some visual evidence that suggests such an heir may have existed. If you accept Doherty’s academic argument and have read my novel, The Truth of the Line, then we both hope we are adding to the debate about the existence of Arthur Dudley by putting this written and visual evidence out for people to think about.

        As to why Elizabeth played the marriage game, but never committed to anyone, then a comprehensive study of the status of married women has to be done. In a nutshell, in England women only ceased to be chattels of their husbands on 1st January 1974 with the enactment of the Matrimonial Causes Act on this date. Up until that time, women were subject to their father’s, husband’s or brothers. Elizabeth recognised this so perhaps, and I say perhaps because I’m not claiming I know, she had a dark secret, but one that would continue the Tudor line.

        I wrote a guest article for Claire last year. When MadeGlobal launched The Truth of the Line last week, it appeared again, so you can read it and see what evidence I unearthed and where it is.

        1. I still want to read both books and I have no doubt Arthur Dudley existed thanks to the people at the spanish who were there when he washed ashore on their coast.It’s only a matter of who he was not if he was.But I am very interested to read your theories.I would find it strange though if she did produce a child and then actually expected him to wear a crown as he would have been illegitimate.That doesn’t seem to mesh with all we know of Elizabeth.

      3. What you said there Richard Denning is very true and to the point.

        When judging historical characters one’s own personal beliefs should be put aside to try and get a more even picture, instead of trying to create ‘goodies and baddies’.

  4. Great post, I love that you included about the angelic visions, great sources. I haven’t read Loades in three years almost but his book on Mary is one of the more detailed.

    1. Yea! Angelic visions! 🙂 I like the term! 😀 Has anyone had them here? Ever before I would think not yet as none of us are dying maybe when that day comes we might just have like her! Maybe it is only something we get upon death bed dying!

  5. i do get the many points people have made about both mary and elizabeth and have to admit elizabeth s reigh is painted in a better light . not sure if it is true as we cant get inside the mind of a person . but elizabeth may have had hang up s about marrige from her childhood and to be honest seeing your father married four times and the way her mother and stepmother were put to death it would affect anyone deep down that why i think mary and elizabeth both had issuse about family and mary i think both as a queen and a woman wanted a child it was probley very hard for her and took a toll on her health aswell . from what ive read olso it seems the protestans got a very hard time under mary hence the nick name bloody mary still i would like to see a film about her telling her story as they did with elizabeth both fascinateing woman .

  6. There are some issues which Bandit Queen raises which I find I am unable to agree with.
    Had Elizabeth married a foreign prince England would have been ruled by a foreign power. Queen Mary’s marriage to Phillip of Spain is a case in point and proved very unpopular with the English public. Had Elizabeth married an English noble man it would have produced jealousies in the English court as was the case with Mary Queen of Scots and her unfortunate marriages in Scotland. I am persuaded that Elizabeth was wise enough to see the perils and avoided them very well indeed. History has shown that there was a relatively peaceful transfer of power when she died and James became King in her place.
    Bandit Queen is correct when she writes about religious intolerance. To punish people for holding onto sincerely held views be they Catholic or Protestant is wrong, although in Elizabeth’s day there was a political dimension to this inasmuch as the Pope had declared her illegitimate and therefore was virtually inviting people to assassinate her.

    1. Here Here!! Trevor. fully agree.

      Nothing is black or white…to miss out the grey give a poor perspective and a one-sided view.

    2. Both ladies would have been much better off had they married younger and produced children that could have given England stability in religion and political settlements. They would have benefited as would the country from the point of view of strong alliances had they the same as many other dynastic princesses married well with Spain, France, Germany, Denmark or any of the other powers in Europe. But Henry could not make up his mind over his allies, played one power off against another, allowed himself to be played by both parties, and with his marriage ambitions ended up not allowing either daughter to make a good match. Elizabeth could not even marry in her late teens as she was no longer a prosepect in European eyes; although her father left her and Mary rich and secure. Protestant England was issolated.

      The reigns of both Mary and Elizabeth reflected the fall out from the Reformation and the religious changes that swept through Europe were mirrored in how each woman was forced by the turn of events in their lives to cope with the threats that they were under by rebellious subjects who wanted to replace them with someone of their opposite religion. Mary like Elizabeth was threatened by those who would replace her with another candidate; Lady Jane Grey; or by those who simply used her marriage to Philip of Spain as an excuse to move her of the throne by violence and to kill her. Wyatt led a rebellion for this purpose even though Mary did nothing wrong. She sought the advise of her people and her Parliament and her council and would not do anything about her marriage without their consent. She even fell on her knees and dramatically asked them for their advice in this matter. Her marriage to Philip was accepted by people, council and Parliament, save a few rebels under Wyatt. The treaty to marry Philip was made certain that he did not have anything to do with the religion of the country or political say in the affairs of the country. Wyatt would have killed Mary as this is the way that all usurped monarchs end up; so any perceived threat against Elizabeth is no different to that against Mary.

      Unfortunately the seeds of discontent in both reigns were sown much earlier with the divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the marriage to Anne Boleyn. The changes of religion that were then forced on the country under Edward VI and the reverse of this and back again made such acts of discontent inevitiable. Mary and Elizabeth sadly saw their mothers mistreated, the latter executed and the former put aside and treated poorly for years. It is no wonder that they had unorthodox attitudes to marriage themselves; but Elizabeth only has herself to blame for varied dynastic challenges to her rule. Mary married and attempted to gain an heir, but it was too late; but by not marrying at all or appointing a clear line of succession Elizabeth left the country open to the many cousins and claiments that followed.

      1. Really if anyone is to blame for the lack of the Tudor dynasty to produce heirs, it is Henry VIII. By bastardising both Mary and Elizabeth (thereby effectively destroying their ability to make a good diplomatic match) during his reign, he was gambling all on Edward living long enough to continue the dynasty – a gamble which failed.

        Had Elizabeth or (especially) Mary been married off before they became Queen, it would have allowed any opposition to the choice of husband (whether foreign or English) time to settle. Instead, both had to wrestle with the issue as a sovereign, by which time there was the added peril of marriage potentially compromising their regal authority. Mary’s choice of Philip of Spain was rather ill-advised politically but it’s likely that she was too old by the time of her accession to produce an heir anyway. I suspect that had it not been so politically awkward, Elizabeth would have married Robert Dudley – being the Virgin Queen came about through necessity rather than choice.

        I certainly don’t think it’s fair to blame Elizabeth for not producing an heir and facing multiple claimants. She had the unique position of being the last in the direct line (a problem Mary didn’t have, even if she didn’t much want her direct heir to succeed her!), an unmarried woman in a religiously uncertain era whose choice of husband was bound to alienate at least some of her subjects regardless of who was chosen. Her own experience as a focal point of discontent in her sister’s reign meant she was hardly going to recognise an heir explicitly and anoint them as a potential replacement, particularly when the chief claimant was Mary Stuart. The path she followed was unconventional for sure, but is understandable given her own experiences and the situation before her when she succeeded.

        It must have meant for a nervy time for her ministers not knowing who would succeed in the event of her death, but actually it seems fairly clear reading between the lines that Elizabeth never seriously considered anyone other than Mary Stuart and later her son James as a real contender – the Grey line was favoured by some ministers for their Protestantism but never by her, and likewise Arbella Stuart had no serious backing.

        It was a risky strategy, but in fact it was a success – on her death, James succeeded peacefully and Protestantism continued.

        1. Vermillion
          I do agree with you saying that HenryVlll was to blame for the lack of heirs to the tudor dynasty and had he just arranged marriages for Mary and Elizabeth things would have been different.But I think he did really too heavily on Edward which if he had been thinking so seriously about the future(like everyone claims)he would have made far reaching plans that included any problems that might come about.Obviously,I guess he wasn’t that big of a planner.

          I also I agree Elizabeth would have married Dudley had he not been already married and there were no scandals involving him at the begiinning of her reign.If the marriage took place then there wouldn’t have been the large factions that developed around him as time went on.There probably would have been less objection to his becoming consort.

  7. Mrsfeinnes, you are very right, but that’s the problem of having an illegitimate child – plus, if she did, how did she manage to keep it secret? it is possible with corsets, but then there’s the physical labour, which is not a painless event even today.

    However, whether or not she expected Arthur to succeed her I think it was more a case of ensuring he stayed safe (if he existed), but why does the Attici Amoris Ergo miniature have 1588 – coincidentally the date of the Armada?

    Why was the individual who called himself Arthur Dudley allowed to go abroad in 1584? Doherty has examined the papers in the Escorial which document Philip II’s close questioning of the individual who was shipwrecked on the Spanish with papers saying he was ARthur Southron. He then claimed he was Arthur Dudley, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth & Robert Dudley and Philip believed him. HOwever, there are also documents from Walsingham’s agent at the Escorial who say that he died in his sleep.

    Doherty’s book isn’t as far as I know, available on Kindle, but mine is and there is a bibliography with prime and secondary sources.

    Perhaps, and this might sound callous, Elizabeth didn’t want to make any statements about a child (if he existed) because she knew she would be dead when/if he made a claim for the throne.

    Elizabeth was the mistress of doublespeak and we will never know for sure whether she and Dudley had a child. I merely suggest an alternative meaning for the Attici Amoris Ergo image and motto and tell the story through the eyes of Elizabeth’s favourite miniature portrait painter, Nicholas Hilliard.

    As for shades of Grey, nothing was black and white with Elizabeth, despite these being her personal livery colours.

    1. Melanie Taylor,I have read some of Mr. Doherty’s theories just not his entire book and looking back at some of the things you have said here make it seem plausible that Arthur could have been Elizabeth and Robert’s son.So yes. I can kind of see how it could have been possible.I just have to point out that Arthur was found on the spanish coast with the natural enemies of England who would probably do or say anything to damage the country.I suppose that could include claiming Elizabeth and her lover had a child thereby ruining her reputation as a virgin queen.Don’t get me wrong though I want to believe that Arthur could have been their child.

      If Elizabeth did find herself pregnant Mr,Doherty’s and your theories combined would make the most convincing solution about how she would go about handling the problem.I could actually see her doing some of the things that were suggested.But I am still not convinced it is the truth.

      As for the matter about which queen was all saint or all devil I would pick neither. Both women had their good and bad qualities.Both made terrible mistakes that cost them much in the end.

      1. Mrsfiennes, The truth will never be known. The title of my book is a quote from Hilliard’s draft Treatise of 1598 and the novel is about him and his relationship with Elizabeth. I identified an Unknown Lady portrait of his when I was doing my Master’s in Medieval & Early Modern Studies at Kent, and part of the story is an interpretation of a motto and enigmatic image of an Unknown Young Man with the motto Attici Amoris Ergo that is in the V&A, and painted by Hilliard. However, the novel is about Hilliard and his place in history and what it was like to be an artist at this time. He was the first great English artist and had an international reputation. As he was in close proximity to his sitters he states in his treatise that it is very necessary to have a reputation for discretion. This suggest he was told secrets. His patrons were Walsingham, Burghley, Dudley in addition to Elizabeth, so he was well in with the worthies of his day.

        I do not claim to know the truth, but the images in the National archives on the front of the Coram Rege Rolls for the years 1560 to 1561 are intriguing. These were likely to have been executed by Levina Teerlinc, who had served four Tudor monarchs as a royal limner since 1546 until 1576, and it is she who is thought to have taught Hilliard the art of illumination.

        We will never know the truth, but Hilliard may have!

    2. The Spanish found a young man who in 1587 claimed to be Author Dudley the son of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. They must have been delighted and taken the claim seriously; but such a person even if he was real could not have succeeded to the throne. The Doherty book is now available on Kindle if anyone is interested and the hardback is only 50p on the market place onwards. I have not read either as yet, but recall the story from the documentary of the same title on National Geo Channel and History Channel. Another book claims that the Earl of Oxford was her son, he was also meant to be Shakespeare; although I do not give credence to any of these stories. I do not believe Elizabeth was a lily white virgin either and her relationship with Dudley although foolish, was genuine and passionate.

      1. Bandit Queen, there are many who are attributed as her son – Francis Bacon is another. It’s strange how the stories just won’t go away!

        I agree, Philip must have rubbed his hands with glee when this young man claiming to be Arthur Dudley, got washed up on the coast near Santander. Philip had known both Dudley and Elizabeth, and Dudley had served in the Spanish army with his brother Ambrose, in Low Countries after they were released from the Tower. Perhaps the shipwrecked young man had sufficient likeness to Elizabeth & Dudley to convince Philip of his claim, which is why I compare the portraits all by Hilliard.

        It is cruel that the young man died at Philip’s court in such strange circumstances so soon after the defeat of the Armada. Was this Philip wreaking revenge on his enemy’s rebellious child? We shall never know, but it does look that way.

  8. I find it ironic that the same time the “Queen” falls ill the “Cardinal” does too the “Archbishop of Canterbury” not to mention just dies shortly afterwards after her! Was it just a coincidence? Too much of a coincidence if you ask me! Mary’s reign was very short lived her sister Elizabeth ruled for much longer! It is sad that after Henry tried for many children his children did not do the same! Even though Mary had been a mad fanatic catholic One has too feel sorry for her thinking she had been pregnant when all the whole she had been dying! Her husband always being abroad and away at sea ruling his own country! Like their grandfather settled the houses I would of thought that one of them would have tried to have settled the two religions but neither of the last remaining Tudors did which I find such a shame it would of meant less conflict and less war! Rest in peace!Mary and Rest in peace Cardinal Reginald Pole Archbishop of Canterbury Rest in peace! Long live the “Queen”! 🙂

  9. am not sure i beleave ellizabeth had a love child would it had not been reported or leaked it was very hard to keep secrets at court at any point . i seen the documentry and there was olso one about her being a boy .i find that very hard to beleave even if henry did not see her that much i think he still would have noticed if she been swaped for a boy .

    1. Gemma, Bram Stoker published a story about Elizabeth being a boy – Victorian melodrama at its most commercial. He was broke and this was probably a great little earner for him. I agree, Henry wasn’t a fool, neither were those who looking after Elizabeth. They wouldn’t have risked their lives by trying to fool the capricious king, and child mortality was common.

  10. In response to BanditQueen I guess we will just have to differ in opinion as to whether or not the two queens would have been better off married. Its one of the beauties of reading history. There is an oddity in all of this in that King Henry allowed his children to be brought up in the different faiths.Mary I can understand because at heart Henry was always a Catholic and Queen Katherine was also a very devout believer. As Queen, Elizabeth had to be a protestant otherwise she would have had to follow the Pope declare herself illegitimate and therefore disqualify herself from the throne. However as a child why was brought up Protestant as was Prince Edward who was never considered illegitimate. To say that Henry needed the support of the reformers to achieve his ends only applied whilst Queen Katherine was alive.
    I am persuaded that the reason Queen Elizabeth’s image makers portrayed heras the Virgin Queen was as a replacement in the minds of the people for the removal of the virgin Mary as an object of veneration, although I would imagine this would have intensified the opposition to her from the Catholic population in the country.

  11. thanks melanie . i did not no bram stoker wrote a book about elizabeth being a boy . he olso one of my favoutrtes am watching the new dracula on sky at the moment .

  12. Mary died to the sound of angels singing, Elizabeth died worried and troubled. Mary knew peace, Elizabeth didn’t and yet she stole Mary’s legacy with her propaganda machine.

    Rest in peace Mary Tudor, the true daughter of Henry Viii and Katherine of Aragon and may you hear Angels forever more. Amen.

    1. I don’t agree. I think Mary probably died very lonely – she hadn’t had the marriage she dreamed of or the children she wanted – and probably haunted by the fact that Calais had been lost on her watch. I don’t think she had a happy life, but perhaps death was a release for her.
      Elizabeth may have been troubled at the end, but she’d had the chance to do more with her life and I expect was more fulfilled.
      I admire both women for different reasons.

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