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Elizabeth I??

(191 Posts)
malibuloving Sun 18-Aug-19 21:00:27

I’m trying to broaden my historical knowledge and I’m reading a bit about the Tudors and I was wondering if people thing that Elizabeth I thought her mum, Anne Boleyn was innocent of the trumped up charges her father Henry VIII accused her off to execute her as she had a locket with her and her mother’s portrait in which she wore until her death but she didn’t go back and change the law saying her parents marriage was legitimate like her elder sister Mary did when she was on the throne to her parents marriage.

So I’m asking do you think she thought her mother was innocent? Thanks all smile

Bobbindobbin Mon 19-Aug-19 17:06:20

And Wolf Hall

Bobbindobbin Mon 19-Aug-19 17:05:52

I really recommend the Henry 8th mini series with Ray Winstone

MyNameIsJane Mon 19-Aug-19 16:51:37

@diddlesticks I’ve not RTFT so I don’t know yet if I am the only one recommending the Shardlake series by C J Sansom - it is fiction but the historical side of it is well researched.

PrivateIsles Mon 19-Aug-19 16:34:15

Just echoing the recommendations for Antonia Fraser, she's absolutely excellent at writing readable, page-turning history. The Gunpowder Plot mentioned above is one of my favourite books, it's fantastic.

Have really enjoyed this thread - I did A'Level history and we were one of the few schools that didn't study the Tudors so I don't know much about them either, apart from Antonia Fraser! And Horrible Histories grin (I've got their song about the six wives, "Divorced, Beheaded and Died" going round in my head now!).

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Mon 19-Aug-19 16:11:48

I choose to believe the latter was a real quote!

Brahumbug Mon 19-Aug-19 16:11:17

Interestingly, Elizabeth never said that she 'didn't want to make a window into men's souls', it was attributed to her by Francis Bacon. I do love the quote 'My Lord, I had forgotten the fart' to Edward de Verre, though that maybe untrue as well

Triglesoffy Mon 19-Aug-19 11:53:10

Whenever I see Grey I think of Christian. Imagine if he was real and the direct heir! grin

Allington Mon 19-Aug-19 11:52:34

Elizabeth deliberately didn't name an heir - there were lots swirling around (and being put in the Tower!), it basically came down to who had the support to take the throne.

Katherine's son was a possible, but James' supporters were well organised and acted quickly. Possession was 9/10s of the law! James was very crafty about it as well, and implied that he would relax some of the burdens Elizabeth had placed on Catholics, without any definite promises, so he got some support there.

Antonia Fraser's book about the Gunpowder Plot is very good on James and Catholic leaders in England.

Leandra de Lisle has a book on the succession to Elizabeth

malibuloving Mon 19-Aug-19 11:10:12


That’s awfully tragic.

So why didn’t Katherine Grey’s son become King once Elizabeth died? He would have been Great grandson of Mary, Henry VIII sister so surely that would have followed the Act of Succession which put the sisters Mary and Elizabeth on the throne? As Elizabeth didn’t name an heir, did she?

Allington Mon 19-Aug-19 11:03:15

'The Sisters Who Would Be Queen' by Leanda de Lisle is about the Grey sisters. Her take is that Jane was a committed Protestant who was willing to take the risk of ascending the throne to prevent Catholic Mary becoming Queen.

The Act of Succession excluded Henry VIII's sister Margaret and her descendants, so the line was supposed to go through the younger sister - Mary Rose.

She only had surviving daughters, though, and the Grey sisters were the children of the older daughter (Frances), who ALSO only had girls survive childhood, as did the younger daughter (Eleanor). And being monarch was not considered a Suitable Job for a Woman.

Lady Jane, the oldest. Her mother and sisters were back at court serving Mary within months of her execution. That must have been an interesting family dynamic...

Then Katherine, who made a secret marriage to the son of the Duke of Somerset (ex-Protector of Edward VI who was executed). Elizabeth was furious when she found out (due to Katherine's pregnancy) and sent them both to the Tower and declared the marriage invalid. They had 2 sons, the second conceived while they were both still in the Tower, supposedly kept away from each other grin . Katherine died very young, still imprisoned. The older son was, according to the Act of Succession, the legal heir to the throne when Elizabeth died, given that there weren't really any grounds for saying his parents marriage was invalid.

The third sister was Mary - she was noticeably short, and possibly had a condition that caused dwarfism. She also made a secret marriage, to a soldier quite a bit lower down the social scale. They were also imprisoned - but in separate places this time, just to make sure - Mary at Chequers. He died a few years later, and eventually Mary was allowed to go and live with her mother, then was allowed back to court but died of the plague a year later, still in her early 30s.

malibuloving Mon 19-Aug-19 10:58:38

I think Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship was quite sad actually. Didn’t Mary care for Elizabeth when she was younger? I think it was a downwards spiral after Henry died and then more so when Edward died snd cut them both out

SarahAndQuack Mon 19-Aug-19 10:57:46

YY, absolutely! Poor Mary.

JacquesHammer Mon 19-Aug-19 10:56:28

Totally agree Sarah

Plus on a very superficial level, old, ailing Mary vs young, attractive Elizabeth.

It’s almost the stuff of fiction isn’t it? The young beautiful princess and the wicked older half-sister!

SarahAndQuack Mon 19-Aug-19 10:46:42

It's nation-building propaganda. For a long time, the UK was at war with Catholic nations (eg. France) and pretty friendly with places like Germany (cradle of Lutheranism). So you have vested interests in representing the Catholics as the enemy and the Protestants as the good guys. Then, when Victorian came to the throne, people were looking back at other queens, and so I think that put a greater emphasis on the Tudor period in general.

There's a lot of mythologising of 'Englishness' that goes on. Eamon Duffy is the person to read if you want an argument that English Catholicism was quite a nice thing and not as much about superstition as all that.

I think people did start questioning these views, but it amazes me how anti-Catholic people can still be in the UK. Partly I think it's just such a good story, too - really defined bad and good people, lots of drama.

malibuloving Mon 19-Aug-19 10:35:13


Why did the Victorians have that view and why do you think it took so long for people to question it?

SarahAndQuack Mon 19-Aug-19 10:32:52

The difference was in naivety and fanatical devotion (Mary) versus pragmatism and scepticism (Elizabeth)

Well, yes, this is the Victorian view of 'history' that still got taught through the last century. Bloody Mary versus noble rational Elizabeth and superstitious evil Catholics versus sensible, humane Protestants.

It's not that simple. Mary did things that could also be seen as pragmatic. She married, she tried to have children, she allied herself with a hugely powerful Catholic nation, she tried to stamp out rivals.

You could also argue Elizabeth became increasingly capricious and not in the least ruled by pragmatism.

malibuloving Mon 19-Aug-19 10:25:43

Yeah I agree @ForalltheSaints which monarch do you think would have split with Rome then?

ForalltheSaints Mon 19-Aug-19 10:17:10

Back to the original point, I think Anne Boleyn was innocent of the charges laid against her.

I also think that had the papacy not been under the effective control of the Spanish crown at the time, or Henry VIII's wife not been Spanish, then an annulment would have been granted. A split with Rome possibly would have still happened, but maybe in a different way, more in character with the Scottish reformation.

bottomflannel Mon 19-Aug-19 09:39:55

I’m fascinated by the Tudors, particularly Anne Boleyn. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives is brilliant, though not a light read as such!

DanielRicciardosSmile Mon 19-Aug-19 09:15:13

@Avonandice I adored her books as a young teenager, especially her Tudor books. I have a very battered copy of The Lady in the Tower which is her Anne Boleyn volume of the Queens of England series, and focuses heavily on her childhood and upbringing rather than just her relationship with Henry. Excellent book.

malibuloving Mon 19-Aug-19 09:01:25

@ZiggyB Thanks and no worries grin I’ll defo order one!

@SingingLily I think the et cetera line was very bloody clever

SingingLily Mon 19-Aug-19 08:42:43

I'm also of the view that Elizabeth was agnostic, hence her view about not wishing to "look through the window of men's souls", but it would have been an incredibly dangerous position to take at a time when the country was riven by polarised religious beliefs. She was also politically very shrewd (had to be; a matter of survival). The example that stands out for me was the debate, just before she was crowned, as to whether she would declare herself to be Defender of the Faith, a title she and her siblings inherited from their father.

Defender of the Faith is a Catholic title and was bestowed by the Pope on Henry VIII before his split with Rome. However, Henry was very proud of it and continued to use it afterwards even though it was clearly no longer true. Edward VI, as an avowed Protestant, very pointedly did not use it. Mary I, as a good Catholic, just as pointedly did, declaring herself "Mary, by the Grace of God, Queen of England [...], Defender of the Faith, [...]".

And Elizabeth? She declared herself, "Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queen of England [...], *et cetera*" and left it up to everyone else to decide what that might have meant.

JacquesHammer Mon 19-Aug-19 08:10:45

Jean Plaidy books are relativly accurate according to my daughters A-Level history teacher

Am trying to track down her Catherine de Medici series currently

Jean Plaidy books are excellent. I have almost a full collection.

The CdM novels were released with new covers not so long ago, so shouldn’t be too hard to find. I’m not sure where you are, but I can tell you a bookshop in the North that had a full set of the trilogy in last week grin

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Mon 19-Aug-19 08:07:03

She didn’t really want to have Mary executed - Mary (or rather people around her) tweaked Elizabeth’s nose and although the warrant was signed, I think she was pushed/pissed off and the order was quickly carried out (Mary alive could only continue to cause mischief and threaten Elizabeth’s position) before she could have a change of mind (not unusual for her).

NeverSayFreelance Mon 19-Aug-19 07:59:26

As for Elizabeth, I'm sure she knew. I'm sure everyone knew. Elizabeth and Henry weren't close. She was always her mother's daughter.

If only she hadn't had our Queen of Scots murdered, I would like her much more.

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