EARLY YEARS OF
QUEEN ELIZABETH I
Elizabeth was only fifteen years old, but one careless word from her could have sealed the fate of all those who were dear to her,
and possibly have cost her her own life as well (although it is doubtful that Elizabeth's death was the object of the government,
their main concern being to condemn the Admiral). In such extremely difficult, and what must have been very frightening,
circumstances, and with virtually no assistance, Elizabeth managed to uphold her innocence. The Admiral, however, was found
guilty of high treason and condemned to death. The affect of all this on Elizabeth must have been immense. Certainly it took its
toll emotionally and physically, and Elizabeth was unwell for some months after. However, as well as affecting her health,
it also effected her reputation and this was a great concern to Elizabeth as well. She was always very sensitive about what
people thought of her, and she wanted the rumour that she was pregnant by the Admiral suppressed. She wrote to the Protector
asking for a proclamation to be made saying these things were untrue. But while this was considered, it was not implemented.
During the investigation, Elizabeth had been painfully parted from her governess, and it was sometime before they were reunited.
In these troubled years, Elizabeth's relationship with her brother suffered. They were no longer as close as they had been, and during and immediately after the Seymour scandal, Elizabeth was forbidden to attend court. She was eventually allowed to return, however. To try and recapture her virginal image, Elizabeth dressed as the perfect Protestant lady. She wore plain black and white gowns, refused to decorate herself with jewellery and other finery, and refused to wear make up. Her sobriety was much commented upon, and even her brother called her "sweet sister temperance".
Following the disgrace and death of his brother, Thomas, Edward Seymour was replaced as Protector by John Dudley,
Earl of Warwick, soon to be the Duke of Northumberland. He was the father of Elizabeth's childhood friend, Robert Dudley, and they may
have seen each other a number of times during the Duke's government. Edward had enjoyed a rather healthy childhood, but from 1553
onwards, be began to be very ill with possibly a form of consumption (TB). It became clear to Northumberland that the young boy was
not likely to survive into adulthood, and he thus had to make preparations for the succession. The heir in English law was Edward's
sister, Mary, but she was an ardent Catholic, and her accession would undoubtedly put an end to Northumberland's reforms of the church,
and his personal power.
To prevent a Catholic succession, Northumberland devised a scheme that would both preserve Protestantism, and his own influence. If both Mary and Elizabeth were excluded from the succession, then the crown fell on either the Stuart line through Henry's oldest sister Margaret, or the Suffolk/Grey line through his younger sister, Mary. Henry VIII had excluded from his will the claims of the Stuart line, and so the crown would fall directly on Frances, Duchess of Suffolk. Both Mary and Elizabeth were again bastardised, and excluded from the succession, and Frances was set aside in favour of her daughter, Lady Jane Grey. Northumberland had further married his youngest son, Guildford Dudley, to Jane, thus ensuring the influence of the Dudleys. Three days after Edward died, on 6 July 1553, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen. The coup, however, failed. Mary put up a strong and successful fight for her throne and was proclaimed Queen on the 19 of July in London. Five days later, Northumberland was arrested and later executed.