Elizabeth I: In and Out of Prison

Eliz YoungThe Princess Elizabeth with six ladies entered the Tower of London through the Traitor’s Gate by barge on March 18th, 1554. At first, she refused to enter the Tower. Eventually, the rain forced her to enter the Tower where she was lodged near the rooms of the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Brydges.

Elizabeth genuinely feared that she would never leave the Tower alive. She remained in the succession after Mary because Mary couldn’t get Parliament to remove her. Even though she was innocent of a crime, Mary’s Privy Council wanted to be rid of her, either by legal execution or poisoning. They were determined to remove a Protestant from the succession. Although Mary refused to sign Elizabeth’s death warrant, some of her advisors sent a death warrant to the Tower. Fortunately, Brydges realized it had not been signed and refused to carry out the execution.

Elizabeth was eventually denied exercise in the yard, confined to the Tower, and interrogated. She lost weight and became ill. When Sir Henry Bedingfield, a staunch Catholic and supporter of Mary, took over as Constable of the Tower, Elizabeth was even more at risk. Fortunately, she had an ally in Philip of Spain. Mary’s new husband, advised her to spare Elizabeth. Perhaps he felt he would be blamed and wanted to maintain good  relations with the English people. Elizabeth was released from the Tower after two months and lived at Court and in confinement at Woodstock.

After two false pregnancies, Queen Mary died childless in 1558. Elizabeth became Queen of England and ruled until she also died unmarried and childless in 1603. In her long reign, she refused to marry King Philip, her half-sister’s widower and England defeated the Philip’s Spanish Armada.

Tomorrow, A Key to Writing Success. Rita Bay

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