Edward VI Coronation Procession

Edward VI Coronation Procession

The topic of this entry stemmed from a visit to Cowdray Park in the summer of 2012 which sparked my interest in the property (more on that in a future blog entry).  Sensing my fascination, my husband purchased a book for me as a gift titled, Cowdray: the history of a great English House …With illustrations, etc. by Julia Roundell.  While reading the book, there was a brief mention of Anthony Browne, 7th Viscount Montague giving permission for several of the murals that adorned the “parlour” to be copied.  Specific mention was of the one depicting the coronation of Edward VI.*  That triggered a connection to the painted screen of that very subject that was at Kentwell Castle—another property visited in the summer of 2012.  The quest began to discover whether they were one and the same.  I contacted Kentwell and heard from Patrick Phillips.  The emails are recreated below.

On 19 Dec 2012, at 18:23

I recently read a book about Cowdray by J. Roundell in which it was stated >that permission had been granted for an artist to duplicate the piece of art >of Edward VI coronation.  Was wondering if that was the basis for the >lovely screens at Kentwell.  Not sure if the Cowdray piece was a framed >art work or a mural but it did get me wondering. Any information would be >appreciated. Thank you.

Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 10:12 PM

>Yes our screens came from Cowdray Park.Originally there were six early >murals in the main hall in Tudor Cowdray Park. The then owner of the >Hall allowed engravings of one of the six, namely the Coronation >Procession of Edward VI, to be engraved from tracings made by >S.H.Grimm and the engraving was published in 1788.  It is this engraving that you may find illustrated in books on Edward VI’s reign.
>Unfortunately,  Cowdray Park itself was destroyed by fire in 1793 and all >trace of the original murals was lost. These painted leather screens derive >from the engraving and (possibly) also the tracings. >Regards >PP

Talk about serendipity!  Not much more was needed to influence me to investigate the coronation procession of Edward VI and the other events associated with the celebrations.

 274

The coronation procession of Edward VI depicted on screens displayed at Kentwell.  Copies of the murals from Cowdray were reproduced luckily before fire destroyed the originals.

There are varied claims as to where Edward and Elizabeth were at the time their father’s death was announced to them.  Two things are consistently shown:  the children were together and their reaction was sorrowful. Hayward poetically relayed that “Never was sorrow more sweetly set forth, their faces seeming rather to beautify their sorrow, than their sorrow to cloud the beauty of their faces” (Tytler 17).

Although this blogger agrees that Edward was most likely at Hertford Castle and moved to Enfield where Elizabeth was staying, below is a sampling of accounts of the children’s whereabouts.

Linda Porter claims that Edward was living with Elizabeth at the time of Henry’s death at Hertford Castle and they both heard the news together three days after the king’s death.  The next day, February 1st, after the reading of the will to the Privy Council on 31 January, Edward VI returned to The Tower of London prior to his coronation” (Porter 278).

Sir James Mackintosh reported that the “young prince, who was at the royal mansion of Hatfield at the time of his father’s death, was brought thence in regal state, and proclaimed king of England.  His proclamation took place when he was nine years and about three months old” (Mackintosh 136).

Jasper Ridley says that Edward was taken from Hertford, the Lord Protector’s house, to Hatfield where Elizabeth was to tell them both at once.          hertford

Hertford Castle

Christopher Hibbert says that Edward was at Ashridge at the time and they thought it would be easier to tell him if he was with his sister so they took him to Enfield to break the news to the two of them in the Presence Chamber there (Hibbert 28).

Patrick Tytler confirms contemporary sources reporting that Edward Seymour and Anthony Brown (of Cowdray), went to Hertford to convey the boy to Enfield, “and there they first declared to him and the Lady Elizabeth the death of Henry their father” (Tytler 56).

David Starkey claims that Edward was at Hertford Castle when his uncle, Edward Seymour, arrived.  Instead of telling him of his father’s death, he was told he was going to London for his investiture as Prince of Wales and they would stop at Enfield where Elizabeth was staying.  They were told of their father’s death there” (Starkey 59).

  enfield

Drawing of Enfield Palace

In a letter to the Council on 30 January Edward Seymour relays, “We intend the King’s majesty shall be a-horse-back tomorrow by xi of the clock, so that by iii we trust his Grace shall be at the Tower…. “From Enwild [Enfield] this Sunday night, at xi of the clock” (Tytler 18).

Edward VI reveals in his diary that he and his sister Elizabeth learnt of their father Henry VIII’s death from his uncle Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, at Elizabeth’s Enfield residence on 30 January 1547 (Edward VI). His diary describes the grief experienced in London at the news of the death of Henry VIII but does not reveal his own feelings.  He describes the Privy Council’s choice of Edward Seymour as Protector and Governor of the King’s Person and mentions how his father’s officers broke their staffs and threw them into Henry’s grave at his burial.

It is difficult to tell from the diary if these are Edward’s own thoughts.  He may have written the diary at the urging of one of his tutors and the entries from 1547 – 1549 are simply a chronology of events that refers to Edward in the third person.  Many historians wonder if the entries were even completed by Edward. From March 1550 until November 1552, when it ends, it is more like a diary, with entries for individual days.

Historian James Mackintosh was less impressed with Edward’s scholarship as he proclaimed that his essays and letters, “might have been corrected or dictated by his preceptors” But he does acknowledge that “perhaps, somewhat brief and dry for so young an author; but the adoption of such a plan, and the accuracy with which it is written, bear marks of a pure taste and of a considerate mind” (Mackintosh 138).

edwarddiary

A page from the diary of Edward VI.  Below is a transcription of the entry.

After the death of King Henry th’eight his son Edward prince of Wales was come to at Hartford by th’erle of Hartford and S[ir] Anthony Brown Master of t’horse for whom befor was made great preparation that he might be created Prince of Wales, and after ward was brought to Enfield whear the death of his Father was first shewed him, and the same day the death of his father was shewed in London, wher was great lamentation and weping and sodenly he proclaimed King. The next day, being the _ of _ he was brought to the Towre of London whear he taried the space of three wikes… (Edward VI).  Those three weeks were spent in preparation for Henry VII’s funeral and Edward’s coronation. 57197_764549

Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth Regina, 1597, Art Institute of Chicago  The procession left the Tower of London for the Palace of Westminster about one o’clock in the afternoon of 19 February.  This was the chance for his subjects to see the new king. Edward was on horseback dressed in a gown of gold cloth with a sable-lined cloak. The clothing he wore underneath was embellished with “rubies, diamonds, and pearls arranged in lovers’ knots” (Loach 32).

Along the route near the Tower “stood members of the craftsmen’s guilds, and, on the other side of the road, priests and clerks in holy orders” stood. Houses were decked out in tapestries and banners “as Richely as might be Devysed” (Loach 33).

Making up the procession preceding the King were his messengers, gentlemen, servants of foreign ambassadors and heralds.  There followed chaplains, knights, the sons of various nobles and barons arranged by their degree. The bishops, the sons of earls, marquesses and dukes were followed by their fathers the earls, marquesses and dukes.  Those closest to the king were his Household Officers. Riding literally beside the king were the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour, the Lord Admiral, John Dudley and the King’s Master of the Horse, Sir Anthony Browne (of Cowdray).  The entire scene was depicted in a mural at Cowdray House, Sir Anthony’s home.  “Surviving only now as an eighteenth-century drawing, the procession makes its way through the winding narrow streets, stretching out across the entire length of the city”  (Skidmore 57).  Bringing up the rear were the servants of the noblemen and gentlemen. ed coronation procesisonb

Coronation procession of Edward VI in watercolor.  A copy of the original that is now lost

The pageants performed along the route were not rehearsed enough to run smoothly but that did not matter.  Their purpose was to present the imagery that “reflected a world of allegorical meaning closely pondered upon by Tudor contemporaries” (Skidmore 58). Sources tell us that Edward favored the tight rope walker and when at one stop along the route, he was presented with £1,000** in gold coins he asked, “Why do they give me this?” (Skidmore 58). A charming story and one that reiterates how very young Edward was. edward coronation processione flip it

Close-up picture of the coronation procession.

By the time Edward had reached Westminster it was six o’clock and the procession had lasted about four hours. No elaborate ceremonies or celebrations were held that evening and notice was given to all noblemen to “be at Westminster in their best array by seven the next morning” (Skidmore 59).

On 20 February, Edward entered Westminster Abbey to be crowned.  Some concessions were made to the ceremony to the age of the king so it would not make him “weary and be a hurtsome peradventure to the Kinges Majestie being yet of tender age fully to endure and bide owte” (Loach 35).  There were points within the ceremony in which he could rest and he was carried in a chair for part of the procession within the Abbey.  The ceremony itself was shrunk to accommodate the King’s young age.  The celebrations for Edward lasted seven hours when typically they lasted about twelve.

The consecration was not curtailed much though and followed the Liber Regalis*** a “formula that had been used on every such occasion since 1375” and was conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (Meyer 328).  For the first time, an English king would not pledge allegiance to Rome as he would become the head of the Church within the framework of the Protestant service.   Dale Hoak has pointed out the revisions made by Cranmer to the coronation service were for the “unprecedented advent of a protestant supremacy” (Hunt 84). The changes shifted the relationship between of the king and his people and the king and his nobles.

liber regaliac

Illustrated page of the Liber Regalis

After the nobles pledged allegiance to Edward, the events moved to Westminster for the celebratory banquet in Westminster Hall.  When the Champion, Edward Dymoke, threw down the gauntlet challenging combat to anyone questioning Edward’s right to rule, it certainly pleased the king as this episode is “described in more detail than anything else in Edward’s own account of the dinner” (Loach 38).  The rituals surrounding the banquet may not have been too appealing for a young boy. Edward’s entry in his diary is bare-boned.  He recorded that he sat with his uncle and the Archbishop “with the crown on his head” (Skidmore 63).

Liber Regalisa

liber regaliaB

Liber Regalis showing the crowning of a king and a queen.

Edward’s half-sister did not participate in any of the coronation celebrations.  Elizabeth was away from Court under the care of Katherine Parr. We are told she was “subdued and depressed, remained with her stepmother” (Perry 40).  The closeness the siblings had shared at one time could not be recreated. At one point Edward wrote to Elizabeth when their households were separated that “change of place did not vex me so much, dearest sister, as your going from me. “Now there is nothing pleasanter than a letter from you … It is some comfort in my grief that my chamberlain tells me I may hope to visit you soon (if nothing happens to either of us in the meantime).  Farewell dearest sister” (Hibbert 28).

Now not only was the age difference more than likely beginning to make a difference, Edward’s new responsibilities and the deference due to him as king altered their relationship.  We do have the charming story of them exchanging portraits shortly before their father’s death. Elizabeth wrote a letter to accompany the delivery of the painting.  “I most humbly beseech your Majestry that when you shall look on my picture you will vouchsafe to think that you may have but the outward shadow of the body before you, so my inward mind wischeth that the body itself were oftener in your presence…” (Perry 43).

elizabeth 1 by scrouts

This famous painting of Elizabeth is attributed to Guillim Scrots and identified as the painting mentioned in the above letter–both statements are in dispute. 

download Edward as Prince of Wales attributed to Guillim Scrots.  Karen Hearn states that dendrochronological evidence shows that these two paintings may have been done on panels from the same tree (Hearn 50).  The background shows Hunsdon House where Edward and Elizabeth spent much time together as children.  When Elizabeth Regina inherited the house on her accession she made her cousin, Henry Carey, First Baron of Hunsdon and gave him the property.

 Notes

*Brussels, 9th September 1785,

Mr. Newman,–Mr. Astle of the Socieity of Antiquaries will write you a Letter by a Person I have given leave to take a Copy of the procession of Edward the Sixth in the parlour at Cowdray, and I desire you will let hime have every Convenience for that purpose, but he is not to take any other Copies of paintings in the House without applying to me: in haste.—Yours, &c.,

MONTAGUE (Roundell, 97).

**The equivalent of £1,000 in 1547 would be worth £455,000 in 2010 currency of the retail price index. This was calculated using the website, Measuring Worth.com.

***The essential elements of the coronation service used in modern times can be traced back to the crowning of King Edgar at Bath in 973. That tenth-century liturgy, drawn up by St Dunstan, underwent various adaptations in the early middle ages. Around 1382, probably in preparation for the crowning of Anne of Bohemia (Richard II’s consort), a new fine copy of the order of service was made. This illuminated manuscript, known as the Liber Regalis, is one of the great treasures of the Abbey’s library. It provided the order of service for all subsequent coronations up to, and including, that of Elizabeth I. For the coronation of James I the liturgy was translated into English. Nevertheless, with occasional adaptations to suit the political and religious circumstances of the time, the Liber Regalis remained the basis for all later coronation liturgies (“History”).

References

Edward VI. “Edward VI’s Diary.” Edward VI’s Diary. British Library, Learning Timelines:  Sources from History, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Frye, Susan.  Elizabeth I:  The Competition for Representation. Oxford:  Oxford Univseity Press. 1993. Print.

Hearn, Karen. ed.  Dynasties:  Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630.  New York: Rizzoli. 1995. Print.

Hibbert, Christopher.  The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.  New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1991.  Print.

“History.” Guide to the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Hunt, Alice. The Drama of Coronation: Medieval Ceremony in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2008. Google Books. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.

Levin, Carole.  The Heart and Stomach of a King:  Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1994. Print.

Loach, Jennifer, Penry Williams, and George Bernard. Edward VI. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999. Google Books. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.

Mackintosh, James, and R. J. Mackintosh. The History of England: From the Earliest times to the Final Establishment of the Reformation. Vol. 2. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1853. Google Books. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Meyer, G. J. The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty.  New York:  Delacorte Press. 2010. Print.

Perry, Maria.  The Word of a Prince: A Life of Elizabeth from Contemporary Documents.  Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1990.  Print.

Porter, Linda.  Katherine the Queen:  The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr.  London:  McMillian, 2010. Print.

Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue.  New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1989.  Print.

Roundel, Julia. Cowdray: the history of a great English House …With illustrations, etc.  London: ballantyne, Hanson and Co., 1884. Print.

Skidmore, Chris. Edward VI: The Lost King of England. New York: St. Martin’s, 2007. Google Books. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.

Starkey, David.  Elizabeth:  The Struggle for the Throne. New York:  HarperCollins Publishers. 2001. Print

Tytler, Patrick Fraser. England under the Reigns of Edward VI and Mary: With the Contemporary History of Europe, Illustrated in a Series of Original Letters Never before Printed; with Historical Introductions and Biographical and Critical Notes. London: Bentley, 1839. Google Books. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

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Words to the Wise

Words to the Wise

What is wisdom?  If we followed Aristotle’s idea of the practicality of wisdom not only would a person choose the best means to the ends or goals they may have, but also the ‘correct’ ends.  Now the discussion takes on another dimension involving ethical choices.  And where do we insert experiences, knowledge, perceptions, logic?  Regardless of the definition of wisdom, is it applied differently depending on the person and their role in life, such as a ruler?  If a head of state is expected to make decisions wisely, how do we judge the wisdom of the decisions?  Is it simply because we agree with her or his choices?

We have much evidence that Henry VII and Elizabeth Regina were wise given the profuse use of the word to describe them both.  With Henry we are assured that this “King, to speak of him in terms equal to his deserving, was one of the best sort of wonders, a wonder for wise men” (Bacon and Lumby 211).  Praise indeed.

henry 7          elizagheer2

Henry VII                                      Elizabeth Regina

Both Polydore Vergil, an Italian priest who arrived in Britain in the year 1502 and was commissioned by King Henry VII to write a history of Britain, and Edward Hall, a Henrican contemporary, commented on Henry’s wisdom, shrewdness, prudence and resoluteness especially in moments of danger.  “Kyng Henry being made wyse and expert with troubles and myschiefes before” in the time of his exile (Hall 435).  Vergil and Hall also observed how the people respected his abilities and “no one dared to get the better of him through deceit or guile” (Vergil 144).

polydore vergil  Edward Hall

Polydore Vergil                                                  Edward Hall

John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester spoke glowingly of Henry.  Below are the text and the modern script of his oratory about Henry:

Fisher sermon   john fisher

 

John Fisher

All be it he had as much of them                                             
as was possible in manner for any king to have, his
politic wisdom in governance it was singular, his
wit always quick and ready, his reason pithy and
substantial, his memory fresh and holding, his
experience notable, his counsels fortunate and taken
by wise deliberation, his speech gracious in divers
languages … his dealing in time
of perils and dangers was cold and sober with great
hardiness.

Francis Bacon also reported that Henry’s “wit increased upon the occasion; and so much the more, if the occasion were sharpened by danger.  Again, whether it were the shortness of his foresight, or the strength of his will, or the dazzling of his suspicions…” (Bacon and Lumby 219).

Henry’s suspicions made him guarded in his dealings with others, in his plans and his strategies.  Perhaps it was this guarded behavior that led to the many chroniclers referring to him as shrewd.  He was “undoubtedly shrewd, calculating, and long-headed; he seems never to have been overcome by passion” (Elton 16).

He was so shrewd he could make good use of what little advantages he had and in turn he was not a man of whom people could take advantage.  Henry was very prudent in his selection of advisors.  He “cogregated together the sage councelers of his realme, in which coiisail like a prince of just faith and true of promes… (Hall 423).

Men wanted to serve him but they could not tell what was on Henry’s mind.  As a “wise Prince, it was but keeping of distance, which indeed he did towards all; not admitting any near or full approach, either to his power, or to his secrets: for he was governed by none” (Bacon and Lumby 215).

“Few indeed were the councillors that shared his confidence, but the wise men, competent to form an estimate of his statesmanship, had but one opinion of his consummate wisdom” (Gairdner 209).

Henry could not be called a learned man yet he was a lover of learning and gave his children an excellent education (Gairdner 217).  Famously in 1498-99 Erasmus met with the then future Henry VIII when he was eight in 1498-1499 and still in the royal nursery at Eltham in Kent.  Henry appreciated the humanist movement and ensured his sons were grounded in a classical education. Henry VII supported universities as well as his wife’s and mother’s patronage of colleges.  He purchased books and acquired a library.  “He was rather studious than learned; read most books that were of any worth, in the French tongue, yet he understood the Latin, as appeareth in that cardinal Adrian and Others, who could very well have written French, did use to write to him in Latin” (Bacon and Lumby 218). John Fisher spoke of Henry knowing many languages, the “fruit of his long exile” (Fisher).  Perhaps the best ‘education’ he had was the exposure to various governmental methods while in exile and visiting other Courts in Brittany and France.

eltham exterior                 Eltham_palace_GreatHall

Exterior and Interior of Eltham Palace

Henry brought with him the experiences and knowledge of the cultures of France, Burgundy and Brittany with the secular classical themes. “This trend had already been apparent at Edward IV’s court, but Henry was an important influence in encouraging trends which were to lead to the flowering of Renaissance culture at the Tudor court in the 16th century” (Loades 71). He made “princely use of his wealth, encouraged scholarship and music as well as architecture, and dazzled the eyes of foreign ambassadors with the spendour of his receptions” (Gairdner 9).

Ambassadors were astonished not only with his Court but with the depth of knowledge he displayed of the situations in their own countries and “that they did write ever to their superiors in high terms, considering his wisdom and art of rule:  nay, when they were returned, they did commonly maintain intelligence with him” (Bacon and Lumby 216)

Henry’s prudent policies, circumspect behaviors and political wisdom earned him high praise from contemporaries and historians.  “He was of an high mind and loved his own will and his own way, as one that revered himself and would reign…” with triumph as he excelled at so many things (Bacon 793).  He was successful.  He was prudent.  He was wise. He was emulated by his granddaughter, Elizabeth Regina.

Events in Elizabeth’s childhood taught her not to speak or act unwisely; her very life depended upon deliberate, cautious actions. These early lessons contributed to her wisdom and, along with her characteristics of intelligence, tenacity, compromise, and subtlety, she became well-respected.  Even after centuries, most historians and chroniclers explain “even her errors of taste and judgment as superlative examples of political skill” (Elton 262).

Author Jasper Ridley is one of the few dissenters.  He proposed that the truth was that “Elizabeth was an emotional woman, and often acted on impulse, and not from cunning political calculation” (Ridley 41).  Her successes were not by good policy and planning, “but by luck, by muddling through…” (Ridley 335).

As much as one respects the interpretation of Ridley, overwhelming examples, even if disregarding sycophantic inclinations of contemporaries, show her intelligence and wisdom.

Maximilien de Bethune, Baron de Rosny, ambassador from France, exclaimed “this great Queen merited the whole of that great reputation she had throughout Europe” concerning her grasp for the political situation in Europe (Hibbert 115).  Even as she aged, diplomats were still astounded at her grasp of affairs of state.  Andre de Maisse, the French ambassador, thought her shrewd, calculating, statesmanlike and well-informed.

baron de rosny                             demassie

Baron de Rosny                                Andre de Maisse

Her Clerk of the Council, Robert Beale, believed that she was a “princess of great wisdom, learning and experience” and Sir John Harington wrote how Elizabeth would pass her judgment on matters and knew how to “cunningly commit the good issue to her own honour and understanding…” (Sitwell 87). Harington also observed that he “never did find greater show of understanding and learning than she was blessed with” (Hibbert 114).

johnharington

Sir John Harington

The success of Elizabeth’s education is well-known and documented.  Her preference for Roger Ascham as her tutor showed early on her judgment in men.  He was an excellent choice and provided her not only a thorough education but a life-time love of learning. Even as queen, Elizabeth continued her studies as it was well-known she spent a part of her day reading and at study “by a wise distribution of her time” (Bohun 346).  Ascham had nothing but praise for the quick mind and abilities of his pupil.  Below, reproduced in its entirety is a letter Ascham wrote to his friend, Johannes Sturm, German scholar concerning Elizabeth:

“It is difficult to say, whether the gifts of nature or of fortune are most to be admired in my distinguished mistress.  The praise which Aristotle gives, wholly centres in her; beauty, stature, prudence, and industry.  She has just passed her sixteenth birthday and shows such dignity and gentleness as are wonderful at her age and in her rank.  Her study of true religion and learning is most eager.  Her mind has no womanly weakness, her perseverance is equal to that of a man, and her memory long keeps what it quickly picks up.  She talks French and Italian as well as she does English, and has often talked to me readily and well in Latin, moderately in Greek.  When she writes Greek and Latin, nothing is more beautiful than her handwriting” (Neale 14 – 15).

      aschamengraving2                                           roger asham

Princess Elizabeth and                                     Sketch of Roger Ascham
Roger Ascham

Like her grandfather Henry VII, her skill in many languages allowed her to take a prominent role in the diplomacy of her country as she could meet with ambassadors herself.  Her intellect allowed her to match the professional diplomats in subtlety and the language of diplomacy itself.

Elizabeth’s skills in government did not come from specific training as an apprentice but from her formal, classical and humanist education and her practical, political education of survival during her brother’s and sister’s reigns.

Without going into great detail, the young Elizabeth’s handling of the Thomas Seymour issue shows the intelligence, courage and composure she displayed while detained and questioned by Sir Robert Tyrwhitt.  Tyrwhitt wrote the Lord Protector “I do assure your grace, she hath a very good wit, and nothing is gotten of her, but by great policy” (Erickson 88).

Another early example comes during her sister Mary’s reign.  While under suspicion as part of the Wyatt Rebellion, Elizabeth negotiated with the councilors sent to arrest her to write a letter to Mary. Using her talents and education, Elizabeth not only composed a brilliant note, she also managed to utilize enough time that the tide had altered deflecting her move to the Tower for one more day.  On the letter itself, she made diagonal marks at the end of the second page to ensure no one would tamper with the document.

diagonal letters 001

Letter to Mary with diagonal lines across second page

As a mature and seasoned sovereign, Elizabeth continually dealt with complicated and life-threatening situations.  Would all decisions be exact?  Of course they would not.  Yet, most historians agree with her contemporary John Hayward’s exclamation concerning her character that she was “in purpose, just; of spirit, above credit … as well for depth of judgment…” (Hayward 8).  Maybe her wisdom came from knowing that her success came from serving England and her peoples and from making decisions that rested on the good of the kingdom.  Or maybe it was simply she had a brain in her head and she used it:

There is small disproportion betwixt a fool who
useth not wit because he hath it not and him
that useth it not when it should avail him
Queen Elizabeth

References 

Bacon, Francis.  The Works of Lord Bacon:  Philosophical Works.  Longman and Co. 1858-1859.  Google Books. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.

Bacon, Francis, and J. Rawson Lumby. Bacon’s History of the Reign of King Henry VII,. Cambridge: University, 1902. Internet Archive. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.

Bohun, Edmund. The Character of Queen Elizabeth, Or, A Full and Clear Account of Her Policies and the Methods of Her Government Both in Church and State, Her Virtues and Defects Together with the Characters of Her Principal Ministers of State … London: Printed for Ric. Chiswell at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul’s Church-Yard(IS), 1693. Google Books. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.

Commynes, Philippe de.  The memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton: containing the histories of Louis XI and Charles VIII. Kings of France and of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. To which is added, The scandalous chronicle, or Secret history of Louis XI  London:  H. G. Bohn, 1855.  Internet Archive. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.

Elton, G. R. England Under the Tudors. Third ed. London:  Routledge, 1991. Print.

Fisher, John, and John E. B. Mayor. The English Works of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. London: N. Trübner for the Early English Text Society, 1876. Google Books. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.

Erickson, Carolly. The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books. 1983. Print.

Griffiths, Ralph A. and Roger S. Thomas.  The Making of the Tudor Dynasty.  New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985. Print.

Hall, Edward, Henry Ellis, and Richard Grafton. Hall’s Chronicle; Containing the History of England, during the Reign of Henry the Fourth, and the Succeeding Monarchs, to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth, in Which Are Particularly Described the Manners and Customs of Those Periods. London: Printed for J. Johnson and J. Rivington; T. Payne; Wilkie and Robinson; Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme; Cadell and Davies; and J. Mawman, 1809. Archive.org. Web. 2 Jan. 2013.

Hayward, John, and John Bruce. Annals of the First Four Years of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. London: Printed for the Camden Society by J.B. Nichols and Son, 1840. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Hibbert, Christopher.  The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.  New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1991.  Print.

Jones, Michael K. and Malcolm G. Underwood.  The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret

Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Print.

Loades, David, ed. The Tudor Chronicles: The Kings.  New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.  Print.

Neale, J. E. Queen Elizabeth I. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957. Print.

Norton, Elizabeth.  Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty.  Stroud: Amberley, 2010. Print.

Okerlund, Arlene Naylor.  Elizabeth of York.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.

Penn, Thomas.  Winter King; the Dawn of Tudor England.  New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.

Pollard, Albert Frederick, ed. The Reign of Henry VII: From Contemporary Sources.[S.l.]: Longmans Green and, Co. 1913. Google Books. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. 

Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue.  New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1989.  Print.

Ross, Josephine.  The Tudors, England’s Golden Age.  London: Artus, 1994.  Print. 

Sitwell, Edith.  The Queens and the Hive.  Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. Print.

Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Print.

Vergil, Polydore, The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, A.D. 1485-1537 (translated by Denys Hay), London: Office of the Royal Historical Society, Camden Series, 1950. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

Weir, Alison.  The Life of Elizabeth I.  New York: Ballatine Books, 1998. Print.

Fate is Remarkable

 Fate is Remarkable:

Henry Tudor as Earl of Richmond and Elizabeth Tudor as Lady Elizabeth were each in their time potential heirs to the English throne.  Remarkably, both believed in their chance and right to rule.  They took their fate into their own hands,  ensuring their options remained open as they forged their paths to the throne.

Henry was a young man of around 15 years of age in September of 1471 when he and his paternal uncle, Jasper Tudor, found themselves avoiding the Yorkist threat of Edward IV in England by sailing for France.  As fate would have it, storms blew them off course and they landed in Brittany.  Thus began Henry’s 14-year exile.

 

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle from which Henry, Earl of Richmond and Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke fled in 1471.

Astoundingly, Henry was able to direct much of his destiny while in Brittany despite being removed from England and under close surveillance as a possible political pawn between France, Brittany and England.

During the majority of his years in exile, Henry honed his leadership skills as the focal point of the expatriates who joined him . He kept informed of the events in England so when conditions seemed favorable to an invasion in 1483 Henry attempted it. Philippe de Commynes diplomat and historian for the Dukes of Burgundy and later the Kings of France, who was often in Brittany, reported that, upon King Edward’s death, Francis II, Duke of Brittany, “supplied the Earl of Richmond liberally both with men and ships …and sent him to land his forces in England; but; meeting with foul weather, he was driven into Dieppe, and from thence went back into Bretagne” (Commynes 313).  The Lancastrians wisely abandoned the invasion.

Henry earnestly began preparations at this time for his ascension to the throne and to legitimize his claim.  It was reported, first by Bernard Andreas, an early biographer of Henry VII, that Henry made a formal pledge while in exile in Britanny at Rennes Cathedral on Christmas Day 1483 that whenever he obtained the crown he would marry Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV (Andreas 25).  Negotiations had been on-going and culminated in the marriage agreement which would unite the houses of York and Lancaster and eventually give Henry’s children a strong claim to the throne.

 

 

 

 

Rennes Cath

Rennes Cathderal

Henry realized that it was paramount to secure the support of men in England and Wales.  Having the Yorkist leadership on his side (proof is the marriage agreement between him and Elizabeth) emboldened him to write several letters to supports, especially those in Wales where his base was strongest and from where he planned to march on Richard.  He asked for their aid and promised to remember their good offices.  Not a very hefty guarantee despite his signature as H.R. the regal monogram.  Below is an example of one such correspondence:  (Roberts 403)

H7 Letter Use

Once the invasion was imminent, Henry continued to contact sympathizers promising deliverance from servitude if they marched with him.  In the letter below Henry does not come off as a ‘poor exile’.  Here Henry refers to himself as King and Richard III as a usurper of Henry’s rights.

“By the King
Right trusty and well-beloved, wee greete you well:
And whereas it is soe, that, through the helpe of Almighty
God, the assistance of our loveing and true subjects … in all haste
possible to descend into our realme of England, not only for
the adoption of the Crowne, unto us of right appertaining,
but also for the oppression of the odious tyrant Richard,
late duke of Gloucester, usurper of our said right; and …
moreover to reduce as well our said realme of England into
its ancient estate, honour, and property … and the people of the
same to their dear erst liberties, delivering them of such
miserable servitude as they have piteously long stood in.
We desire and pray you, and upon your allegiance strictly
charge and command you, that immediately upon the sight
hereof with all such power as ye may make, defencibly
arrayed for the warre, ye addresse you towards us, without
any tarrying upon the way, until such time as ye be with
us, … your singular good Lord, and that ye faile not hereof as ye
will avoyd our grievous displeasure, and answere it unto
your peril.  Given under our signet…” (Jones 25).

When Henry learned that Pierre Landais, chief advisor to the Duke of Brittany, was in negotiations with Richard III to extradite Henry to England he knew he had to act.  According to Commynes, there was “some agreement with king Richard, much to his [Henry’s] prejudice and disadvantage… he and his retinue went away privately without taking their leave of the duke” (Commynes 313).  What Henry had done was to orchestrate his own escape to France from the town of Vannes dressed as a groom with a small group of loyal Lancastrians. Once in France, King Charles VIII provided aid in money, men and artillery and after extensive preparations a final and successful invasion was made.   That August of 1485, Henry had to have realized that he was taking his fate into his own hands (Commynes, Griffiths, Hutchinson, Norton, Penn, Roberts and Vergil). 

vannes

Vannes, Brittany

Henry and we will see his granddaughter, Elizabeth, learned patience and persistence as exiles, but also as rulers-in-waiting they recognized the time for decisive action. By taking full advantage of circumstances they achieved their goal—becoming seated on the throne of England as an all-powerful sovereign.

As a young woman of 15, Elizabeth was involved, unwittingly, in the schemes of Thomas Seymour the widower of her last step-mother, Catherine Parr.  His ambition and folly are well-known and to have involved this young person was unconscionable.  It is not the point here to explain the elaborate plan although it must be acknowledged that the affect on Elizabeth was 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 affected her reputation and this was a great concern to Elizabeth.

  Seymour Thomas       
Thomas Seymour    

Always sensitive about what people thought of her, Elizabeth wanted the rumor that she was pregnant by the Admiral suppressed. She wrote to Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector, demanding a public statement be made disclaiming the rumors and threatening punishment for those who continued spreading the tale.  Here is a remarkable example of Elizabeth taking matters into her own hands when she penned “rumours abroad which be greatly both against my honour and honesty, which, above all other things, I esteem, which be these, that I am in the Tower, and with child by my Lord Admiral.  My lord, these are shameful slanders, for which besides the great desire I have to see the King’s Majesty, I shall most heartily desire your lordship that I may come show myself there as I am.  Written in haste.  Your assured friend to my little power, Elizabeth” (Mumby 45).

Seymour Edward
Edward Seymour

More letters of the same vein were sent, such as this one to the Lord Protector, on February 21, 1549, in which she wrote requesting “unto your lordship and the rest of the Council to send forth a proclamation into the countries that they refrain their tongues, declaring how the tales be but lies, it should make both the people think that you and the Council have great regard that no such rumors should be spread of any of the king’s majesty’s sisters (as I am, though unworthy)” (Marcus 33).

She was successful; a proclamation was eventually issued.  Elizabeth steadfastly professed her innocence to Seymour’s plans to marry her and saying she would never do anything without the Council’s permission.  Elizabeth understood the moral of the experience: she was careful of her lifestyle; she scrupulously avoided any hint of scandal; she became very conservative in her dress—plain, sober colors, little adornment or jewelry–as she presented an image of modesty and decorum; she managed her own bookkeeping; and she applied herself to her studies.  This remarkable young woman knew she needed to gain what she could from this experience and that was to maintain her reputation and secure her servants’ freedom (Erickson, MacCaffrey, Neale, and Ridley).

During the investigation, several members of Elizabeth’s household were detained, most painfully for Elizabeth her governess, Kat Ashley—it would be sometime before they were reunited.  The Lord Protector was subjected to a flurry of letters demanding the return of Kat Ashley to Elizabeth’s service and the dismissal of other ladies appointed to her household.   She continued protestations of innocence that there was ever any intention to marry–Thomas Seymour or anyone– without permission from the King, the Council or the Lord Protector.  “I am not of so simple understanding” (Marcus 33) this 15-year old told seasoned politicians.

Elizabeth was at Hatfield in late November of 1556 when she was summoned by Queen Mary to London.  While there Mary presented to her sister a prospective marriage with Emmanuel Philibert, the Duke of Savoy.  Contemporary Westerners cannot understand the strength of will and purpose it took for Elizabeth to decline.  Society of her time could not fathom a young woman not wanting to marry and even more so, defying the express wishes of her family let alone her sovereign.  Her rationale for declining was that she would not marry anyone.  Having been invited for the Christmas festivities, she abruptly returned to Hatfield on December 3rd after only a short stay in London (Bassnett, Gristwood, Machyn, Plowden, and Somerset).

Em Phil savoy
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy

Perhaps she had displeased the Queen over her refusal despite having through her “amiable condescension, obliging address, and agreeable conversation, procured her new interests and attachments, and even engaged the best part of the Lords of the Council in her favor” (Nichols 25).

Leaving London
This is an eye witness account of Elizabeth’s entry and then exit from London on 28 November and 3 December 1556.

During the spring of 1558 when approached by the King of Sweden as a possible bride for his son, Elizabeth would tell Mary’s representative Thomas Pope that what she believed in 1556 was still true: “I assure you upon my truthe and fidelitie, and as God be mercifull unto me, I am not at this tyme otherways mynded, than I have declared unto you; no, though I were offered the greatest Prince in all Europe” (Nichols 24).  This was the response Pope declared “the Ladye Elizabeth hir Graces aunswere made at Hattfield, the xxvi of April 1558, to Sir T. Pope, Knt. Being sent from the Queenes Majestie to understand how hir Grace lyked of the mocyon of marryage made by the Kynge elect of Swethelandes Messenger” (Nichols 25).  Elizabeth had chartered her course of remaining unmarried, and was determined to control that element of her life.

Legend has it that Elizabeth was in the parkland at Hatfield seated beneath an oak tree on November 17, 1558, when news reached her of Mary’s death. She is said to have whispered in Latin what she truly must have felt: “A Domino factum est istud et est mirabile in oculis nostris” –This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Hatfield_House_Old_Palace
Hatfield Old Palace 

Even if Elizabeth did give Divine credit for this awe-inspiring event, she did much to keep herself safe and established in a position for inheriting.  Elizabeth was at twenty-five years old Queen of England. For the first time in her life, her destiny lay completely in her own hands.  Fate is remarkable.

Works Cited

Andreas, Bernardus, and James Gairdner. Historia Regis Henrici Septimi Necnon AliaQuaedam Ad Eundem Regem Spectantia. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Langmans, and Roberts, 1858. Google Books. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.

 Bassnett, Susan.  Elizabeth I: a Feminist Perspective.  Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1997. Print.

Commynes, Philippe de.  The memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton: containing the histories of Louis XI and Charles VIII. Kings of France and of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. To which is added, The scandalous chronicle, or Secret history of Louis XI  London:  H. G. Bohn, 1855.  Internet Archive, Web. 10 Feb. 2013.

Erickson, Carolly. The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books. 1983. Print.

Griffiths, Ralph A. and Roger S. Thomas.  The Making of the Tudor Dynasty.  New
York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985. Print.

Gristwood, Sarah.  Elizabeth & Leicester:  Power, Passion, Politics. New York: Viking Press, 2007.  Print.

Hutchinson, Robert. Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011. Google Books. Web. 02 Dec. 2012.

Jones, W. Garmon. Welsh Nationalism and Henry Tudor. London: Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1918. Internet Archive. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.

MacCaffrey, Wallace. Elizabeth I. London: E. Arnold. 1993. Print.

Machyn, Henry. The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-taylor of London From 1550 to 1563. Ed. John Gough Nichols. London: Camden Society, 1848. Google Books. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

Marcus, Leah S. et al., eds. Elizabeth I: The Collected Works. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Print.

Mumby, Frank  Arthur, and Elizabeth. The Girlhood of Queen Elizabeth, a Narrative in Contemporary Letters, London: Constable, 1909. Internet  Archive. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.

Neale, J. E. Queen Elizabeth I. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957. Print.

Nichols, John. The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth. Among Which Are Interspersed Other Solemnities, Public Expenditures, and Remarkable Events during the Reign of That Illustrious Princess. Collected from Original MSS., Scarce Pamphlets, Corporation Records, Parochial Registers, &c., &c.: Illustrated with Historical Notes. New York: B. Franklin, 1823. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Norton, Elizabeth.  Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty.  Stroud: Amberley, 2010. Print.

Penn, Thomas.  Winter King; the Dawn of Tudor England.  New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.

Plowden, Allison.  Marriage with My Kingdom.  New York: Stein and Day, 1977. Print.

Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue.  New York: Fromm International
Publishing Corporation, 1989.  Print.

Roberts, Emma. Memoirs of the Rival Houses of York and Lancaster: Historical and Biographical, Embracing a Period of Engl. History from the Accession of Richard II. to the Death of Henry VII. ; in Two Volumes. London: Harding & Lepard, 1827. Google Books. Web. 9 Feb. 2013.

Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Print.

Vergil, Polydore. Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia (1555 Version). Ed. Dana F. Sutton. Irvine: University of California, 2005. Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia (1555 Version). The Philological Museum, 04 Aug. 2005. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.