On ascension to the throne of her sister, Mary Tudor in 1553, Elizabeth’s prospects looked very grim.
Cut out of being Heir by her brother Edward, being illegitimate and the cause of much emotional and spiritual pain to her sister and a heretic according to Mary’s spiritual advisers it is surprising that we ever heard about Elizabeth Tudor at all. However it was her bravery, quick wits and occasions of ‘sickness’ which were to keep her alive until she ascended the throne.
Elizabeth was imprisoned in The Tower of London and charged with treason when Mary married Phillip II of Spain. Accused of being involved in the Wyatt rebellion to overthrow Mary and Replace Lady Jane Grey on the throne; she denied this however and although found not guilty; was sent under house arrest to Woodstock Palace.
Probably because of Philips intervention, (for political reasons) Elizabeth was shown favour by Mary. However after Philip returned to Spain Mary continued her fervent mission of returning England to the Catholic faith. Elizabeth was very cautious asking for tutors of Catholicism to ‘guide her into the truth.’ Elizabeth asked Mary when attending her at court for time to go to the country to ‘learn and study so she could become better acquainted with the old faith, as she had been brought up in the new’. Mary gave her consent but her advisers were furious. They saw it as it was. A clear ruse to get Elizabeth out of court and the Queens presents and so out of danger!
Once safely interned at Hatfield, Elizabeth would use her best alibi Time and plead sickness if she was summoned to appear in court. However she grew more and more positive she would become queen at the sight of Mary’s phantoms pregnancies and her illhealth. Eventually even Phillip was to add his belief that her ascension to the throne was only delayed by time and was going to be a fact.
Mary reeling from her realization of a false pregnancy and the loss of the last English hold on European soil, Calais, finally named Elizabeth as her successor to the throne when she died. Less than two weeks later on the 17th of November 1558, Mary I died a broken, unloved and defeated woman and Elizabeth ascended to the throne in utter triumph.
She was 25 years old, beloved of her people and looked very like her father Henry VIII. The years of shame, fear and pain were over and her mother, beheaded on charges of witch craft and incest was finally rewarded for an unfair death. Elizabeth I, Elizabeth the Virgin Gloriana, was finally queen in reality.