How was the succession altered on Edward's death?

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Catriona Ashley Miller
How was the succession altered on Edward's death?
Edward's illness
E's decline neither swift nor obvious/immediate threat to succession. He had been healthy child but
fell ill late Jan 1553 with chest infection/tuberculosis. Physicians warned PCo it was serious but by
April there were signs of improvement. E went out into park at Westminster and took barge journey
to favourite palace at Greenwich. By May physicians predicted full recovery.
Suddenly in late May suffered serious collapse, probably contracting septicaemia - condition now
extremely serious - death predicted. Survived through June but died 6th July.
Chronology of E's illness important to know - only when condition deteriorated significantly that
succession became live issue. Those wanting to avoid Marian succession only had June in which to
achieve objective - unlikely there was any long-term planning.
Lady Jane Grey
Born Oct 1537 (same as E) probably had no realisation she was to share same position until
days/hours before proclaimed queen. Famous as monarch who ruled just for 9 days, talented but
unfortunate woman was little more than pawn in hands of ambitious parents (Henry Grey, Marquis of
Dorset, later Duke of Suffolk, and Frances Brandon, H8's niece). She was tiny, intelligent and plain in
tastes, preferring black and white clothes to ostentation of peers.
How was the will changed?
Not poss. to be absolutely clear about whether signif parts of `Devise' to change succession
originated with E or N, as both appear to be involved at key moments. Original notes on succession
jotted down in Jan in E's own hand - obviously intended first and foremost to bar M's succession on
grounds she was RC. Attempt to steer succession to advantage of N was secondary/later inclusion.
E initially suggested Crown should go to LJG's male heirs. LJG chosen because Prot and had sufficient
royal blood to make claim plausible (H8's great-niece). Marriage to N's son Guildford Dudley May
1553 doesn't appear to be directly related to succession because E recovering at the time.
Crunch = when E suffered serious relapse late May. 12th June visited by N and law officers - order
given for new will to be drawn up incorporating E's Devise. Stipulated throne would pass to `the Lady
Jane and her heirs male' - no time for LJG to have children since E obviously dying.
As minor, E unable to make will or override parliamentary statute and legit claim clearly lay with M.
Lord Chief Justice Montague refused to make will `for the danger of treason' - N exploded.
Montague reluctantly agreed to draft will as Letters Patent but warned it was not legal. 21st June will
signed and Cranmer / Lord Chancellor / Privy Councillors / 22 peers / judges / household officers /
Lord Mayor of London swore to the Devise in front of dying K.
E died before Parliament could confirm Devise -> dangerous limbo. H's Third Succession Act, naming
Mary next, still valid and stood in opposition to E's express (but illegal) last wish.

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Catriona Ashley Miller
Key events in Mary's succession
Date Events concerning Northumberland's Events concerning Mary's position
6th July E died - death kept secret for 2 days.
8th July Lord Mayor of London, aldermen and
representatives of Merchant Adventurers
summoned to Greenwich to be informed
of E's death. Forced to sign Devise for new
Council ordered sheriffs/justices of nearby
counties to raise forces.
9th July LJG taken to N's house in Chelsea -
probably didn't know full details of Devise.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
19th M's forces numbered 20,000 and had been
July bolstered by arrival of EoOxford.
In London almost all Council left Tower and
said they had fallen into error. People in
streets of capital celebrated accession of M.
DoSuffolk announced to daughter she was
no longer Q. M proclaimed Q in London.
20th Arundel arrested N in Cambridge.
3rd M entered London to great celebrations.
22nd N executed.…read more


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