Internal challenges to Elizabeth’s security

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Marriage, succession and the crisis of 1562

  • Succession was a big worry for ministers who wanted her to marry.
  • Elizabeth viewed it as part of the royal prerogative so didn’t want to discuss it at the table.
  • She most wanted to marry Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester-Simon Adamàshe had an ‘emotional dependency’.
  • Prospect horrified Cecil → his power would be eroded +Too many political risks → his previous wife’s death.
  • Simon Adams: ‘it is conventionally argued that the winter of 1560-1 was the moment when Elizabeth might have married Leicester, but it can equally well be suggested that the nature of Amy Dudley’s death actually provided her with an excuse not to do so’.
  • Significant suitor = Prince Erik of Sweden. He was Protestant & little fear of Swedish influence on English policy making.
  • HOWEVER, little to gain from Swedish alliance
  • House of Commons also took an interest in succession as they pressured Elizabeth to marry.
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The Crisis of 1562

  • Autumn 1562: Elizabeth got smallpox and it seemed unlikely that she would survive= SUCCESSION CRISIS.
  • Forced the Privy Council to consider the issue of succession.
  • Civil war, foreign invasion and religious strife could all occur if she had died.
  • No consensus to who should be named successor.
  • Lady Catherine Grey was disgraced and despised by Elizabeth.
  • No overt support for Mary Queen of Scots.
  •  Earl of Leicester as protector → alarmed Cecil.
  •  January 1563= Elizabeth was better but succession still paramountà.
  • She refused to commit herself in Parliament.- Marriage was forefront of the political elite’s mindàurged marriage to the Queen
  • Autumn 1563= Negotiations with Archduke Charles, a possible candidate
  • Negotiations stopped on Emperor Ferdinand’s death in 1564
  • Stopped overall on religion - 1566 à Matter raised again and Leicester and Pembroke were banished from the Presence Chamber.
  • Elizabethan parliament had no right to discuss her marriage issue without permission. She probably took decision not to marry.l Christopher Haigh: ‘never her intention to marry’.
  • Susan Doran: little evidence for not marrying, Elizabeth was conscious of the pressure to produce an undisputed heir. Elizabeth concluded= disadvantages of marriage outweighed advantages.
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