God's Miracle

E lizabeth was at Hatfield when she received the news of Edward VI's death, and there she remained, diplomatically ill, waiting upon events. Her biographer, William Camden, states that Northumberland sent commissioners to offer her a large bribe in exchange for renouncing her claim to the throne, but she refused it, saying, 'You must first make this agreement with my elder sister, during whose lifetime I have no claim or title to resign.' Northumberland had his hands too full with other matters to press her further.

By 11 July, Kenninghall was surrounded by an armed camp, which grew larger by the hour as gentlemen from Norfolk and Suffolk rode in with their tenants to offer Mary their support. In Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, men were arming in her favour after loyal supporters had proclaimed her queen. Not only Catholics turned out, but also Protestants, anxious to see the lawful heir restored to the throne. Yet support for Mary was not universal; in parts of East Anglia and Cambridgeshire there was a small and poorly-documented rising against her, which continued for several weeks.

The Council finally replied to Mary's letter on 11 July in a document composed by Northumberland and John Cheke:

To my Lady Mary:

Madam, we have received your letter declaring your supposed title which you judge yourself to have. Our answer is to advise you forasmuch as our sovereign lady Queen Jane is invested and possessed with right and just title to the imperial crown of this realm, not only by good order of old ancient laws of this realm, but also by your late sovereign lord's Letters Patent signed with his own hand and sealed with the great seal of England in the presence of the most part of the nobles and councillors, judges and divers other grown and sage persons assenting and subscribing to the same.

We must profess and declare unto you that by divers Acts of Parliament you [be] made illegitimate and unheritable to the imperial crown of this realm. You will, upon just consideration thereof, cease by your pretence to vex and molest any of our sovereign lady Queen Jane's subjects, drawing them from the true faith and allegiance due unto Her Grace.

Assuring you that, if you will for respect show yourself quiet and obedient as you ought, you shall find us all [ready] to do you any service, that we with duty may be glad with you to preserve the common state of this realm, wherein you may otherwise be grievous unto us, to yourself, and to them.

And thus we bid you most heartily well to fare, from the Tower of London, the ix [sic] July. Your ladyship's loving friends, showing yourself an obedient subject.

[Signed] Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury; the Bishop of Ely; Northumberland; Bedford; Suffolk; Northampton; Arundel; Shrewsbury; Huntingdon; Pembroke; Clinton; etc.

Twenty-one privy councillors signed; William Cecil was not of their number. He did not approve of Jane's accession, and was working in secret to restore Mary, using Sir Nicholas Throckmorton as an agent. Cecil's disaffection escaped Northumberland's notice, but inspired the watchful and resentful Arundel to work with him in secret on the princess's behalf.

On the 11th, Northumberland learned, to his dismay, that Mary was still at large, Robert Dudley having failed to capture her. The Duke knew that each day that saw Mary at liberty increased her chances of success, and realised that an armed confrontation was now inevitable. He must act swiftly if the victory was to be his, and he began by dispatching a letter in the name of Queen Jane to all the lord lieutenants of the counties: 'You will endeavour yourself in all things to the uttermost of your power, not only to defend our just tide to the crown, but also to assist us to disturb, repel and resist the feigned and untrue claim of the Lady Mary, bastard daughter to our great-uncle, Henry VIII.'

Northumberland would have dearly loved to lead an army against Mary himself, but he dared not leave London, and had insufficient forces available there anyway. Instead, he spent that evening and the next day arranging a general muster of troops in Tothill Fields near Westminster, and organising the recruitment of more men 'to fetch in the Lady Mary.to destroy Her Grace'. 'The drum is beaten here to raise troops, and they are to have a month's pay in advance,' reported Scheyfve.

By Wednesday 12 July, thirty more gentlemen and their retainers had arrived at Kenninghall, and Mary decided that she should move to a larger stronghold with better fortifications. On that day she marched with her forces to Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, another Howard property that had reverted to the Crown, which was situated only fifteen miles from the coast. Framlingham was a mighty fortress, with a curtain wall forty feet long and eight thick, intersected by thirteen great towers, and enclosing a handsome brick lodging built recently by the Duke of Norfolk. Here, having found the deer park below the castle packed with local people come to offer their allegiance, Mary raised her standard, and it was variously reported soon afterwards that she was attended by between 14,000 and 40,000 men (the real figure was probably nearer 15,000), with numbers increasing daily, boosted by 'innumerable small companies of the common people', armed with whatever came to hand.

Contemporary observers, such as Robert Wingfield who was probably present at Framlingham and soon afterwards wrote a Latin biography of Mary, were certain that those who offered her their support did so out of a firm conviction of the tightness of her claim, and because of the love they bore her. There were, however, few noblemen in her army, and it appears that the loyal officers of her household, Rochester, Jerningham and Waldegrave, were in charge of organising her forces.

That night, Mary received two items of good news. The first was that Robert Dudley had been routed at King's Lynn and been forced to retreat to BurySt Edmunds to await reinforcements. The second was that Norwich, which had only days before closed its gates against Mary, had now recognised her as queen, setting an example that would speedily be followed by other cities and towns; men and supplies soon began arriving from there.

On the evening of the I2th, Northumberland had mustered 2000 soldiers, both infantry and cavalry, whose ranks were augmented by the yeomen of the guard, a number of Spanish and German mercenaries, and thirty great guns from the Tower arsenal. Henry Machyn, the contemporary diarist, recorded how that night 'was carried to the Tower three carts full of all manner of ordnance, as great guns and small, bows, bills, spears, pikes, harness, arrows, gunpowder and victuals'. In order to prevent Mary from escaping abroad the Duke ordered that five of his warships be moved up the coast to Yarmouth to guard it.

Northumberland was not unaware of the fence-sitters on the Council, and, fearing to leave London in their hands, suggested that Suffolk lead the army into East Anglia; but he had not reckoned with Queen Jane, who, weeping, insisted, 'My father must tarry at home in my company.' Northumberland himself was 'the best man of war in her realm', and it was he who should lead her forces. The councillors backed her, and although the Duke made loud and vociferous protests, he had no choice but to obey, though he was suspicious of his colleagues' motives, and with good reason. When he told Jane he would do as she asked, she thanked him 'humbly'.

'I pray you, use your diligence,' she said.

'I will do what in me lies,' he assured her.

Anxious to consolidate his already tenuous position, the Duke, ignoringjane's refusal to allow Guilford to be king, announced that the young couple would both be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a fortnight. From henceforth, servitors should approach both of them on bended knee, and both were to be addressed as 'Your Grace'. Northumberland then dispatched an envoy, Master Shelley, to Charles V, to announce the accession of Queen Jane to her 'good brother' and declare how Mary was bent upon 'disturbing] the state of this realm', despite having the support of 'only a few lewd, base people, all the other nobility and gentlemen remaining in their duties to our sovereign lady'. The Emperor, still sure that Mary could not hope to prevail against the forces ranged against her, would tell Shelley that he rejoiced to hear of the accession of Queen Jane and 'King' Guilford.

It was now night-time but Northumberland's agents were still coming in with reports of how much of East Anglia had risen in Mary's favour, how the Earl of Derby had had her proclaimed in Cheshire, and how the Protestant Sir Peter Carew had done likewise in Devon. Even Robert Dudley, back in King's Lynn and unable to carry out his father's orders, had proclaimed Mary queen. Many councillors, hearing these reports, slipped quietly away from the Tower to offer Mary their support, one, Sir Edmund Peckham, the royal cofferer, even removing some of the royal treasure.

Early the next morning, Northumberland arranged for his army to muster outside Durham House in the Strand. They were going, he told them, towards Newmarket, where he hoped to intercept Mary on her march south to London.

Meanwhile, the Imperial ambassadors had been summoned before the Council. To their surprise they found Bedford, Arundel, Shrewsbury, Pembroke and the Secretary, Sir William Petre, speaking in warm terms of Mary and disdainfully of Northumberland, who had not been told of this meeting. It soon became clear to Scheyfve and Renard that the tide of opinion was turning in Mary's favour. These councillors were still waiting upon events, but it was obvious that they wanted to declare for Mary.

Later, Northumberland, wearing armour, returned to the Tower, still not happy about taking on 'the enterprise, being jealous of the fidelity of the Council to him' and fearing that 'during his absence they would more easily be wrought upon to deliver up the Queen'. In the council chamber, flanked by his sons, he spoke plainly to his colleagues, reminding them that he and those who rode with him were leaving their estates and families in their hands.

'Think not,' he warned, 'but if you mean deceit, thereafter God will revenge the same. I have not spoken to you upon this sort upon any distrust. Of your truths I have hitherto conceived a hearty confidence, but I have put you in remembrance thereof, what chance of variance might grow amongst you in my absence.' The lords assured him of their fidelity, but many of them dissembled.

Knowing that Mary's forces were far superior in numbers to his own, Northumberland asked the lords to raise reinforcements and send them after him with all speed. This they promised to do. Suffolk was to head the Council while Northumberland was away.

After dinner, the Duke received his commission from Queen Jane, and then bade a warm farewell to Arundel as he left the Tower. 'In a few days,' he declared, 'I will bring in the Lady Mary, captive or dead, like a rebel as she is.' He then returned to Durham House where his army, now 5000 strong, awaited him.

On 14 July Northumberland, wearing a rich scarlet mantle and accompanied by all his sons except Robert and Guilford, rode out of London through Shoreditch at the head of his men. Silent crowds lined the streets to watch them pass.

'The people press to see us,' the Duke observed drily, 'but no one sayeth God speed us.' As he rode north on the Cambridge road, couriers brought him news, all of it bad. Mary had been proclaimed in four more counties. Sir William Paget had changed sides and was planning to march on Westminster. At the instigation of Henry Jerningham, the crews of the five warships anchored off Yarmouth had mutinied in Mary's favour and threatened to throw their officers into the sea if they did not join them; soon 2000 sailors with 100 large cannon decamped to Framlingham. Even Bishop Hooper, a fervent Protestant, had urged his flock to support Mary. Growing increasingly desperate, Northumberland attempted to enlist more recruits from among the peasantry in the places through which he passed, but most men were conspicuous by their absence, having been warned of his coming. The common people had no love for John Dudley, whom they held to be responsible for the inflation and enclosures of Edward's reign.

As soon as Northumberland had left the Tower, Suffolk tried to stop disaffected councillors from leaving, but he could not prevent news of the mutiny at Yarmouth from seeping in. It was this that made many lords determined to defect to Mary's side, convinced that Northumberland's was a lost cause. The Treasurer of the Mint actually managed to slip away, laden with all the gold in Queen Jane's privy purse, and his escape inspired his colleagues to 'resolve to open their bosoms to one another' and discuss how they could outwit the Duke. Before long, they had made contact with Mary's supporters in the city of London.

At Framlingham, a jubilant Mary, encouraged by the loyalty of the Yarmouth crews, was reviewing her troops, riding between the massed ranks drawn up below the castle. So many had come that Wingfield had lost count of their number. As Mary passed, she was greeted by 'shouts and acclamation', with men crying, 'Long live our good Queen Mary!' or 'Death to traitors!' and firing their arquebuses into the air, with such deafening reports that Mary's palfrey reared in fright. Mary dismounted and continued her review on foot, walking the distance of a mile from one end of the encampment to the other, 'thanking the soldiers for their goodwill', while her eyes brimmed with tears at the demonstrations of love and loyalty.

Back in London, broadsheets in support of Mary's claim began mysteriously to appear in public places. One or two culprits were caught and punished by order of Northumberland's supporters on the Council, but the latter were dwindling in number. Nevertheless, they still exercised sufficient power to prevent waverers from leaving the Tower; one or two who tried to escape were forcibly brought back. Suffolk was incapable of maintaining control as Northumberland had done, and in the absence of strong leadership, Queen Jane took it upon herself to give orders and oversee the administration of government. She wrote to the imprisoned Duke of Norfolk, offering to release him if he would support her, but Norfolk, a staunch Catholic, ignored her letter. Jane also appointed a new Sheriff of Wiltshire, and then gave Bishop Ridley an audience to tell him her pleasure as to the content of the sermon he was to preach on the coming Sunday. Above all, she was planning, with chilling single-mindedness, to enforce radical Protestantism upon the Church of England.

Armed men were still to be seen on the streets of London, and tales abounded that Northumberland had sent them to spy out dissidents, but in fact many were deserting because they had not been paid; all the Duke's funds had been poured into the army he had taken with him.

On Saturday, 15 July, Northumberland was nearing Ware and still trying to recruit men, offering the extraordinarily high wage of lod (4p) a day as bait. In London, the divisions on the Council were becoming markedly apparent; many lords believed that, if the Duke found he could not overcome Mary, he would declare for her, and abandon them all. Consequently, out of self-preservation, they sought to restrict his movements, instructing him to proceed only by their warrant. In turn, the Duke, determined that his acts should be seen to have conciliar backing, repeatedly sent messengers with requests for written approval of his decisions. These measures hampered his progress considerably, and gave Mary more time in which to prepare the defence of her position; Arundel, ready to defect, had already written to her, warning her that Northumberland was on his way.

By the time the Duke arrived at Ware, his slow progress was already having an effect on his soldiers' morale, and by nightfall men were beginning to desert in large numbers. Alarmed, Northumberland sent an urgent demand for more troops to the Council. His messenger rode so fast that he reached the Tower by midnight. The lords hastily gathered in the council chamber to discuss the matter, but all they sent the Duke was 'a slender answer'.

Afterwards Arundel had a quiet word with Cecil.

'I like not the air,' he muttered. Cecil confided that he was already in contact with Mary, using an assumed name, and the two men decided to sound out Winchester and Pembroke as to whether they were prepared to offer their allegiance to the princess.

Support for Mary was strengthened the next day when reports reached London that her army numbered over 30,000 men and was still growing, that more towns had proclaimed her, and that in the home counties there was widespread support for her. Both citizens and councillors now became bolder in voicing their loyalty. On that Sunday morning, a placard was attached to a church door at Queenhithe, complaining that Mary had been proclaimed queen in every place but London. The news from East Anglia was such that 'each man began to pluck in his home'. Suffolk was so worried about his daughter being abandoned that he had a proclamation issued in her name, stressing the justness of her tide and demanding the preservation of the crown 'out of the dominion of strangers and papists'. That night, he ordered that the gates of the Tower be locked, having commanded Winchester, whose loyalty he suspected, to leave his house in the city and attend the Queen in the Tower. Many lords were beginning to realise that if Mary won they stood to be accused of high treason, for which the penalty was death. Pembroke, hitherto one of Northumberland's staunchest allies, managed to slip away to his home before the gates were locked. When Queen Jane learned of this she sent armed guards to bring him back, and commanded that the keys of the fortress be brought to her at seven o'clock each night without fail.

Earlier that day, 16 July, Northumberland had arrived in Cambridge in time to hear Dr Sandys, Vice-Chancellor of the University, preach a sermon upholding his cause, but its heartening effect was soon shattered when the Duke was informed of the mutiny at Yarmouth and given exaggerated reports claiming that Mary's army was 40,000 strong. In fact, he was so dismayed by the news that his supreme confidence deserted him. 'The Duke dares trust no one, for he has never given anyone reason to love him,' observed Scheyfve. Again Northumberland wrote, 'somewhat sharply' this time, urging the Council to send fresh troops, as his men were still deserting. Then he marched on to Bury St Edmunds with an alarmingly depleted force, while the people 'muttered against him' and resolved to declare for Mary as soon as his back was turned.

Morale in Mary's camp was high, especially after Thomas, Lord Wentworth, changed sides and rode in with his men, resplendent in a fine suit of shining armour. Mary appointed Sussex her commander-in-chief, and made Wentworth his deputy. Both men then set to deploying her army, drilling the ranks and making battle plans.

When Northumberland neared Bury on 17 July, he was within thirty miles of his quarry, but the reports reaching him told of an enemy force far too large for him to confront with his dwindling, resentful troops. The Council had ignored his desperate pleas for reinforcements, and were, if some reports were true, ready to abandon him; already the powerful Earl of Oxford had defected to Mary, whose forces now numbered around 20.000. Worse still, the bulk of his remaining army was ready to mutiny, and when his pleas and arguments fell on deaf ears, he had no alternative but to fall back on Cambridge. There, while he himself tried to canvass support from the largely Protestant university, he sent his remaining men to scour the surrounding villages for peasants willing to fight for him; they met with refusal and retaliated with an orgy of looting and burning, which the Duke made no effort to curb. Sickened by this, the chief officers in his army began to desert, which prompted hundreds of ordinary soldiers to slink away and join Mary. Those who were left stayed only because the Duke bribed them with promises of higher rates of pay.

In desperation, Northumberland sent his kinsman, Sir Henry Dudley, to Henry II in France, begging the French king to lead an army into England in return for the surrender of Calais and Guisnes, the last English possessions in France. A few days later, Dudley was arrested in Calais and found to have in his possession a great deal of plate and jewellery purloined from the treasury; under questioning, he confessed what his mission involved - proof, if it were needed, that Northumberland was a traitor to his country.

Even now, though, the Imperial ambassadors were still writing to Charles V telling him that Mary's cause was hopeless and advising him not to send her any help. 'In four or six days we shall hear whether people are rising.' Mary might be victorious, 'but this is doubtful and uncertain'. They noticed, however, that the guards around the Tower had been doubled, 'for [the councillors] know that the Lady Mary is loved throughout the kingdom, and that the people are aware of their wicked complaisance in allowing the Duke to cheat her of her right'.

By 18 July, all but three members of the Council - Suffolk, Cranmer and Cheke - had abandoned Northumberland and left the Tower; Queen Jane gave them permission to go when they told her and Suffolk that they needed to wait upon the French ambassador in order to procure his help in obtaining aid for Northumberland. Suffolk, instantly suspicious, insisted that he accompany them, but they threatened to have him executed if he abandoned the Queen. They then went straight to Baynard's Castle, the luxurious London residence of the Earl of Pembroke, where Arundel gave a spirited oration in support of Mary and persuaded his colleagues to reach a unanimous decision to abandon Northumberland and declare for her. The Duke, all were agreed, was guilty of treason against his lawful sovereign, and should be summoned back to London to account for his actions. A letter, demanding that he submit to the Council's decision and dismiss his army, was dispatched immediately. If he did not respond, Arundel was to go to Cambridge to arrest him. In the meantime, it was announced that a reward would be given to anyone apprehending Northumberland; £1000 for a peer of the realm, ,£500 for a knight, or £100 for a yeoman.

By now, it was dinner time, but the councillors made their way first to St Paul's Cathedral to give thanks for the kingdom's deliverance from treachery. Then, knowing it would stand them in good stead with the new Queen, who had every reason to censure or even prosecute them, they ordered that mass be celebrated in the cathedral.

Queen Jane had no idea that her short reign would soon be at an end. On the morning of 19 July, Mrs Underbill, the wife of a Tower warder related to the Throckmortons, gave birth to a son, and her husband Edward asked Jane if she would stand as sponsor to the infant at its christening, which was to take place later that day. Jane agreed, and permitted the child to be named Guilford.

Meanwhile, the councillors had waited upon the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London at the Guildhall and had commanded them to have Mary proclaimed queen in the city. Between five and six o'clock in the afternoon, the Lord Mayor went to Cheapside to do as he was bid, and found the crowds so great - word having leaked out of what was to come - that he had to fight his way to the Eleanor Cross where the proclamation was to be made. At last, Mary was acclaimed as 'Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and all dominions, as the sister of the late King Edward VI and daughter unto the noble King Henry VIII'.

London went wild. A foreign observer noted, 'As not a soul imagined the possibility of such a thing, when the proclamation was first cried out the people started off, running in all directions and crying out "The Lady Mary is proclaimed queen!" '

'There was such a shout of the people that the style of the proclamation could not be heard,' reported Henry Machyn. 'All the citizens made great and many fires through all the streets and banqueting also, with all the bells ringing in every parish church, till ten of the clock at night. The inestimable joys of the people cannot be reported!'

Foreigners looked on in amazement as the people celebrated. One Italian reported, 'I am unable to describe to you, nor would you believe, the exultation of all men.' They ran 'hither and thither, bonnets flew into the air, shouts rose higher than the stars, fires were lit on all sides, and all the bells were set a-pealing, and from a distance the Earth must have looked like Mount Etna'. It was said that no one could remember there ever having been public rejoicing such as this. 'Great was the triumph here,' wrote one anonymous Londoner. 'For my time I never saw the like, and by report of others the like was never seen. The number of caps that were thrown up at the proclamation were not to be told. I saw myself money thrown out at windows for joy. The bonfires were without number, and what with shouting and crying of the people, and ringing of the bells, there could no one hear almost what another said, besides banquetings and singing in the streets for joy.' Nearly every citizen was on the streets, celebrating in one form or another, and - as was customary on such occasions - the city fathers hastily made arrangements for the fountains and conduits to run with wine. Even the dignified aldermen and wealthy merchants, despite 'being men in authority and in years, could not refrain from casting away their garments, leaping and dancing as though beside themselves', and joining in the common people's sing-songs for joy. The feasting, dancing and drinking continued throughout the night and into the next morning, 'with good cheer at every bonfire, and everybody having everybody else to dinner, and the Te Deum sung in every parish church for the most part until the next day at Nones'. Nor did the church bells cease their pealing until the following evening. 'It seemed,' wrote one Spaniard, 'as if all had escaped from this evil world and gone to Heaven.'

Outside the gates of Baynard's Castle the Earl of Pembroke threw 'his cap full of angels' to the crowds and heartily acknowledged Mary as the rightful queen. He then announced that his son's marriage to Katherine Grey would be annulled, and as a token of his good faith, banished his daughter-in-law from his house that same evening, sending her to the Suffolks' house at Sheen. There 'she languished long under the disgrace of this rejection, none daring to make any particular addresses to her for fear of being involved in calamities'.

Arundel and Paget did not wait to join in the celebrations. They left for Framlingham on the evening of the ipth, in order to deliver the Great Seal of England to Queen Mary and tell her that the Council had throughout remained loyal to her in their hearts but that, due to Northumberland's pernicious influence, they had not dared to declare their allegiance for fear of provoking destruction and bloodshed. Hopefully the Queen would swallow this lame excuse and be conciliatory; she could hardly consign every privy councillor to the Tower. However, to prove their loyalty to her, Arundel and Paget were going afterwards to Cambridge to arrest Northumberland.

Sir John Mason saw the Imperial envoys that evening and gave them the news of Mary's accession, but their reaction was not what he expected. 'We thought we saw what they might be trying to do, namely to induce my lady to lay down her arms and then treacherously overcome her and encompass her death by means of a plot.' Even though they could see in the streets 'such a concourse of people as never was seen', it was several days before they were convinced of the Council's good faith, and only then did they conclude, as did Mary herself, that God had worked a miracle.

'God,' wrote John Knox, the Scottish reformer, 'so turned the hearts of the people to her and against the Council that she overcame them without bloodshed, notwithstanding there was made great expedition against her both by sea and land.' By giving Mary such an astonishing victory over her enemies, God, it was believed, had set the seal of His approval upon her accession. She was queen, not only by her own rightful tide, but by God's will.

The royal apartments in the Tower were now almost deserted. The councillors had gone and only Queen Jane's attendants remained with her. Through the windows came the unmistakable sounds of celebrations, which she must have known were not in her honour. Then in the late afternoon of 19 July, the uneasy stillness in the Tower was shattered by Suffolk and a group of the fortress's officials bursting into Jane's presence chamber as she sat at supper beneath the canopy of estate.

'You are no longer queen,' the Duke told her bluntly, and began to rip down the canopy with his own hands. 'You must put offyour royal robes and be content with a private life.'

Jane took the news calmly.

'I much more willingly put them off than I put them on,' she said. 'Out of obedience to you and my mother I have grievously sinned. Now I willingly relinquish the crown. May I not go home?'

The Duke remained grimly silent. In order to preserve his own skin, he had determined upon a display of loyalty to the new queen, and he intended to leave his daughter in the Tower until Mary's pleasure concerning her future was known. Abandoning Jane to her fate, he hastened out to Tower Hill, where he enthusiastically proclaimed Mary queen before going to ground with the Duchess at their house at Sheen.

Jane, left alone with Guilford in the bare and silent presence chamber, was quite composed. Retiring to her apartments, she informed her ladies of the latest turn of events, at which they burst out weeping and wailing.

'I am very glad I am no longer queen,' Jane told them quietly. Thereafter, she stayed in her rooms, while Guilford and his mother remained behind closed doors in the White Tower and ignored her entirely. Within hours guards had been posted at the doors, signifying that they were all prisoners, and therefore Jane could not attend the Underbill christening; Lady Throckmorton had to stand proxy for her.

Arundel and Paget arrived at Framlingham on 20 July and were at once admitted to Mary's presence. Falling upon their knees they saluted her as queen and informed her that she had been proclaimed in London. They then craved 'her pardon for the offence committed in the reception of the Lady Jane', and symbolically held their daggers with the points towards their stomachs. Mary forgave them readily. She had been preparing to defend her position against Northumberland, who was believed to be still at Bury. Now she realised that an armed conflict had been avoided and that she was queen by the will of the people. It was a heady, joyous moment, and nothing should mar it; all should share her elation.

With her heart full of thankfulness, Mary led her household into the chapel, where she commanded that the crucifix be openly placed on the altar for the first time in years. A Te Deum was sung, and everyone present thanked God for this miraculous, bloodless victory.

Northumberland was at King's College, Cambridge when, on the morning of 20 July, he heard that Mary had been proclaimed in London. In a desperate attempt to save his neck, he had his velvet bonnet filled with gold coins and then made haste to the market square in the company of one of his heralds, who proclaimed Mary queen. The Duke then tossed his bonnet into the air, crying, 'God save Queen Mary! God save Queen Mary! God save Queen Mary!' But whilst the people were scrambling after the coins, he was seen to weep uncontrollably.

The Duke then ordered Dr Sandys to celebrate mass, after which he confided, 'Queen Mary is a merciful woman. I look for a general pardon.' 'Be you assured', replied Sandys severely, 'you shall never escape death; for if she would save you, those that now rule will kill you.' Northumberland was silent.

At his lodgings he learned that his son Robert had been captured near Bury, and this prompted him to plot his escape with his remaining sons. But it was too late. The door was suddenly flung open and in strode Arundel, newly arrived from Framlingham. The Duke went pale and fell to his knees.

'Be good to me, for the love of God,' he whimpered, 'and consider-I have done nothing but by the consents of you all and the whole Council.'

Arundel took no notice.

'My lord,' he announced, 'I am sent hither by the Queen's Majesty, and in her name I do arrest you.'

'And I obey it, my lord,' answered Northumberland, 'and I beseech you, use mercy towards me.'

'My lord, ye should have sought for mercy sooner,' Arundel snapped.

Northumberland was imprisoned in his own lodgings, where he was seen pacing up and down in near-despair, while Arundel awaited further instructions from the Queen. The Duke's servants, terrified of sharing his fate, tore his badge from their arms 'in order not to be known as his men', and slipped away to their homes. Their horses and weapons were seized by Arundel's men in the Queen's name.

By 22 July, most men of rank or importance were travelling from London to pay their respects to Mary and crave her pardon for their disloyalty. Most were warmly welcomed by her and forgiven, but she refused to receive Northumberland's staunchest supporters. The Duke's sons, Sir John Gates, Sir Thomas Palmer and Bishop Ridley all found her doors closed against them. Having received the warnings sent by Scheyfve and Renard, Mary wrote back to assure them that she would not disband her army just yet, nor trust those who had so recently changed sides. In fact, for all her fair welcome, she would never trust any of them again.

Already, people were speculating on whom the Queen would marry. No one anticipated that, as the first female monarch to rule over England, she would attempt to rule without a husband to guide her. When Charles V learned of her accession, this thought was uppermost in his mind as well, and he instructed his envoys not only to congratulate Mary - he had always believed the English people would be 'led by affection' to acknowledge her title—but also 'point out to her that it will be necessary, in order to be supported in the labour of governing and assisted in matters that are not of ladies' capacity, that she soon contract matrimony with the person who shall appear to her the most fit'. If she needed advice on her choice, he would gladly offer it 'with all affectionate sincerity'. Naturally, he wanted her to contract a marriage that would benefit Habsburg interests, but in England the general opinion was that Mary should marry one of her own subjects. Edward Courtenay, still a prisoner in the Tower, was seen as the likeliest candidate. As early as 22 July, the Spanish ambassadors were reporting 'much talk here to the effect that he will be married to the Queen, as he is of the blood royal'.

Mary, however, had more important matters on her mind. First, she had to appoint a Council. All those councillors who had come to beg her pardon were reappointed to it, along with the faithful members of her household. The chief councillors, and the most experienced, were Arundel and Paget.

Then she had to make a decision about her brother's funeral. Wishing to hold a requiem mass, she had written asking the Imperial ambassadors for their opinion. They replied that she should allow Edward VI to be buried in the faith in which he had lived and died, since the Emperor 'would not wish you to make any innovations'. Mary had hoped for their support, and was disappointed not to receive it; she therefore resolved to ignore their advice.

Most important of all was the matter of religion. Now that God had seen fit to place her on the throne, she believed it was her sacred duty to restore the true faith. However, having let it be known that she intended to make no sweeping changes, she had to move carefully. Without apparently consulting anyone, she wrote, probably from Framlingham, to Pope Julius III, asking him to lift the interdict placed upon the English Church during her father's reign, and receive her kingdom back into obedience to the Apostolic See. Her letter reached Rome before 7 August, but remained secret at Mary's request. She did not trust her councillors, and feared they would violently oppose a return to Rome at this stage. They must be persuaded to it gently and diplomatically.

In the meantime, the new Queen was astonished at the backlog of state business that had accumulated since King Edward's death, and had scant leisure to think of marriage. She wished to go to London, although her advisers warned her it would be hot and stinking there, that the air was bad, and that plague was about. Some of her supporters, however, thought it would be best for her to return to the capital while public feeling was riding so high in her favour, and this she decided to do.

On 24 July, Mary, again ignoring the Imperial ambassadors' advice, discharged most of her great army and set out for London accompanied by a force of several hundred soldiers and a great train of lords, ladies, supporters and servants. At Ipswich, where she stayed that night, the city dignitaries met her outside the town and presented her with a purse containing £11 in gold coins. Crowds filled the streets and she was touched when a group of angelic-looking small boys gave her a solid gold heart inscribed 'The heart of the people'. She lodged in Wingfield House, where she received yet more turncoats come to pay homage and ask forgiveness, as well as William Cecil, who received a chilly reception and was presently imprisoned for a short while. Despite his loyal, behind-the-scenes support for Mary's cause, she believed him untrustworthy and never permitted him to hold public office under her.

That same day, Northumberland and his sons, with Northampton and Huntingdon, left Cambridge under armed escort and were taken to London. The following evening, at sunset, escorted by Arundel, they were paraded through streets thronged with angry, jeering crowds, who yelled 'Traitor!' as the Duke passed. In fact, the mood of the people was so ugly that the guards around the prisoners had to be doubled, though this did not deter everyone, and there were violent scenes with halberdiers beating people off with their pikes, horses rearing in terror, people throwing stones, rotten eggs and excrement, and cries of'Death! Death to the traitor!' Through it all Northumberland stared haughtily ahead, or shot black looks at the mob. Arundel, fearing that his prisoner might be lynched, ordered the Duke to doff first his hat and then his distinctive red cloak, but the people were not deceived. At length, the prisoner was reduced to appealing to the people, with great humility, for their pity, but, wrote Renard, they still 'cried out upon him'. It was a 'a dreadful sight, a strange mutation'. By the time Northumberland reached the Tower, he was spattered with mud and still bowing hopefully to the crowds. His eldest son, John, Earl of Warwick, could take no more. As his father was borne off towards the Beauchamp Tower, he burst into anguished tears.

Within a day or so Robert Dudley hadjoined his family in captivity, as had Lord Chief Justice Montague, John Cheke, Bishop Ridley, Dr Sandys, Sir John Gates, Sir Thomas Palmer and the Marquess of Northampton. Five days earlier, on 20 July, the Marquess of Winchester had called upon 'the pretended Queen' Jane, as the Emperor called her, and required her to surrender the crown jewels and other property that belonged rightfully to Queen Mary, such as furs, velvet and sable mufflers, garters, clocks and portraits of Frances Suffolk, Henry VIII and Edward VI. She was also made formally to relinquish the crown itself.

Jane was then moved from the royal apartments to the half-timbered house of Master Partridge, Gentleman Gaoler of the Tower, which overlooked Tower Green and stood next to the Beauchamp Tower, where all the Dudleys were imprisoned; despite their proximity, Jane was forbidden to communicate with them. All her servants except Mrs Ellen, Mrs Tilney, Lady Throckmorton and a page had been dismissed. Although Renard told the Emperor that Jane was suffering ill-treatment, she was allowed writing materials and books, among them her Greek Testament and a prayer book bound in black velvet which Guilford had given her.

The Duchess of Northumberland was released on 26 July and immediately rode to Newhall, where she intended to beg the Queen for mercy for her husband and sons. Mary, lately arrived from Ipswich and Colchester (where she had stayed at the house of Muriel Christmas, who had once served Katherine of Aragon), refused to receive her, and the Imperial ambassadors, on their way to their first audience with the Queen, espied her dejected figure riding away sorrowfully.

Mary did grant the Duchess of Suffolk an interview. The Duke was still at large, and Frances was in a state of panic, begging the Queen to spare her husband and daughter. Northumberland, she declared, had tried to poison not only the late King, but also Suffolk. Mary demanded proof of this, whereupon the Duchess told her that an apothecary employed by Northumberland had just killed himself. Whether Mary believed her is not recorded, but she did assure her that she would harm neither the Duke nor Lady Jane, and allowed her to go home to Sheen. Suffolk was arrested there on 28 July, but spent only three days in the Tower, as Mary kept her word and granted his plea for mercy. Thereafter the Suffolks made no attempt to communicate with their daughter, nor to plead further for her life.

London was still celebrating, while the constant procession of lords, councillors, household officials and other dignitaries, bent on declaring their loyalty to Mary, yet made its way to Essex. The Queen received most in a spirit of reconciliation, and reserved her wrath only for her most hardened opponents. When news of Mary's accession reached her at Hatfield, Elizabeth wrote a warm letter of congratulation to her sister and set off at once for London in order to make her obeisance to her as queen. On 29 July, she rode into the capital accompanied by 2000 mounted men all wearing velvet and taffeta livery in the Tudor colours of green and white, and processed along Fleet Street to Somerset House, where she lodged that night.

On the evening of 29 July, Mary received the Imperial ambassadors at Newhall. Their purpose was to carry out Charles V's instructions to

say to her that, as God has been pleased to dispose all things in so excellent a manner, we advise her to take very great care at the outset not to be led by her zeal to be too hasty in reforming, but to show herself to be accommodating. Let her dissemble for the present, not seek to order matters in a manner different from that now observed in England, but wait until she is able to summon Parliament in order to take such measures with its participation. Let her be in all things what she ought to be - a good Englishwoman, wholly bent on the Kingdom's welfare.

Mary was delighted and moved to see them. After greetings were exchanged, the conversation was mainly about Henry Dudley's arrest at Calais with incriminating evidence. Later, however, the Queen sent for one of the ambassadors to visit her in her private oratory to discuss more confidential matters, 'entering by the the back door to avoid suspicion'. Renard was the chosen one. Mary warmed at once to this charming but ambitious lawyer, who had such a wealth of diplomatic experience behind him and appeared so wise and perspicacious. An ambitious, volatile man with a large ego, he quickly gained the Queen's confidence, and she — who trusted none of her councillors — found herself wanting to confide in such a sympathetic and well-informed listener. All her life she had relied upon the Emperor's counsels, and the likeable Renard would provide a direct link between herself and her beloved mother's country. It was, of course, most unusual for an English sovereign to ask for confidential advice from a foreigner, and would have greatly displeased her advisers had they known about it, but Mary had no faith in the counsel of heretics and turncoats.

Renard, however, was feeling somewhat embarrassed, since he and his fellow envoys had done virtually nothing to support Mary's cause until they had been convinced of the success of it. He therefore made scant reference to the momentous events of the preceding month and began by passing on the Emperor's advice to go carefully in the first weeks of her reign and marry as soon as possible. Mary expressed warm gratitude to her cousin for his sage advice, confessing that, although as a private individual she had no desire to marry, she recognised that it was her responsibility to do so.

'After God,' she declared, 'I desire to obey no one but the Emperor, whom I have always looked upon as a father. I am determined to follow His Majesty's advice and choose whomsoever he might recommend.' She hoped the Emperor would remember that she was now thirty-seven and would not wish to marry a man she had never met.

As for religion, however, she must declare herself a Christian and carry out her duty to lead her people back into the fold of the true Church. Renard had been observing her closely as she spoke, and noticed her eyes lighting constantly upon the Sacrament which stood on the altar. There was no doubt of her passionate sincerity.

'I am determined to have a mass celebrated for my brother, to discharge my own conscience and out of respect for the will of the late King Henry, my father,' Mary went on. 'I wish to force no one to go to mass, but mean to see that those who wish to go should be free to do so.' Renard warned her that she would alienate the people by having her brother buried with Roman rites, but she 'felt so strongly on the matter of religion that she was hardly to be moved'. Renard suggested that she have Edward buried as a Protestant, absenting herself as custom demanded of a monarch's successor, and then hold a requiem mass for him in private later. Mary eventually took this advice.

She then spoke of her dissatisfaction with her councillors. 'She could not help being amazed by the divisions in the Council, whose members were accusing one another, disculpating themselves and chopping and changing in such a manner that she was unable to get at the truth of what had happened.' Renard could envisage a backlash against Spain if the councillors learned of his secret conversation with the Queen, and he urged her to reassure those who remembered that she was half Spanish by birth and believed her to be wholly Spanish in oudook. She should make it clear to the Council that she intended to rule with their advice. Mary retorted that her councillors knew her mind. They knew she had been celebrating mass in secret for years, and were expecting her to reintroduce the ancient forms of worship. 'I can do no less,' she said, 'for I must not be thankless for the favour shown me by God in choosing me, His unworthy servant, for this high office.'

The next morning Mary left Newhall for London, staying until 1 August at Ingatestone, the fine Essex home of Sir William Petre, and then riding on to Havering-atte-Bower, dower palace of the medieval queens of England. Wherever she went, the people came running to see her, cheering and calling blessings upon her.

Charles V's advice to Mary to marry an English husband had been merely a political expedient, calculated to allay English fears. In fact, he meant her to ally herself to a Habsburg husband to further Imperial interests. Like Mary, Charles wished to see the Roman Catholic faith restored in England; he also wished to revive the old Anglo-Burgun-dian alliance in a defensive pact against his bitter enemy, Henry II of France, and on 30 July he wrote to his twenty-six-year-old son and heir, Philip, who was just then negotiating to marry a Portuguese princess. Philip, suggested his father, might wish to consider abandoning the Portuguese match in favour of a marriage with Queen Mary.

The English, he wrote, would remember that he himself had - thirty years earlier - been contracted to marry Mary, and he felt sure that they 'would more readily support me than any other, for they have always shown a liking for me'. However, he was too old and too ill to contemplate remarrying 'and it has occurred to me that if they were to make a proposal to me, we might delay in such a manner as to suggest to their minds the possibility of approaching you'.

Philip, fired with the idea of becoming king of England, wasted no time in reaching a decision. Within days he reported to his father that he had resolved to break off the negotiations with Portugal on the grounds that the dowry offered was too mean. He went on: 'All I have to say about the English affair is that I am rejoiced to hear that my aunt [sic — Mary was in fact his cousin] has come to the throne in that kingdom. If you wish to arrange the match for me, you know that I am so obedient a son that I have no other will than yours, especially in a matter of such high import.' He would leave all for His Majesty to dispose of as he thought fitting. All Charles now had to do was await the right moment to broach the subject with Mary.

The Queen's arrival in London was now expected at any time, and on 31 July Elizabeth, obeying Mary's command, rode with a great train of nobles and attendants along the Strand, through the City of London, out through Aldgate, and on to the Colchester road, along which Mary would come, to receive her in triumph. The sisters had not seen each other for five years, and have been divided by more than distance. Elizabeth had openly embraced the Protestant faith and been in high favour with King Edward. The Venetian ambassador observed that during those years Mary 'had demonstrated by very clear signs' that she had no love for Elizabeth. Yet she had arranged now that Elizabeth share her triumph, and ride by her side when she entered the capital. Quite plainly, she meant to be conciliatory.

Both Mary and Elizabeth reached Wanstead on 2 August. Elizabeth dismounted and knelt in the road, but Mary alighted from her horse, raised her and embraced and kissed her with great warmth, holding her hand as she spoke to her. She then kissed all the noble ladies in Elizabeth's train, and the two great processions formed into one for the state entry into London.

Elizabeth rode at Mary's side, and onlookers could not have failed to be struck by the contrast between the two sisters. Although Renard chivalrously described her as 'more than middling fair', Mary, at thirty-seven, was small and thin, and her fresh-coloured complexion had been marred by years of anxiety and ill-health. What she lacked in looks she made up for by the richness of her attire, decking herself out in jewel-coloured velvets and damasks, embroidered and banded with gold and precious stones. Yet most striking of all was her obvious humanity and her demeanour, and what one ambassador called 'her gracious modesty, more divine than human'.

By the standards of her day, Mary was well into middle age. Elizabeth, at nearly twenty, was radiantly young, tall and sophisticated, with unblemished white skin and long, wavy red-gold hair. Still affecting her plain black and white clothes, she wore little jewellery, yet she revelled in the fine figure she cut upon a horse. With her hooked nose and thin, clever face, she was not conventionally beautiful - a Venetian envoy considered her 'comely rather than handsome' - yet she exuded a powerful charm and had inherited her mother's talent for coquetry. Despite this, she had at all times a regal presence. 'An air of dignified majesty pervades all her actions,' remarked another Venetian. To the people, she represented the future, for until Mary bore a child — and at her age that was no certain prospect - Elizabeth was her heir. Hence they cheered for her almost as much as for Mary; Renard remarked on how much they seemed drawn to her.

In the late afternoon of 3 August, the Queen's procession entered London through Aldgate, where the Lord Mayor was waiting to surrender the city's mace 'in token of loyalty and homage', which Mary promptly returned to him with a gracious speech of thanks, 'so gently spoken and with so smiling countenance that the hearers wept for joy', according to Wriothesley's Chronicle. Upon her entry, trumpets sounded, guns were fired from Tower Wharf, the church bells rang out, music played - 'which rejoiced the Queen's Highness greatly' -and throngs of citizens cheered themselves hoarse, crying 'Jesus save Her Grace!', while many wept for joy, 'that the like was never seen before'. Every street was gaily bedecked with flowers, banners and streamers, whilst tapestries and painted cloths hung from many windows, and everywhere were displayed placards bearing the Latin legend ' Vox populi, vox Dei — The voice of the people is the voice of God.'

The Queen, who had changed into ceremonial clothes in a house in Whitechapel, now wore a gown of purple velvet and satin in the French style, covered with goldsmiths' work in gold and gems. Around her neck was a thick chain or baldrick of gold, pearls and precious stones, and on her French hood was a rich trimming of gems and pearls. Her horse was caparisoned in cloth of gold, with intricate embroideries. She looked tired but happy, almost overwhelmed by the ovation given her. According to the Imperial ambassadors, 'her manner, her gestures, her countenance were such that in no event could they have been improved'.

Behind the Queen rode Elizabeth, dressed in white, smiling and nodding at the people, and after her came Anne of Cleves, once the fourth wife of Henry VIII, the Duchess of Norfolk and the Marchioness of Exeter, mother of Edward Courtenay and favoured friend of the Queen. In front of Mary rode the Earl of Arundel, bearing the sword of state, preceded by 740 men in velvet coats and 180 ladies and gentlewomen. Sir Anthony Browne rode behind the Queen and bore her long train over his arm. Five thousand more of her supporters had reluctantly remained outside the city after the authorities had expressed fears over the streets becoming dangerously congested. All the foreign ambassadors rode in the procession except for the French envoy, de Noailles, who prudently stayed away, having rather overtly supported Northumberland.

Outside the Tower of London, where Mary was to lodge for the next two weeks, a hundred children made an oration to her. She listened intently, but made no reply, and then passed on over the drawbridge of the fortress, as the cannon sounded continually 'like great thunder, so that it had been like to an earthquake'.

Inside the Tower precincts a crowd awaited her, but her gaze was drawn to four prisoners who knelt on the grass by the great gate -Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, imprisoned at the beginning of Edward's reign for resisting Somerset's religious reforms; Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk, now eighty, whose neck had only been spared because Henry VIII, who had suspected him of leading a Catholic plot, had died before he could sign the death warrant; the Duchess of Somerset, widow of the Lord Protector, and Mary's longstanding friend; and Edward Courtenay, a youth whose Plantagenet blood had ensured his continued imprisonment since 1539, when most of his family had been executed by Henry VIII.

These prisoners all asked the Queen's pardon. She looked upon them with compassion, even old Norfolk, who had once - at her father's behest — spoken very brutally to her, and Gardiner, who had done his best to have her mother's marriage annulled. For all their faults, they were good Catholics, and she had need of them.

'These are my prisoners,' she announced, and commanded that they be immediately set at liberty, dismounting to raise, embrace and kiss them, her eyes brimming with tears. There and then she appointed Gardiner a councillor, and all were issued with written pardons the next day; Norfolk's attainder was reversed in Mary's first Parliament and his tides and lands were returned to him, whilst Gardiner was restored to his see. The Queen watched as Courtenay was reunited with his mother, and then withdrew with them and the other freed prisoners into the White Tower and presently to the royal apartments.

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