Jane then dies and is replaced by
another stepmother - Anne of Cleves. Anne of Cleves keeps her
life but not her position as King Henry's wife - the marriage
is annulled. In the same year her 49 year old father marries a
kinswoman - Catherine Howard aged just 17 years old. Poor,
tragic, Catherine Howard follows the same fate of her cousin,
and Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn. She is beheaded.
Elizabeth's childhood was filled with such terrible and bloody
events. Her father married again in 1543 - Elizabeth is just
10 years old. This time he marries a widow called Katharine
Parr. Katherine unites the children of Henry and ensures their
return to court. Katharine Parr treats Elizabeth as if she
were her own daughter. The marriage between Katharine Parr and
Henry VIII lasts until 1547 when Henry VIII, Elizabeth's
father dies. Elizabeth is left an orphan at the mercy of the
powerful men and politics of the court...
Elizabeth lives in the Household of Katharine Parr
Katharine Parr becomes the guardian of Elizabeth after Henry's death and
they lived at Whitehall and Chelsea. Katharine has known only old men as
her husbands and she falls in love with a younger ,handsome man. He also
happens to be one of the most ambitious men at court - Thomas Seymour the
brother of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of the young
King Edward VI - Elizabeth's brother. Thomas Seymour was the Lord High
Admiral of England and brother to the deceased Jane Seymour. The Seymours
were powerful and unscrupulous men. Thomas was bitterly jealous of his
brother. He sought to gain influence over the young King Edward and
displace his brother. He wanted to marry an heiress. He had already made a
suit to Anne of Cleves and when it was turned down he turned his
attentions to Katharine Parr. He courted Katharine in secret and married
her with indecent haste in May 1547 - just four months after Henry had
died. Their marriage was without permission from his brother or the
Privy Council - it would not have been granted as theoretically Katharine
could have been pregnant by King Henry.
Thomas Seymour was
handsome, bold, energetic, charming, clever and boisterous. He managed to
gain the approval of the young King Edward and was forgiven for the secret
marriage to the rich Queen Dowager, Katharine Parr. Katharine, Thomas
Seymour and the fourteen year old Princess Elizabeth all lived in the same
household at the Admiral's property at Sudeley Castle. By November 1547 Katharine Parr became pregnant. Katharine was
deliriously happy. And so was Elizabeth. For the first time in her young
life she was living in a happy family unit. Katharine treated her like a
daughter. Thomas Seymour treated her in a different way...
Teenage Scandal of
Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth
became friends. Thomas was reported to have paid morning visits to
Elizabeth, in her bedchamber, before she was dressed. There was romping,
laughing and giggling. Elizabeth was very flattered. She was receiving
attention from a handsome, older man. No one knows how far these romps
went. Seymour was reported to have extended this 'playfulness' in the
presence of his wife and the servants. There was a report of Seymour
slashing and ripping the gown of Elizabeth in the gardens of the house.
Talk started - gossip increased. Elizabeth denied any scandal or bad
behaviour. But things had gone too far and early in 1548 Elizabeth leaves Katherine Parr's
household under questionable circumstances.
There appeared to be no animosity between Katharine and Elizabeth. Neither
were comfortable with the conduct of Seymour and it is possible that
Elizabeth was sent away for her own protection. Elizabeth wrote to
Katharine affectionately after she left her household. Katharine gave
birth to a girl named Mary at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire a short
time later on 30 August but died shortly after on 5 September of puerperal fever.
The Scandal of
between Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour is investigated
Despite the rumours Thomas Seymour applied to be a suitor of Elizabeth
after the death of Katharine. His suit was rejected by the Privy Council.
Seymour continued to plot for power and was arrested for treason.
Elizabeth was implicated with the plots and the scandal surrounding
Seymour and Elizabeth merited investigation. Kat Ashley and Thomas Parry
were arrested on January 21 and questioned in the Tower about the relationship between Seymour and
Elizabeth. There was even rumours that Elizabeth was
pregnant by Thomas Seymour and that she had gone to the house of Thomas
Parry to give birth to the child. Elizabeth was questioned but swore she
was still a virgin and nothing was proved. Kat Ashley was released from
the Tower on 26 February. Elizabeth confidently withstood
all interrogation from Sir Robert Tyrwhit and obtained a public
announcement in order to maintain her reputation. Her frustrated
interrogator reported of her: "she hath a very good wit and nothing is
gotten of her but by great policy." Thomas Seymour was found guilty of
High Treason and executed on March 10 1549. The scandal terrified the
young Elizabeth and taught her a valuable lesson. From the time the
scandal erupted Elizabeth dressed in a sombre fashion and behaved in a
prim and virtuous fashion as befitted a virtuous Protestant young lady.
Elizabeth Feigns illness