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Mary Demands Her Crown - 1553

Queen Mary.


Henry VIII of England and the English Parliament prepared a plan of succession that placed Henry’s son, Edward, on the throne. Should Edward die before producing a heir, the throne passed to Henry’s eldest daughter, Mary (who was Catholic), or failing that to his younger daughter, Elizabeth (who was Protestant). As young Edward VI was dying, the Duke of Northumberland convinced him to sign a document placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne, ostensibly to preserve the Protestant Reformation in England. Northumberland intended to take Mary into custody but she eluded him and set about garnering support. On this day 9 July, 1553, Mary wrote to England’s Privy Council demanding its support. She had copies of the letter read in England’s major cities. Distrusting Northumberland, many Protestants threw their support behind Mary, who became queen and set in motion the persecution for which she became notorious.


“My lords we greet you well, and have received sure advertisement that our deceased brother the king, our late Sovereign Lord, is departed to God’s mercy; which news how they be woeful to our heart He only knoweth to whose will and pleasure we must and do submit us and all our wills. But in this so lamentable a case that is, to wit, now, after his majesty’s departure and death, concerning the crown and governance of this realm of England, that which hath been provided by act of parliament and the testament and last will of our dearest father, you know—the realm and the whole world knoweth. The rolls and records appear, by the authority of the king our said father, and the king our said brother, and the subjects of this realm; so that we verily trust there is no true subject that can pretend to be ignorant thereof; and of our part we have ourselves caused, and as God shall aid and strengthen us, shall cause, our right and title in this behalf to be published and proclaimed accordingly….

“Whereupon, my lords, we require and charge you, and every of you, on your allegiance, which you owe to God and us, and to none other, that for our honour and the surety of our realm, only you will employ yourselves; and forthwith, upon receipt hereof, cause our right and title to the crown and government of this realm to be proclaimed in our city of London, and such other places as to your wisdom shall seem good, and as to this cause appertaineth, not failing hereof, as our very trust is in you; and this our letter, signed with our own hand, shall be your sufficient warrant.”


“Mary’s Claim to the Throne.”

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