Picture of Queen Elizabeth I
 

Elizabeth taken to the Tower

  • Interesting Facts and information about Elizabeth and the Tower of London
  • Elizabeth implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion - the executions start
  • Elizabeth interrogated by Stephen Gardiner
  • Elizabeth enters the Tower by Traitor's Gate

Picture of Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth taken to the Tower of London

 

Elizabeth and the Wyatt Rebellion
The Wyatt Rebellion was sparked by the news that  Queen Mary intended to marry the man who was destined to become King Philip II of Spain, Emperor of the mighty Hapsburg Empire.
Elizabeth was implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion which began on Thursday 25th January, 1554. The objective of the rebels was to to replace Mary with Elizabeth. But their other objective was to arrange the marriage of Elizabeth to Edward Courtney. Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote a letter to Elizabeth informing her of the intentions to overthrow Queen Mary. The letter was intercepted by Government agents.

 
 
 

The rebellion failed and Sir Thomas Wyatt was arrested and put to torture. Sir John Bourne questioned Wyatt and wrote to Gardiner on 25th February stating that he had:

"laboured to make Sir Thomas Wyatt confess concerning the Lady Elizabeth ...
but unsuccessfully,
though torture had been applied".

Sir Thomas Wyatt was sentenced to death. On the day of his execution on April 11th 1554 he was allowed to make a speech on the scaffold. He bravely accepted responsibility for the rebellion and continued to assert the innocence of Elizabeth.

 

Sir Thomas Wyatt was sentenced to death. On the day of his execution on April 11th 1554 he was allowed to make a speech on the scaffold. He bravely accepted responsibility for the rebellion and continued to assert the innocence of Elizabeth. He also defended  fellow conspirator, Edward Courtney. These are the words he spoke: 

"I assure you that neither they nor any other now in your durance (the Tower) was
privy to my rising".

Another letter to the French Ambassador, De Noailles, is also intercepted and the letter is worded in such a way that it could be read that Elizabeth had prior knowledge of the rebellion. These events place Elizabeth in mortal danger.

Elizabeth taken to the Tower of London

 
 

Elizabeth and the Wyatt Rebellion
The Wyatt Rebellion was sparked by the news that  Queen Mary intended to marry the man who was destined to become King Philip II of Spain, Emperor of the mighty Hapsburg Empire.
Elizabeth was implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion which began on Thursday 25th January, 1554. The objective of the rebels was to to replace Mary with Elizabeth. But their other objective was to arrange the marriage of Elizabeth to Edward Courtney. Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote a letter to Elizabeth informing her of the intentions to overthrow Queen Mary. The letters was intercepted by Government agents bring Elizabeth into mortal danger. The rebellion failed and Sir Thomas Wyatt was arrested and put to torture. Sir John Bourne questioned Wyatt and wrote to Gardiner on 25th February stating that he had:

"laboured to make Sir Thomas Wyatt confess concerning the Lady Elizabeth ... but unsuccessfully,
though torture had been applied".

Sir Thomas Wyatt was sentenced to death. On the day of his execution on April 11th 1554 he was allowed to make a speech on the scaffold. He bravely accepted responsibility for the rebellion and continued to assert the innocence of Elizabeth. He also defended  fellow conspirator, Edward Courtney. These are the words he spoke: 

"I assure you that neither they nor any other now in your durance (the Tower) was privy to my rising".

Another letter to the French Ambassador, De Noailles, is also intercepted and the letter is worded in such a way that it could be read that Elizabeth had prior knowledge of the rebellion. These events place Elizabeth in mortal danger.

Elizabeth during the Wyatt Rebellion
Elizabeth's half-sister, Mary, was Queen of England. Elizabeth
had no alternative but to outwardly conform to the Catholic faith - but she knew that she should not distance herself from her Protestant supporters. Mary had never liked Elizabeth and she therefore retreated to Hatfield away from the court of the Catholic Queen Mary. Elizabeth dressed in plain, severe and sombre dark clothes projecting the image of chastity and modesty (Elizabeth would not be seen to wear clothes which might reflect the material trappings of Catholicism). Elizabeth was heir to the throne and a Protestant. And as such was the focus of all Protestants and in danger of being implicated in conspiracies to overthrow her Catholic half-sister. And so Elizabeth was implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion...

 

The Fallout of the failed Wyatt Rebellion
Elizabeth could only watch in horror at the events that were consuming the country. The fallout from the failed Wyatt rebellion led to the death of many of his Kentish supporters. The Tower of London was crowded with prisoners. Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley were viewed as to too dangerous to be allowed to live - they were the next victims.
The remaining friends and relatives of Jane and Guildford expected to meet the same fate. On 12th February 1554 Lady Jane Grey and her husband Guildford Dudley were executed at the Tower of London. Wyatt was put to torture in the Tower of London. There was the intercepted letter to the French Ambassador, De Noailles. In March Elizabeth was summoned to London for questioning...

Elizabeth feigns illness again
Elizabeth must have been absolutely terrified when she received the summons to London. There was no sympathy or compassion on the grounds of being a young, vulnerable woman.

 
 

The events during and following the Wyatt Rebellion must of made Elizabeth sick with fear. She one again feigned sickness and responded to the summons saying that she was too ill to travel. Mary distrusted Elizabeth and did not believe her excuses. Mary sent two of her personal physicians to examine the medical condition of Elizabeth. They reported that Elizabeth had 'watery humors' and perhaps an inflammation of the kidneys. They also concluded that her illness was not serious enough to prevent her from travelling the thirty miles from Hatfield to London.

Elizabeth and the journey to London
Elizabeth had no choice. She had to go to London to answer the summons from her hostile half-sister Mary. She was escorted by three members of the Privy Council. Hastings, Howard and Cornwallis. All three men were sympathetic to Elizabeth. They did not hurry to get to London. Elizabeth travelled in a litter which had been sent by Mary (no excuses of being unable to ride were going to be tolerated). Elizabeth received support and sympathy on her journey to London. She looked young, frightened, pale and ill. When she reached London she was greeted with the sight of parts of the rotting bodies of traitors which were hung at various points of the City to serve as examples of the fate which awaited traitors. Elizabeth was aware that she could well join them. The journey could be prolonged no further she had arrived at the court of  Queen Mary at Whitehall...

Elizabeth is interrogated at Whitehall
Elizabeth arrived at Whitehall to a hostile reception. She was not taken to her sister but her servants and attendants were taken from her. She was left alone to face the old, experienced interrogator Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester. Stephen Gardiner was the Lord Chancellor and Mary's chief advisor. Gardiner was described as ambitious, crafty, vindictive and bloodthirsty. Elizabeth could expect no sympathy from this man. Elizabeth stood up to the interrogation of Gardiner and constantly denied any involvement with the Wyatt Rebellion. She repeatedly requested to meet with her half-sister but her requests were refused. She was, however, allowed to write a letter to her sister protesting her innocence and loyalty. She was alone and terrified. She had no friends or servants to talk to. She knew her sister disliked her. She knew many Catholics saw her as a threat to their powerful positions. Her letter was long and rambling and she was so terrified that forged additions would be made to her letter that she drew lines across all blank parts of the paper. She was then told that she was to be moved from Whitehall to the
Tower of London

Elizabeth is taken to the Tower of London
The Tower of London was the most feared castle in England. Its bloody history was well known to Elizabeth. Her mother, Anne Boleyn and her aunt Catherine Howard had both been beheaded at the Tower. Lady Jane Grey had just suffered the same end only a couple weeks before. The Tower was filled with many nobles accused of being traitors. Elizabeth was to join them. Once a person was imprisoned in the Tower of London they rarely escaped with their lives. Elizabeth must have believed that she was going to die.

Elizabeth was taken by boat to the Tower of London and was told that she was to enter through Traitors Gate.  Elizabeth refused at first to land at the gate, angrily proclaiming that she was no traitor. There was a heavy down pour of rain. Elizabeth had no choice but to be lead into the Tower. At the age of 21, Princess Elizabeth was taken through the hated Traitors Gate. When she stepped on the landing, she declared:

 "Here landeth as true a subject, being prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs. Before Thee, O God, do I speak it, having no other friend but Thee alone."

The yeoman of the guard had assembled to escort her. They looked sympathetic to the young princess . She then declared:

"Oh Lord, I never thought to have come in here as a prisoner, and I pray you all bear me witness that I come in as no traitor but as true a woman to the Queen's Majesty as any as is now living."

Elizabeth must have taken some heart at the reaction of the warders who bowed to her and one was reported to have declared

"God preserve your Grace!"

But Elizabeth was still a Prisoner at the Tower of London...

 

Imprisonment of Princess Elizabeth

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Elizabeth taken to the Tower of London

  • Interesting Facts and information about Elizabeth and the Tower of London
  • Elizabeth implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion - the executions start
  • Elizabeth interrogated by Stephen Gardiner
  • Elizabeth enters the Tower by Traitor's Gate

  • Elizabeth is taken to the Tower of London
 
 

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Elizabeth taken to the Tower

 

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