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...