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...
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
preserve your Grace."
But Elizabeth was still a Prisoner at the Tower of London...