Sunday, 10 June 2012

Why did Mary I keep her sister alive after the Wyatt Rebellion?

It was Mary's plans to marry Philip of Spain that sparked open rebellion in England in 1554.

This weekend, I've blogged at the English Historical Fiction Authors' blog about the young Elizabeth's imprisonment at Woodstock Palace.

The princess's imprisonment famously came in the aftermath of the so-called "Wyatt Rebellion" of 1554. Mary I was clearly convinced of her sister's involvement in this uprising. Yet without proof she could not execute her, and the fact that Thomas Wyatt had publicly exonerated Elizabeth in his scaffold speech made the queen's life even harder.

Instead of sending her sister to the block - a grim possibility after Elizabeth's arrest and imprisonment in the Tower of London - Mary banished her younger sister to the country. No doubt she thought it would be safer to keep Elizabeth as far away from court life as possible, especially given Mary's controversial plans to marry Philip of Spain that year.

With London still unsettled after Wyatt's rebellion, the Lady Elizabeth was taken under guard to the ancient ruins of Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. There she was kept under strict house arrest and denied even the comfort of her ladies-in-waiting ...

You can read more about Elizabeth's imprisonment at the EHFA blog.


  1. Really interesting post about the two half sisters - and Witchstruck sounds great.

    Thanks very much for The Queen's Secret - looking forward to reading it soon.

  2. Thanks, Rosemary. I hope you enjoy The Queen's Secret!


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