Imagens das páginas
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

ELIZABETH, Queen of England, was the daughter of Henry VIII. by his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and was born at Greenwich on the 7th of September, 1533. She was not three years old therefore when her mother was brought to the block, in May, 1536. Very soon after her birth it was declared, by the Act 25 Henry VIII., c. 22, that if Queen Anne should decease without issue male, to be begotten of the body of the king, and if the king himself should die without other issue male, then the crown should go “ to the Lady Elizabeth, now prin



cess, and to the heirs of her body lawfully begotten." By the 28 Henry VIII., c. 7, however, passed after his marriage with Jane Seymour, his two former marriages were declared to be unlawful and void, and both Elizabeth and her elder sister Mary were bastardized. But finally, by the 35 Henry VIII., c. 1, passed soon after his marriage with his last wife, Catharine Parr, it was declared that if Prince Edward should die without heirs, then the crown should remain first to the Lady Mary, and, failing her, to the Lady Elizabeth. This was the last legal settlement of the crown, by which her position was affected, made previous to Elizabeth's accession ; unless indeed she might be considered to be excluded by implication by the Act 1 Mary, st. 2, c. 1, which legitimatized her sister Mary, declared the validity of Henry's first marriage, and pronounced his divorce from Catherine of Aragon to be void.

In 1535 a negotiation was entered into for the marriage of Elizabeth to the Duke of Angoulême, the third son of Francis I. of France; but it was broken off before any agreement was come to. In 1546 also Henry proposed to the Emperor Charles V., with a view of breaking off a match then contemplated between the emperor's son, the prince of Spain, afterwards Philip II., with a daughter of the French king, that Philip should marry the Princess Elizabeth ; but neither alliance took place. Elizabeth's next suitor, though he does not seem to have formally declared his pretensions, was the protector Somerset's unfortunate brother, the Lord Seymour of Sudley. He is said to have made some advances to her even before his marriage with Queen Catharine Parr, although Elizabeth was then only in her fourteenth year. Catharine, who died a few months after her marriage (poisoned, as many supposed, by her husband), appears to have been made somewhat uncomfortable while she lived by the freedoms the princess continued to allow Sudley to take with her, which went beyond ordinary flirtation ; the scandal of the day indeed was, that “the Lady Elizabeth did bear some affection to the admiral.” After his wife's death he was accused of having renewed

« AnteriorContinuar »