A Kingdom at Stake, 1553

Four hundred years ago the Duke of Northumberland made his vain attempt to exclude Mary and Elizabeth Tudor from the succession in favour of Jane Grey. S.T. Bindoff reconstructs the circumstances and development of this daring and ingenious plot and produces a new document, throwing light on it, which he recently discovered in the Archives at Brussels.

Henry VIII’s persistent quest of heirs, which did so much to shape his reign, had, by its close; yielded him three. They were his son Edward, a boy of nine, and his two daughters, Mary, aged thirty-two, and Elizabeth, aged fourteen. After them came the collateral heirs, the descendants of Henry’s two sisters. The elder sister, Margaret, was represented by her daughter, Margaret Countess of Lennox, and by two grand-children, Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Lord Darnley (the cousin whom Mary was in due course to marry); the younger one, Mary, by her daughter Frances Duchess of Suffolk, and that lady’s daughters, the three Grey sisters, and (through a younger daughter already deceased) the Lady Margaret Clifford.

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