The Accession of Queen Elizabeth I

A study of the dangers and difficulties that confronted the young Queen in 1558, and of the courageous strategy by which she overcame them. By J.E. Neale.

There are occasions in history when the, thoughtful student suspects that much more was going on behind the scene than he is allowed to know. The accession of Elizabeth I is such an occasion. Outwardly everything was peaceable and orderly. It seemed as inevitable and natural a succession as that, say, of Henry VIII after his father, Henry VII. But if we reflect that Elizabeth’s Protestant predilections were known to everyone, and that religious differences had been one of the powerful motives in the attempt to supplant Mary Tudor by Lady Jane Grey in 1553, we are prompted to ask why there was no resistance to Elizabeth’s accession. Was the sinister precedent of 1553 a cautionary tale, and no more? Another question poses itself: since a change of religion in those days threatened as profound a revolution as the ideological movements in our own time, how was the revolution accomplished? Merely to ask the question is to set the evidence in a new perspective.

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