Sunday, October 11, 2009

Question from C. Leach - Jane Grey V. Elizabeth to succeed Edward VI

Why didn't the people who plotted to get Lady Jane Grey on the throne after Edward VI's death, plot to get Elizabeth on the throne instead, when she was a protestant, too. (As she was more closely related to Henry VIII).
I am 8 years old - but this is not homework. Thank you.

2 comments:

kb said...

Hi,

This is a good question - especially from some one your age.

The simple answer is that the people who were helping Edward run the country were Jane Grey's family and so the best way they could stay in power was to put one of their own on the throne. As both Jane and Elizabeth were considered of the 'new religion' other factors like maintaining power became more important.

Also, there was no guarantee that Elizabeth, who was 20 when Edward died, would listen to those in power. She might have replaced them with her own choices.

There's also a slightly more complicated answer that includes a discussion of Edward's 'Device for the Succession' which put the descendants of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary Tudor ahead of both his own half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Jane Grey was the eldest of these descendants. You could think of this document as Edward's will for who should succeed him.

There is lots more to this topic and I'm sure others will chime in as well.....

Leanda said...

Dear C, Edward VI said he didn't want either of his half sisters inheriting his throne because their mothers had not been properly married to his father. He may have wanted to exclude Mary from the throne because she was a Catholic, but he used the legal pretext (excuse) that she was illegitimate ie that her mother and his father had never been properly married. As the same was true of Elizabeth he had to exclude her too. He thought that legally it was impossible to exclude Mary, but not exclude Elizabeth.