First of all, I want to thank you so much for this site. I'm obsessed with Tudor England and being homebound (with Lupus and a few other fun conditions) it's hard for me to get to a decent library to research all that I want to know.
I've read nearly every post on the site and I haven't seen this question...Did Henry VIII ever truly doubt Elizabeth's paternity? I know that Mary I believed or said she believed that Mark Smeaton was Elizabeth's father, but did Henry? I can't imagine him ever putting her back in the line of succession if he had doubts, but then, as is often mentioned, getting into Henry's head is a difficult task.
Despite being labeled a "bastard" after her mother's execution, Elizabeth's paternity was never publicly questioned by her father. When Henry VIII decreed his wishes for the succession, it was Edward, his son, first, then his sister Mary, if Edward died without issue, and then finally, if Mary died without issue, the throne would pass to Elizabeth. Though this plan on the surface at the time made it extremely remote Elizabeth would become Queen, she was still named in the succession. This was something Henry would never have done had he doubted her paternity. He committed many atrocities for the sake of the Tudor succession, consequently, he would not have jeopardized it by naming someone else's child to the succession.
A fun tool you might like like to take advantage of is Google Books. There are literally thousands of books available online to read free of charge. On the searchbar on top of the Google homepage, click on the option that says "more". Then highlight "books" and type in what you are searching for. You will be delighted at some of the gems you will find.
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