Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Question from E. Manford - Treason to discuss the monarch's death

Was it reallly trason to even discuss the idea that the king/queen might die? If so, did any Tudors get into trouble for this (not plotting, just discussing their illness/rumours etc)?

[There was a small but crucial typo in this question that I edited. The end of the first sentence said "do" when I think the submitter meant "die". - Lara]

1 comment:

  1. The Treasons Act of 1534 specified that all those were guilty of high treason who:

    'Do maliciously wish, will or desire by words or writing, or by craft imagine, invent, practise, or attempt any bodily harm to be done or committed to the king's most royal person, the queen's or the heirs apparent [Elizabeth], or to deprive them of any of their dignity, title or name of their royal estates, or slanderously and maliciously publish and pronounce, by express writing or words, that the king should be heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper of the crown...'

    In Katheryn Howard's case Francis Dereham had supposedly remarked to his friend Davenport that if the King died then Katheryn would choose him, Dereham. This was construed by interrogators as wishing Henry VIII would die, which is not what appears to have been meant at all.

    In Katheryn and Culpeper's case it had been more wishing and hoping, it would seem, than actually doing, but in the eyes of the King that meant wishing he, her husband, would die so they could be together, and since 1534 this alone was more than enough for a charge of treason to be brought.

    It would seem that with a law like this you could make just about anything stick to anybody.


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