Monarchy with David Starkey (2004–2007): Season 2, Episode 3 - The Shadow of the King - full transcript

After six marriages ending in two divorces, two executions, and one bereavement, Henry leaves three children with a clear succession plan for the throne. But Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth soon face their father's real legacy: a volatile fusion of politics and religion.

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DAVID STARKEY: lt is 1544.

King Henry Vlll, now in
the third decade of his reign,

bestrides England
like an ageing colossus.

By making himself Supreme Head
ofthe Church of England

he!d taken the monarchy
to the peak of its power,

but at a huge personal cost.

For his headship ofthe Church,
known as the royal supremacy,

had been born out of
Henry!s desperate search

for an heir and love.

The resulting turmoil
of six marriages, two divorces,

two executions
and a tragic bereavement

had produced three children.

Nowthe King felt
it was time for reconciliation.

Henry!s reunion with his family

is commemorated
in this famous painting

known as the fFamily of Henry Vlll!.

The painting shows Henry enthroned
between his son and heir,

the 7-year-old Prince Edward,

and, to emphasise the line
of dynastic succession,

Edward!s long-dead mother,
Jane Seymour.

Standing further offto Henry!s right
is Mary, his elder daughter,

whom he!d bastardised
when he divorced her mother.

And to Henry!s left,
his younger daughter, Elizabeth,

whom he!d also bastardised
when he!d had her mother beheaded.

But the painting is
more than a family portrait.

It!s also a symbol
ofthe political settlement

bywhich Henry hoped to preserve
and to prolong his legacy.

He decided that all three of his
children would be named as his heirs.

His son, Edward, would,
of course, succeed him.

But if Edward died childless,

the throne would pass
to Henry!s elder daughter, Mary.

And if she had no heir,

then her half-sister, Elizabeth,
would become queen.

The arrangement was embodied
both in the King!s own will

and in a parliamentary act
of succession.

Henry!s provisions
for the succession held

and, through the rule of a minor
and two women,

gave England a sort of stability.

But they also ushered in profound
political turmoil as well

since it turned out
each of Henry!s three children

was determined to use
the royal supremacy

to impose a radically different
form of religion on the English.

The resulting conflicts would send
hundreds to a terrible death

at the stake or on the scaffold.

Theywould even force
Queen Elizabeth l

to execute
a fellow anointed sovereign.

On Christmas Eve 1545,

Henry Vlll made
his last speech to Parliament

on the great issue
dividing the nation - religion.

It was an emotional appeal
for reconciliation

between conservatives who hankered
after a return to Rome

and radical Protestants

who wished to press on for
a complete reformation ofthe Church.

Henry sought a middle way

which would both preserve
the royal supremacy

and prevent the quarrel
of Protestant and Catholic

from tearing England apart.

But a year later, on 28 January 1547,
Henrywas dead aged 55.

And with him died any prospect

that the royal supremacy
would be used to save England

from religious conflict.

Three weeks later,

Henry!s 9-year-old son was crowned
King Edward Vl at Westminster Abbey.

The ceremonywas conducted by
Thomas Cranmer,

England!s first Protestant
Archbishop of Canterbury.

The man who, 16 years earlier,

had helped Henry Vlll
to achieve supreme authority

over church and state.

Now Cranmer used Edward!s coronation

to spell out the royal supremacy!s
awe-inspiring claims.

During the ceremony,

no fewer than three crowns
were placed successively

on the boy king!s head.

The second was
the lmperial Crown itself-

the supreme symbol
ofthe imperial monarchy

to which Edward!s grandfather,
Henry Vll, had aspired

and which his father,
King Henry Vlll, had achieved.

And it wasn!t only the Crown.

Instead, Cranmer turned
the whole ceremony

into a parable ofthe limitless
powers ofthe new imperial monarchy.

First, he!d administered the
Coronation Oath to the King.

But then, in a moment that was unique

in the 1 ,000-odd-year-old history
ofthe coronation,

Cranmer had turned directly
to the King and people to explain,

or rather to explain away,
what he!d done.

He!d just given the oath to the King,
he said,

but, he continued, neither he
nor any other earthly man

had the right
to hold him to account.

Instead, the chosen of God, the King,
was answerable only to God.

The nakedness ofthe absolutism
established by Henry Vlll

now stood revealed.

And both those who ruled
in Edward!s name

and, in the fullness oftime,
Edward himself

were determined to use its powers
to the uttermost.

Edward was being tutored
by thoroughgoing Protestants.

He learned his lessons well,

writing at the age of only 12

that the Pope was
the true son ofthe devil,

a bad man, an Antichrist.

Edward and his councillors now
determined to use the royal supremacy

to force religious reform

and to make England
a fully Protestant nation.

It was a resort
to one ofthe eremes

that Henry had warned against,

but they pressed ahead regardless.

For, as part of Henry!s
cautious middle way,

most English churches
and much church ceremony

had remained unchanged.

But now, Edward and his councillors
ordered the stained-glass windows,

the crosses over the choir screens
and the crucifixes on the altars

to be torn down, smashed and burnt.

The Latin mass was replaced
with the English

ofthe 1549 fBook of Common Prayer!,

written by Archbishop Cranmer

A religion of ritual and imagery
gave way to one ofwords and ideas

as Protestantism, for the first time,
definitively replaced Catholicism.

The popular reaction
was riots and uprisings,

especially in the south-west.

In their camp outside Exeter,
the rebels drew up a list of demands

for concession
by Edward!s government.

The list survives in the government!s
own printed propaganda here.

And it!s remarkable both for
the bluntness of its language -

ffWe will!!,
the rebels state repeatedly -

and for the picture that it presents
oftheir religious beliefs.

Forwhat the rebels wanted

was the restoration of a whole series
of religious ceremonies.

FfWe will!!, the seventh article reads,

ffhave holy bread and holywater
made every Sunday,

ffpsalms and ashes
at the times accustomed,

ffimages to be set up again
in every church

ffand all other ancient old ceremonies
used heretofore

ffby our Holy Mother Church.!!

Religion, in otherwords,

wasn!t so much a matter of belief,
as of ritual.

And it was the abolition ofthese
time-honoured, well-loved rituals

which had so outraged
the common man and common woman

and driven them to rebel.

The rebellion
was eventually defeated,

but Edward soon found
a more dangerous opponent

in his own half-sister and heir,

It was to divorce her mother,
Catherine ofAragon,

and to marry Anne Boleyn
that Henry had broken with Rome.

And so for Mary,

the supremacy had always been
a personal

as well as a religious affront.

Now she discovered
her true vocation -

to be the beacon ofthe old,
true Catholic faith in England.

She openly continued to hear mass
in the traditional Latin liturgy.

The clash between Mary and Edward,

who was as stridently Protestant
as Marywas Catholic,

began at Christmas 1550.

It was a family reunion,

with Mary, Edward and Elizabeth
all gathered together under one roof

for the festivities.

But, as so often, Christmas turned
into a time for family quarrels

as the 13-year-old Edward
upbraided his 34-year-old sister

for daring to break his laws
and to hear mass.

Humiliated, Mary burst into tears,

but she would submit herself
neither to her brother!s laws

nor to his religion.

When she was ne summoned to court
a fewweeks later,

Mary came with a large retinue -

all ofthem conspicuously
carrying rosaries

as a badge oftheir Catholicism.

Mary had arrived in force

forwhat she knewwould be

a confrontation with the full weight
of Edward!s government.

But when she was summoned
before the King and council

and taxed with disobedience,

she played her trump card.

Her cousin on her mother!s side
was the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V,

the most powerful ruler in Europe.

Mary now invoked
his mighty protection

and the imperial ambassador
hurried to court to threaten war

if Marywere not given
freedom of religion.

Faced with the combination
of foreign war

and Catholic insurrection at home,

the council backed off.

It was Edward!s turn
to weep tears of frustration.

And there was worse to come.

In the winter of 1552,
Edward started to cough blood

and by the following spring
it was obvious to everyone

that the young King was dying.

Mary!s Catholicism now became
more than an obstacle

to the progress of reform.

It threatened the very survival
of Protestantism itself.

For Marywas Edward!s legal heir.

She would succeed
as Queen and Supreme Head,

and, like her father
and brother before her,

she would be able to remake
the religion of England

according to her own Catholic lights.

The thought of Mary
as his Catholic successor

was intolerable to the hotly
Protestant Edward.

So, with a confidence that!s
breathtaking in a 15-year-old boy,

he decided unilaterally
to change the rules.

And this is the document
in which he did it.

It!s headed in his bold
schoolboy handwriting,

ffMy Devise for the Succession.!!

First, he excluded Elizabeth
as well as Mary

on the grounds that both
his half-sisters were bastards.

Second, he transferred the throne to
the family of his cousins, the Greys.

And third, he decided that women were
unfit to rule in their own right,

though they could transfer
their claim to their sons,

or, in legal jargon,
fftheir heirs male!!.

The problem was that
all his Grey cousins were women

and, though they!d been
married off at breakneck speed,

none ofthem had yet had children.

Now, in the course oftime, no doubt,

this problem would have
corrected itself.

But, in view of Edward!s rapidly
declining health, there wasn!t time.

Instead, Edward had to
swallow his misogyny,

and with two or three deft strokes
ofthe pen

change the rules one last time.

Originally, he!d left the Crown to
the sons ofthe eldest Grey sister,

the Lady Jane -

ffthe Lady Jane!s heirs male!!.

A crossing out and two words inserted
over a caret changed this to,

ffthe Lady Jane and her heirs male!!.

If Edward could
make his devise stick,

the impeccably Protestant and
deeply learned Lady Jane Grey

would be his successor as queen.

On 6 July 1553, Edward died.

On the 10th, the 16-year-old
Lady Jane Grey

was brought to the Tower
to be proclaimed Queen.

The Towerwas the traditional place
for such a proclamation.

The difference in this case

was that Jane Greywould never leave
its precincts again.

By leaving the throne
to Lady Jane Grey,

Edward had flouted both
his father King Henry Vlll!s will

and the Act of Succession.

This flagrant disregard for the law
was unacceptable,

even to many Protestants.

Moreover, Lady Jane Grey!s supporters
had made a fatal mistake.

They!d failed to arrest
Edward!s Catholic sister Mary,

who was, according to Henry!s will,
the legitimate heir to the throne.

Instead, forewarned
by friends at court,

Mary fled out of reach
to the depths of East Anglia

where she had vast estates
and a loyal following.

On 10 July she proclaimed herself
rightful Queen of England

and two days later
she took up residence

in the great castle
of Framlingham here

which she made her headquarters

for an armed assault
on the throne of England.

Troops flooded in

and Mary inspected her army in front
ofthe castle in true royal style.

But no blow needed to be struck.

Faced with Mary!s overwhelming power,
the Grey faction threw in the towel

and Queen Jane was deposed after
reigning for less than a fortnight.

It was legality, legitimacy

and the sense that she was
Henry Vlll!s daughter

that had won the day for Mary.

But Mary herself
didn!t see it like that.

Instead, she was convinced that
her accession against all the odds

was a miracle brought about by God
for his own purposes.

It was a sign

and she was now a woman
with a mission -

to restore England
to the Catholic faith.

But to prevent England ever
returning to Protestantism,

Mary must marry and produce an heir

for otherwise her father!s will
left the throne

to her Protestant half-sister

Long ago, Mary had been briefly
betrothed to the Emperor Charles V.

Now Charles offered her
his own son and heir Philip,

who!d been brought up in Spain

and was imbued
with that country!s Catholicism.

But the idea of a Spanish king ruling
in England was wildly unpopular.

An uprising in Kent
led by Sir Thomas Wyatt

fought its way to London

and for a while Mary!s throne
was in real jeopardy.

But the rebellion
was finally crushed,

and Mary exacted a terrible revenge

executing all the leaders
ofthe conspiracy

and the 17-year-old Lady Jane Grey

whom hitherto she!d spared.

With the rebellion defeated,

and with Parliament!s
reluctant acquiescence,

there was now no barrier
to Mary!s marriage to Philip.

Philip landed at Southampton
on 20 July

and five days later
he and Marywere married

here at Winchester Cathedral.

The couple processed from the west
doors along an elevated walay

to a high platform
at the centre ofthe nave

where the ceremony itselftook place.

The ceremony deliberately evoked
an older, betterworld.

Mary used an old-fashioned wedding
ring made of a band of plain gold

and she swore the woman!s old oath

to be bonny and buxom
in bed and at board.

Of course, ifthe couple
had children,

that older, better Catholic world
would live again.

A few months later, Mary, like
her namesake the Blessed Virgin,

declared that the babe
had stirred in herwomb.

The prospect of a Catholic heir
greatly strengthened Mary!s hand

and Parliament voted
to return the Church of England

to the obedience ofthe Pope.

The royal supremacy,

which Henry Vlll had forced
on the English people,

seemed to be over.

In early April,
Mary moved to Hampton Court

for the birth ofthe child that would
crown her life and reign,

and guarantee the future
of Catholic England.

Mary!s confinement, as was customary,

began with the ceremony of
the Queen!s taking to her chamber

in which she bade farewell to the
male dominated world ofthe court

and withdrew instead into the purely
female realm of her birthing chamber.

There, etiquette required
she should have remained,

secluded and invisible
until the moment of birth.

But Mary couldn!t keep
herjoy to herself.

Instead, on St George!s Day,
she appeared at a window

to watch her husband, Philip,
lead the celebrations below.

She even turned herself sideways on

so as that her big belly
was shown offto the crowds below.

Good Catholics rejoiced
with the Queen,

as they did when the serious business
of enforcing Catholicism began.

Part ofthe return to Rome was
the restoration ofthe heresy laws

which punished those who
denied the Catholic faith

with the horrible death
of burning alive.

The burnings began in February

Over the following three years,

more 300 men and women
died in agony at the stake.

Faced with such persecution,

many other leading Protestants
fled into exile abroad.

One ofthe exiles was
the Protestant cleric John Foxe,

who decided to write
a history ofthe persecutions.

Using the trial records,
eyewitness accounts

and the writings
ofthe martyrs themselves,

he compiled his acts and monuments

soon known as Foxe!s
!Book of Martyrs!.

It became, after the Bible,
the second-most read book in English,

and it damned Mary!s reputation
forever as fBloody! Mary -

especially the gruesome woodcuts.

But Foxe!s propaganda would have
amounted to very little

if it hadn!t quickly become obvious

that Mary!s condition
was a phantom pregnancy.

By the early summer she was
a public laughing stock,

with stories circulating that she was
pregnant with a lap-dog or a monkey.

By August, even Mary herself
had abandoned hope.

Moreover, at age 39,

it seemed unlikely
she would ever conceive again.

With her pregnancy
exposed as a delusion,

power started to ebb away
from the Queen.

Philip, nowwith no
long-term interest in England,

abandoned his wife to return to
his Continental possessions.

Still worse, her failure
to produce an heir

and with it the guarantee
of a Catholic future

broke Mary!s hold on Parliament.

Crucial to the Government!s plans

for the final suppression
of Protestantism

was a bill to confiscate the landed
estates ofthe Protestant exiles.

Ifthe bill passed,

the economic foundations of
resistance would be destroyed.

The Government strained every nerve,

but so too did the Opposition
led by Sir Anthony Kingston.

With the connivance
ofthe sergeants-at-arms,

the doors ofthe House
were locked from the inside,

and, as the members milled around,

Kingston thundered his protests
and the bill was defeated.

Scenes like these wouldn!t be seen
again in the House of Commons

until the 17th century.

Despite the loss of
the political initiative,

Mary grimly persisted with
the persecution of Protestants.

Her most illustrious victim
was Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

But Cranmerwas caught
on the horns of a dilemma.

In creating the royal supremacy,

he!d argued that monarchs were
God!s agents on earth

and that obedience to them
was an absolute religious duty.

But what to do when the monarch
was ofthe wrong religion -

obey the Queen or Christ?

At his heresy trial, Cranmer,

old, worn-out and terrified of
the fire, recanted his Protestantism.

It was a huge propaganda coup
for Mary,

but Marywasn!t satisfied.

She bore Cranmer a deep grudge
for divorcing her mother

and, even though Church law said

that a repentant heretic
should be pardoned,

was determined that he would burn.

Cranmer!s execution was
to take place in Oxford,

preceded by a public repetition
of his recantation.

Early on a rainy morning,

he was brought to
the University Church here.

You can still see where sections
ofthe piers have been cut away

to build a high platform

to give maximum publicity

to what the authorities
were confident would be

a repetition of his recantation
and confession.

Instead, in an astonishing
theatrical coup,

Cranmer repudiated his recantation

and, as the hubbub
rose from the church,

managed to shout out a final
denunciation ofthe Pope

as Antichrist.

He was pulled down from the scaffold
and hurried to the stake.

But Cranmer hadn!t finished.

As the flames rose,
he stuck out his right hand,

which had signed his recantation,

into the heart ofthe fire.

Fflt had sinned, so it should
first be punished,!! he said.

It was a magnificent gesture
which vindicated Cranmer!s integrity

and saved the good faith
of Protestantism.

Mary!s vengefulness

had turned the propaganda coup
of Cranmer!s recantation

into a public relations disaster,

which fired her opponents with
a newzeal to resist Bloody Mary.

Among them was John Ponet,
a Protestant bishop

who!d fled into exile in Strasbourg
when the burnings began.

He was an old friend of Cranmer!s,

but, unlike Cranmer,

Ponet!s experience
of Mary!s tyranny

led him to question the intellectual
foundations ofthe supremacy

and to reject outright the idea
that the king was ordained by God

to rule his church on earth.

And this is the revolutionary book
in which Ponet did it.

Published in 1556, it!s called
fA Short Treatise on Politic Power!,

and its titlepage, with the motto
taken from Psalm 118, says it all -

fflt is better to trust in the Lord
than to trust in princes.!!

This meant that kings,

far from being the godlike creatures

of Henry Vlll!s
and Cranmer!s imagination,

were human at best and subhuman
at their all too frequent worst.

And this meant, in turn,
that kings were human creations

and had to be subject to
human control.

If, therefore,
Ponet went on to argue,

a king or queen broke
human or divine law,

they should be reproved
or even deposed.

And if, like Mary, theywere
a cruel and persecuting idolater,

then it was a virtuous act
to assassinate them as a tyrant.

By ignoring Henry Vlll!s call
for moderation

and resorting instead
to religious eremes,

Edward and Mary had provoked
conspiracy, rebellion

and finally Ponet!s head-on challenge

to the authority and legitimacy
of kingship itself.

But Marywas soon beyond the reach of
Ponet!s seditious theorising.

In 1558, she became seriously ill,

though she fondly imagined
she was pregnant again.

She even wrote herwill, leaving the
throne to her unborn Catholic child.

But six months later,
with her health rapidly fading,

even Mary had to face reality,

and she added this codicil
to herwill.

In it she finally acknowledged

that it was likely that she would
have no issue or heir of her body,

and that she would be succeeded
instead by her heir and successor

by the laws and statutes
ofthis realm.

That, of course, was
her half-sister Elizabeth,

though Mary couldn!t even
bring herselfto write her name.

Mary, seeing visions to the last
of heavenly children,

died on the night
of 16 November 1558.

She was 42.

Two of Henry!s three children
had imperilled,

by their contrasting
religious eremism,

both the supremacy and the Crown.

Would his last surviving heir,
Elizabeth, do any better?

This is a portrait of Elizabeth
aged 14

and painted in the last weeks
of her father!s life.

It shows her as the very model
of a religious, learned princess.

But the reality of Elizabeth!s life

under the reigns of
her brother and sister

was to be very different

from the studious calm
suggested by this picture,

especially under her sister, Mary.

During Mary!s reign,

Elizabeth occupied
the impossible position

which she!d later call
!second person!.

By their father!s will,
she was Mary!s heir presumptive.

She was also,
as a covert Protestant,

guaranteed to undo everything
that Mary held dear.

This made her both the focus
of every conspiracy against Mary

and the target of her sister!s
fear and rage.

Mary had even sent her to the Tower
on charges oftreason.

Such experiences left Elizabeth
with a set of indelible memories,

which meant that she took
a very different view of policy

from either her brother
or her sister.

News of Mary!s death was brought
to Elizabeth here at Hatfield.

The story goes that
she fell upon her knees

exclaiming with the psalmist,

ffThis is the Lord!s doing.
lt is marvellous in our eyes.!!

Actually, Elizabeth had been
preparing herself for this moment


and her right-hand man
in her preparations for power

was Sir William Cecil.

It was to be the beginning
of a lifelong partnership.

Cecil, born the son
of a Tudor courtier

some 13 years before Elizabeth,

had shared many of her experiences,

and as a Protestant,

suffered the same fears
under Mary

when he too had saved his skin
by conforming to Catholicism.

But there was a difference.

Cecil, unlike Elizabeth, drew
the harsh lesson of fnever again!.

Never again must there be
a Catholic monarch or heir.

And if by mischance one appeared,

then people, council
and parliament together

could and should remove them.

These were Ponet!s arguments,

though Cecil was a moderate
in comparison.

Nevertheless, it would make for
an interesting relationship

between Cecil and his imperious,
headstrong young queen

with her high views of royal power
and her moderate line in religion.

And, indeed, establishing
the new religious settlement

was Elizabeth!s first task as Queen.

Mary!s Parliament
had made Catholicism

once more the religion of England

and only another parliament
could change it.

But to what?

Elizabeth!s first Parliament
met in January 1559.

It was opened with a speech
by the acting Lord Chancellor.

He spoke in Elizabeth!s name,

but his phraseology
deliberately invoked

her father!s great speech on religion
to the Parliament of 1545.

Like her father, Elizabeth wanted
a middle way in religion,

partly because she believed in it

and partly because she too saw it

as the best defence
for the royal supremacy

which she was determined to revive
as her God given right.

But Elizabeth!s plans for
a moderate religious settlement

came under fire from both eremes -

from Catholics and the Lords

and Protestants
in the Commons and council.

Finally, to overcome
her Catholic peers and bishops,

Elizabeth had tojoin forces with her
Protestant Commons and councillors.

She duly got the settlement
and the supremacy,

though, with the narrowest of
majorities in the Lords

of only three votes.

The price, however,

was her acceptance
of Cranmer!s second,

much more radically Protestant,
prayer book of 1552.

In the infighting between
the religious eremes,

it seemed that Elizabeth!s hoped for
moderate settlement had been lost.

The outcome ofthe Parliament
had been a triumph for Cecil.

He!d outmanoeuvred and
strongarmed the Catholics

to restore the royal supremacy.

And he had, so it seemed,
outmanoeuvred Elizabeth as well

to bring back the ereme
Protestantism of her brother Edward.

Elizabeth was equal to the challenge.

She insisted,
against fierce opposition,

on inserting the so-called
!Ornaments Rubric!

Into the legislation.

This empowered her

on her sole authority
as Supreme Governor ofthe Church,

to retain traditional ceremonies

like making the sign ofthe cross
in baptism

and to require the clergy
to wear traditional vestments

like the surplice and the cope.

The result was a church that was
Protestant in doctrine,

Catholic in appearance,

and would, Elizabeth hoped,

satisfy all but a handful
of eremists on both sides.

And Elizabeth!s hopes would almost
certainly have been fulfilled

but for the issue ofthe succession.

It was the succession which
had driven the giddy switch back

from Catholicism to Protestantism,

that had the potential
to do it again.

It was clear to Cecil that the best
way to secure the succession

was for the Queen to marry
and produce an heir.

But Elizabeth was less sure.

She!d seen how her sister!s
choice of a husband

had sparked dissent and rebellion.

So Elizabeth determined that England
would have one mistress

and no master.

But if Elizabeth could not
orwould not marry,

who would succeed her?

Her father!s will here
had an answer for that too.

For, if Elizabeth died childless,

this clause here prescribed

that she should be succeeded by
the descendants of her Aunt Mary,

Henry!s younger sister.

But theywere the Greys.

Elizabeth hated the Grey family

because they!d helped put Jane Grey
on the throne.

Then Elizabeth had been
publicly branded as a bastard

and barred from the succession.

In revenge, Elizabeth would never
allowthe throne to pass to a Grey.

But what to do about
her father!s will here?

Her brother and her sister,

to whom its terms
were equally unacceptable,

had challenged it head-on
and failed.

Elizabeth was subtler.

The will was given
one last public outing

in the second parliament
ofthe reign.

And then it was returned to
the safe deposit ofthe Treasury

and put, as this marginal note
records, in an iron chest.

And the key ofthe chest,
in effect, was thrown away.

It was a case of
out of sight, out of mind.

With the lightest oftouches,

Elizabeth had nudged
her father!s will into oblivion.

This left as her most obvious heir
her cousin Mary,

the granddaughter of Henry!s
elder sister Margaret.

Marywas queen consort of France
and Queen of Scots in her own right.

She was also a Catholic.

In August 1561 , after the death
of her husband, the French King,

Mary returned to Scotland as Queen.

Mary, however,

was far more interested in
her claim to the English throne,

when in September she sent
her personal emissary,

Sir William Maitland,

to negotiate directlywith Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was all graciousness

in her private face-to-face
interviews with Maitland.

She acknowledged that Marywas
ofthe blood royal of England,

was her cousin
and her nearest living kinswoman,

and that as such
she loved her dearly.

She also, under Maitland!s
subtle prodding, went further.

She knew, she said,

no-one with a better claim
to be her successor than Mary,

nor any that she!d prefer to her.

She even swore that she would
do nothing to impede Mary!s claim.

But the final step
of declaring Mary her heir,

that, she told
a crestfallen Maitland,

she would never ever take.

But Elizabeth had already
gone far too far for Cecil.

He!d already lived through
the reign of one Mary

and her attempt to
re-Catholicise England,

and he was determined
never to suffer another one.

Matters came to a head
in the Parliament of 1566,

which attempted to force Elizabeth
to name a successor,

and by implication, to exclude
the claim of Mary Queen of Scots.

Furious, Elizabeth summoned
30 members of each House

to her palace at Whitehall

where she delivered
an eraordinary speech.

Elizabeth was at her
fiery, brilliant best.

She would never name an heir,
she said,

because theywould immediately become
second person.

And she, better than anyone else,
she continued,

knewthe danger ofthat position,

since, as Mary!s
legally appointed heir,

she!d been second person herself.

As such, her own life
had been in constant danger

and she!d been the focus
of plots and treason.

At this point, Elizabeth
became sharply personal.

Many ofthe MPs, she said,
turning to the Commons delegation,

had been amongst the plotters

and only her own honour
prevented her from naming names.

Similarly, turning nowto the Lords,
many ofthe bishops under Jane Grey

had preached treasonably that she,
Elizabeth, was a bastard.

FfWell, l wish not for
the death of any man,!!

She said not altogether convincingly.

No head can have felt
too secure on its shoulders

by the time that the Queen
had finished.

But the issue ofthe succession
wouldn!t go away.

And it was brought into sharp focus
when a rebellion

brought about by disgust
at her scandalous personal life

forced Mary to flee Scotland
and seek Elizabeth!s protection.

The presence of Mary, Queen of Scots
in England

would force Elizabeth into the very
actions she!d tried so hard to avoid.

In Scotland, Mary,
despite her Catholicism,

had been lukewarm about religion.

She!d lived with
a Protestant government

and even taken a Protestant
as her third husband.

But in England it was different.

Here, Mary played up her Catholicism

and Catholics in turn
identified with her.

The issue for both Mary and the
English Catholics was the succession.

Marywas Elizabeth!s obvious heir,

but Elizabeth steadfastly refused
to recognise her as such.

By bidding for Catholic support,

Marywas hoping
to force Elizabeth!s hand,

and, in turn, the prospect
of an heir oftheir own faith

gave English Catholics,
who had almost lost hope,

stomach for the fight once more.

The spectre which Elizabeth
had striven so hard to lay,

of a second person who differed
in religion from the monarch,

was about to rise once more.

As Elizabeth had foreseen,
the plots soon began.

Catholics saw Mary
as a means back to power

and used her
as a focus for rebellion.

Despite her precarious position,

Marywas naive enough
to allow herselfto be implicated

in several ofthese plots.

But Elizabeth refused
to take action against Mary.

Her instinct was to try to
defuse the conflict.

Above all, she didn!t want Mary
to become a martyr.

But Elizabeth!s hopes of avoiding
conflict were dashed

when her middle way came under attack
from both eremes.

First to move against herwas Rome.

This is the papal edict, or bull,
issued by the Pope in 1570.

Known from its opening words as,
fRegnans in Excelsis! -

fReigning on High! -

it sets out the most ereme version
ofthe papal claim

to rule all people and all kingdoms.

Then, for her defiance ofthis claim,

it condemns Elizabeth,
deposes and excommunicates her

and absolves all her subjects
from their oath of allegiance.

The bull was the Catholic version

ofthe arguments
ofthe Protestant Ponet.

And, as with Ponet,
its logical outcome was tyrannicide -

the assassination or murder
ofthe errant ruler.

The Pope had, in effect,
declared war on Elizabeth

by calling for her murder.

But two could play at that game

and Elizabeth!s council
responded in kind.

Violent times breed violent measures

and few have been more violent
than this bond of association here.

Drawn up the Pri Council,
it!s a kind of licensed lynch law.

If Elizabeth were to be assassinated

in favour of any possible
claimant to the throne,

then those who'd joined the bond

undertook to band together
to prosecute such person or persons

to the death

and to take the uttermost revenge
on them by any possible means.

The Protestant nobility and gentry

flocked to subscribe to the bond
in their hundreds,

as these masses of signed
and sealed copies show.

Marywasn!t mentioned by name
in the bond,

but everybody knew
that she was the target.

The bond was subsequently legalised
by an act of parliament,

which also set up a tribunal
to determine her guilt or innocence.

But Cecil had wanted
to go much, much further

and establish a great council
to rule England

in the interregnum that would follow
Elizabeth!s murder.

The great council would
exercise all the royal powers,

and togetherwith
a recalled parliament

would choose the ne monarch.

This was Ponet translated into
a parliamentary statute

and Elizabeth was having none of it.

For Elizabeth sawthe bond as being
as offensive as the papal bull,

fRegnans in Excelsis',

since it too set religion
above the Crown

and permitted subjects
tojudge a sovereign.

But not even Elizabeth could
protect Mary from her own folly

or Cecil!s vendetta.

In 1586, Marywas lured into giving
her explicit endorsement

to a plot to assassinate Elizabeth.

Faced with incontrovertible evidence
of her guilt,

Elizabeth was forced to agree
to her trial and condemnation.

She even signed the death warrant,

but gave instructions that the
execution wasn!t to be carried out

without her further command.

But for once Cecil
didn!t obey his queen.

Instead, a secret meeting
ofthe council

was convened in his rooms at court,

and acting on their own authority,

and in defiance ofthe Queen!s
express commands,

the councillors
dispatched the death warrant

to Mary!s prison
at Fotheringhay Castle.

And there, in the Great Hall,
Marywas publicly beheaded.

She died magnificently,

clutching a crucifix
and wearing a scarlet petticoat

as a martyr to her Catholic faith.

But she also,
queen regnant though she was,

had been publicly executed
like any other common criminal.

The divinity that doth hedge a king,

which Elizabeth had fought
so hard to preserve,

had evaporated,
never fully to return.

The execution of Mary
was a watershed.

Henry Vlll and his three children

had each sought to
reshape the religion ofthe nation

according to their
own personal preferences.

But as a fierce nationalistic
Protestantism took hold in England,

it was becoming clear
that a monarch or an heir

who stepped too far out of line

with the religious prejudices
ofthe nation,

would do so at their peril.

The dangerous liaison between
monarchy and religion

had claimed its first victim
in Mary Queen of Scots.

She would not be the last.