The Tudor Period
The brief reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Lady Jane Grey. Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada.
Elizabeth I and Tudor England
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
The feeble Edward VI (1537-53) was only ten years old when he came to the throne. The Duke of Somerset (The Lord Protector) acted as regent. Somerset introduced Protestant reforms to the English church. Uniformity of service was ensured by an act of Parliament. In 1551 Archbishop Cranmer's Forty Two Articles of religion laid the foundation for Anglicanism.
Mary entered into an extremely unpopular marriage with Philip, heir to the throne of Spain. Parliament refused to accept Philip as co-ruler, and after much wrangling he took his place as Mary's consort only, with no right to inherit the throne. Mary seems to have doted on Philip, but he regarded the marriage as an affair of political convenience.
When Mary died the pendulum of English religious life swung once again. Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was raised as a Protestant, but she was shrewd enough to play the game of politics; she was a master of procrastination and of playing one side against the other.
One of the main thorn's in Elizabeth's side was Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary, a Catholic, fled from Scotland after managing to offend nearly everyone there, and took refuge in England. The trouble was that Mary became the centre of numerous Catholic plots to regain power in England. Elizabeth might have been able to overlook that, but Mary had the gift of indiscretion, and was discovered once too often corresponding with Elizabeth's enemies. Reluctantly, Elizabeth had Mary executed for treason.
The Armada was sighted off Plymouth, where the English commander, Drake, was enjoying a game of bowls on the common, or Hoe. In one of those delightful scenes which become legends, Drake calmly insisted on finishing his game before taking ship to meet his foe. In reality his bravado was based on good knowledge of the weather and the tides; he knew full well that he had plenty of time.
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