Becoming Elizabeth: A timeline

Watching Becoming Elizabeth, I think that most people (existing Tudor fans included) would be forgiven from coming away asking: but what are the timescales for these events? This is not a show that flashes up subtitles with the date and, with the exception of Katherine Parr’s pregnancy where we can guess the number of months, the pacing is unclear. It has also simplified some events (for example the 1549 rebellions), left lesser known individuals out and given their actions to the main cast, and moved some events around. So, if you are left wondering when the events occured, here is a select timeline of the period.

*In the interest of avoiding spoilers, the timeline currently covers only the events shown up to the end of episode 6. I will update it once the show has ended!

28 Jan 1547 – Henry VIII dies; Elizabeth and Mary now live in Katherine
Parr’s household

31 Jan 1547 – The executors of Henry VIII’s will agree that Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, will be Lord Protector

16 Feb 1547 – Funeral of Henry VIII takes place in St George’s Chapel,

17 Feb 1547 – Edward Seymour is created Duke of Somerset

20 Feb 1547 – Coronation of Edward VI

17 May 1547 – Lady Mary is granted extensive estates – many of them the East
Anglian properties that had belonged to the duke of Norfolk (imprisoned in the
Tower of London)

June 1547 – Katherine Parr marries Sir Thomas Seymour; not long after, Thomas Seymour begins his early morning visits to Elizabeth’s bedchamber (to her great discomfort)

July 1547 – Lady Mary has moved into her own household; the royal council orders bishops to instruct the clergy to give services in English, remove
superstitious images, and ensure that all churches have an English bible

10 Sep 1547 – Edward Seymour defeats the Scottish army at the battle of

4 Nov 1547 – Edward VI’s first parliament is opened; it goes on to pass
legislation repealing the Act of Six Articles, abolishing the treasons and felonies
created in Henry VIII’s reign, banning religious images, and suppressing the
remaining chantries

Autumn 1547 – Lady Mary writes to Edward Seymour objecting to his religious
policies; Thomas Seymour cuts Elizabeth’s dress into pieces in the garden
at Hanworth while Katherine Parr holds her in place

Spring 1548 – Taking advantage of his position as Lord Admiral, Thomas
Seymour has effectively turned to piracy, confiscating goods from merchants and extorting money

Apr 1548 – Cornish rebels oppose the removal of religious images from parish
churches; around the country there are small scale revolts against enclosure

1 June 1548 – A royal proclamation announces commissions to investigate
enclosures and enforce existing legislation

11 June 1548 – Katherine Parr discovers Thomas Seymour embracing Elizabeth

c 12 June 1548 – Elizabeth is sent to live in the household of Sir Anthony
Denny, she is accompanied by Kat(e) Ashley and her tutor, Roger Ascham

Aug 1548 – The French begin attacking Boulogne (then held by the English)

30 Aug 1548 – Katherine Parr gives birth to a girl

5 Sep 1548 – Katherine Parr dies

Dec 1548 – Elizabeth is aware of Thomas Seymour’s interest in marrying her,
and appears to reciprocate his interest

Jan 1549 – John Russell, Lord Russell, is aware of rumours that Thomas
Seymour means to marry either Elizabeth or Mary – he advises Seymour against
marrying either of them

16 Jan 1549 – Thomas Seymour is discovered in Westminster Palace at night
with armed men, the king’s dog is found dead; rumours spread that he intended to kill Edward VI and Mary, and rule as Elizabeth’s husband

17 Jan 1549 – Thomas Seymour is arrested and sent to the Tower of London

21 Jan 1549 – Kat Ashley and Elizabeth’s treasurer, Thomas Parry, are
arrested and imprisoned; Elizabeth is subsequently questioned by Sir Robert
Tyrwhitt; Act of Uniformity is passed establishing the use of the 1549 Book of
Common Prayer in all churches from Whit Sunday

27 Feb 1549 – Act of Attainder against Thomas Seymour is passed by the House
of Lords

4 March 1549 – Act of Attainder against Thomas Seymour is passed by the
House of Commons

19 March 1549 – Edward Seymour leaves London before his brother’s execution

20 March 1549 – Thomas Seymour is executed

11 Apr 1549 – Edward Seymour establishes a second enclosure commission with
greater powers; it is widely opposed by landowners

6 June 1549 – Rebellion breaks out at Bodmin Moor in Cornwall and spreads into Devon

9 June 1549 – Lady Mary holds a mass of Pentecost in her chapel at
Kenninghall on the day that the 1549 Book of Common Prayer was supposed to be used for the first time in all churches

2 July 1549 – Rebels besiege Exeter

6-8 July 1549 – Rebellion begins in Wymondham Norfolk, Robert Kett emerges
as leader

10 July 1549 – First reference to rebellion in Buckinghamshire and
Oxfordshire (William Grey, Lord Grey is tasked with suppressing the rebellion);
the Norfolk rebels set up camp at Mousehold Heath outside Norwich (William
Parr, Marquis of Northampton is sent to suppress the rebels)

19 July 1549 – William Grey, Lord Grey issues orders for the execution of
rebels in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

22 July 1549 – Norwich falls to Kett’s rebels

29 July 1549 – John Russell, Lord Russell defeats rebels at Fenny Bridges

31 July – 1 Aug 1549 – Fighting in Norwich between Northampton and the
rebels; Northampton is forced to retreat

16 Aug 1549 – John Russell and William Grey defeat rebels at Sampford

24-27 Aug 1549 – John Dudley, earl of Warwick defeats Kett’s rebels
culminating with the battle of Dussindale; he hangs many of the rebel leaders

19 Aug 1549 – Western rebellion finally supressed by John Russell, William
Grey and William Herbert

Aug 1549 – Lady Mary is made aware of a plan by the earls of Arundel, Southampton and Warwick to overthrow Edward Seymour, she is asked if she would take part and accept the regency; after consulting with Emperor Charles V, she takes no action

5 Oct – Edward Seymour issues a proclamation announcing that John Dudley
intends to dissolve the protectorate and make Lady Mary regent; Seymour
instructs all subjects to proceed to Hampton Court to defend the king

6 Oct 1549 – Edward Seymour moves Edward VI to Windsor castle; his opponents on the royal council meet to demand Seymour’s removal as lord protector

11 Oct 1549 – Edward Seymour surrenders

13 Oct 1549 – Edward Seymour’s protectorate is dissolved

14 Oct 1549 – Edward Seymour is taken to the Tower of London

7 Dec 1549 – Robert Kett is hanged from the walls of Norwich castle; his brother William is hanged at Wymondham

Image: Sudeley Castle

Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Elizabeth Norton, The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor; John Edwards, Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen

Check out the rest of my Becoming Elizabeth posts:

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