November 17, 1558 – Death of Mary I

Janet Wertman

Mary I, painted by Antonis Mor in 1554 (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

November 17, 1558 marked the sad end of Mary I, first Queen Regnant of England (except for Matilda, whose reign was disputed and who was arguably the reason that Henry VIII was so terrified of leaving his kingdom to a daughter…).

Mary died at Saint James Palace. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton removed Mary’s betrothal ring from her finger and brought it to Elizabeth at Hatfield to prove that the succession had truly taken place. The legend is that Elizabeth was sitting under an old oak tree when Throckmorton found her. After he placed the ring in her hand, she sank to her knees and quoted from Psalm 118: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Much of the country agreed. Mary was not a popular monarch. She had a vested interest in returning England…

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