Saturday, 8 March 2014

Queen Mary's 1554 pregnancy

Queen Mary Tudor married Prince Philip of Spain on July 15th 1554.

In the September of 1554, the court doctor told Queen Mary that she was pregnant. A Parliamentary Act was then passed which stated that if Queen Mary died in childbirth, Philip would act as Regent in England until the child reached the age of majority, however Philip would not be King of England.
At the end of April 1555, Lady Elizabeth was called to court in order to attend the imminent royal birth.
However, a letter written on the 25th April from Prince Philip to his brother-in-law Maximilian of Austria read;
"The queen's pregnancy turns out to not have been as certain as we thought"

On April 30th, false rumours were spread across England and Europe that the Queen had given birth to a son. However, there was no news from Hampton Court where the Queen was in confinement. Throughout the months of May and June, reports came from those inside Hampton Court, such as lady-in-waiting Susan Clarencieux, that the Queen no longer appeared pregnant. In June and July, Mary was said to be blaming her lack of child on the Protestant 'heretics' in her realm and that until she had rid her country of them, she would not be able to have a child.
In August 1555 Queen Mary came out of confinement, yet made no statement about the expected child. 
Her husband Philip left England later that month and would not return for two years. Lady Elizabeth remained at court until October, appearing to be back in favour as the heir presumptive to the throne. 

The following ballad was sung during the winter months of 1554, to celebrate the Queen's pregnancy being announced.
The Ballad of Joy

Now singe, now springe, our care is exiled.
Our vertuous Quene is quickned with child.

Nowe englande is happie, and happie in dede,
That god of his goodness, dothe prospir here seede:
Therefore let us praie, it was never more nede,
God prosper her highnes, god send her good sped.

How manie good people, were longe in dispaire,
That this letel englane, shold lacke a right heire:
But nowe the swet marigold, springeth to fayre,
That England triumpheth, without anie care.

How manie greate thraldoms, in englande were seene,
Before that her highness, was pwblyshed as quene:
The bewtye of England, was banished clene,
With wringing, and wrongynge, & sorrowes betwen.

And yet synce her highness was planted in peace,
Her subjects wer doubtful of her highness increase
But nowe the recofort, their murmour doth cease,
They have their owne wyshynge their woes do release. 

And suche as envied, the matche and the make
And in their proceedings, stoode styffe as a stake:
Are now reconciled, their malis doth slake,
And all men are wilinge, theyr partes for to take.

Our doutes be dissolved, our fancies contented,
The marriage is joyfull, that many lamented:
And suche as envied, like foles have repented,
The errours & terrours, that they have invented.

But God dothe worke, more wonders then this,
For he is Auther, and Father of blysse:
he is the defender, his working it is,
And where he doth favoure, they fare not amys.

Therefore let us praye, to the father of myght
To prosper her highness, and shelde her in ryghte:
With joye to deliver, that when she is lighte,
Both she and her people, maie Joye without flight.

God prosper her highnes, in every thinge,
Her noble spouse, our fortunate kynge:
And that noble blossome, that is planetd to springe,
Amen swete Jesus, we hartely singe.

Blysse thou swete Jesus, our comforters three,
Oure kynge, our Quene, our Prince that shal be:
That they three as one, or one as all three,
May govern thy people, to the plesure of thee.

Imprinted at London in Lumbarde strete
Signe of the Eagle, by
Wyllyam Ryddaell.

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