So Elizabeth was at Hatfield (already receiving a steady stream of suckups who could see the writing on the wall & deserted court like rats on a sinking ship) waiting to hear what was up w/ Mary's illness.
She was just a cpl months past her 25th BD when the peep w/ the ring came galloping up. Ya gotta wonder if this was staged for posterity b/c Elizabeth was good at that. Legend has it she was under a great giant oak at Hatfield having a nice walk on the grounds when said peep tumbled off his mount & handed over Mary's ring. Elizabeth clasped it to her bosom & emoted, "This is the Lord's doing, & tis marvelous in our eyes". Elizabeth always had good lines for stuff.
Peeps were happy b/c Elizabeth wasn't going to shove no popery down their throats & they figured since she was young she would find herself a nice DH posthaste & commence breeding up baby Tudors & all would be well in merrie olde England. The alternative had peeps shuddering b/c if ya went by Henry's Act of Succession the alternative was Catherine Grey, who was still a teenager & not anywhere near as clever as her decapitated sis Jane had been; if ya went strictly by primogeniture twas even worse, as that meant it was Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary, Queen of Scots as a girl
The Tudors had pretty much run to girls, w/ the exception of the grandchildren of Princess Mary's other daughter, Eleanor. Eleanor had just the one kid, Margaret Clifford, who married one of them turncoat Stanleys & produced a pair of lads, William & Ferdinando.
Yes, Ferdinando. Dunno what she was thinkin, either. But Frances, Eleanor, & Margaret were all demised & the Stanleys were mere kidlets & we all know how that whole regency thing tended to go.
It hadn't gone well in Scotland (big surprise there).
Mary of Guise had demised a few yrs after shipping MQOS off to the Frenchies. This perked up the Scots lords a lot b/c there was nuffin they liked better than shoving each other round & jostling for power. It beat eating haggis & was pretty much Scotland's natl sport.
The winner of the shoving match was James Stewart, Earl of Moray, an illegit of James V & thus MQOSs big bro.
James Stewart, Earl of Moray
After all, MQOS at age 10 couldn't be expected to come home & play queen. They figured being Queen of France eventually was going to be a much more attractive deal & she'd never come home, which suited em all just fine. A queen in a faraway land was just as good pickin's as a regency. It would be like The Neverending Regency, so the Scots were all chuffed.
MQOS duly wed her fiancee, Francis. Ya gotta chortle at their marriage portrait b/c even tho MQOS was only a yr or so older, she looks 25 in it whilst DH looks about 11 & 1/2 LOL Clearly girls matured much faster than boys.
Francis II & MQOS marriage portrait
There's debate about whether they even consummated the marriage b/c Francis was a sickly pup & a Momma's Boy. As soon as Mary demised the Frenchies proclaimed MQOS the rightful Catholic heir to England due to the whole illegit mess, & Elizabeth was peeved when she heard MQOS had added the arms of England to her Scots & French quartering. Supposedly MQOSs FIL Henry II & her Guise unks made her do it, but twas still a nice smack in the face for Elizabeth. She was not amused.
Then Nostradamus's prediction of how Henry II would die came true! He was playing around doing manly weaponry stuff & got an arrow in the eye. Again, OUCH & jeez, hadn't they learned anything since 1066?
So now MQOS was not just Queen of Scots, but Queen of France as well, making Elizabeth feel a bit like a jar of Marmite from that whole sandwiching effect.
Elizabeth was natch rabidly curious about her cuz Mary & she pestered the Frenchie ambassador for info. At the time of Elizabeth's accession MQOS was 17 & considered to be freakishly tall for a wench, measuring in at 5'11". Francis II was a little shrimp to begin w/ so o the contrast. Elizabeth of course considered herself to be just the right size for a female, so it gave her a leg up on Mary, so to speak LOL But MQOS was an accomplished musician, singer, poetess, & dancer, & was acclaimed as a great beauty. Kind of a draw there, so it gave Elizabeth a frowny-face until Cat Ashley poked her & hissed knock it off, it'll give ya wrinkles! Elizabeth felt she won in the education sweeps, as she could speak French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, & Greek & had much better tutors & lessons than MQOS ever had, & she didn't think rubbing elbows w/ the likes of da Vinci & Nostradamus was anything special.
Elizabeth had her own personal astrologer, Dr John Dee, whom she anxiously consulted as to the bestest days to do stuff, incl having her coronation in the middle of January when twas too cold to outdo Mom's & pipe in wine for the peeps.
Dr John Dee,
Betcha Anne Boleyn's ghost was poking Henry's ghost going HA HA I WON.
Elizabeth's coronation portrait
The council was headed by William Cecil, who used to be one of Wriothesley's peeps & way smarter, b/c he'd been sucking up to Elizabeth for yrs already & she trusted him to be the prez & get stuff done the way she wanted it.
Philip was one of the 1st orders of bidness. He promptly sent a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth! After she got done chortling she said um NO. Philip was irked & he then married Elisabeth of Valois, Edward's former fiancee & Francis IIs sister. Elisabeth prolly wasn't fussed as Philip was more than 2x her age. O the lot of princesses! Go here, marry that...not as fun as they make it out to be in those fairytales, is it? At least Princess Aurora got a nice nap LOL MQOS was also irked b/c she was BFFs w/ Elisabeth & the poor girl had to go to Spain. Elizabeth of England, however, was not about to marry a Catholic, esp the same jerk who'd done her sis wrong & lost Calais.
In fact, the next thing Elizabeth did was get rid of that whole Catholic nonsense for good & put back some of Edward's stuff & decided England was going to be Protestant & pfffft. She made some nice coin out of the deal, too, as peeps who insisted on staying Catholic were called recusants & they had to pay a hefty fine for going to Mass. Elizabeth was an apple that didn't fall far from Grandpa Tudor's fork. And do you know, the Pope stood up & dramatically said KILL THE HERETIC! He basically said twas OK for any Catholic rulers to come over & invade & knock her off her throne.
Even tho Philip wasn't thrilled about being dismissed as a suitor, he hmmm'd that over & said meh, my Low Countries (b/c Spain was in charge of em at the time) need all that nice English wool for that expensive cloth & I make a nice purse off those import & export duties, so mayhap later.
Francis didn't hmmm it over at all. He caught himself a revolting ear infection. I say revolting b/c twas said copious amts of pus kept squirting out of it EEEEUUUWWWW didn't they ever hear of that old wives' tale about pouring warm milk in there? Alas not, as he demised of it age 17. Catherine de Medici was likely jumping up & down in glee b/c Francis's 11 yo bro got to be king then & she got to be the regent. MQOS was glared at as useless for failing to provide France w/ a nice heir & her status was severely reduced as a mere Dowager Queen. Supposedly she got all depressed over it & went to bed for a good long while.
While MQOS was sighing, Elizabeth was having a good time & court was the rockin' venue again. She was having as esp good time w/ Robert Dudley, whom she apptd as her Master of Horse.
Cecil & Dudley bristled just looking at each other & Cecil frowned at Elizabeth & said HE'S MARRIED YA KNOW & Cat Ashley frowned at Elizabeth & said DITTO HAVE WE LEARNED NAUGHT FROM THAT SEYMOUR MESS? Elizabeth frowned right back & said PFFFT JUST WHO'S THE QUEEN HERE, HUH? Peeps was scandalized when she gave Dudley the title of Earl of Leicester & tickled his neck as she hung his official stuff on him & giggled. They was all o dear we needs to find her a DH FAST! Elizabeth just tossed her head & stuck out her tongue at em all & did what she pleases, just like Daddy.
Then the scandal came to a head at the foot of a staircase.....