|Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk|
Given that the Pope was unlikely to grant a dispensation of marriage and that Elizabeth was to restore the Protestant religion, Norfolk quietly married Margaret Audley at the end of November. In March 1559 parliament approved the marriage.
Overseeing the queen’s coronation was Norfolk’s responsibility as Earl Marshal[i], he also claimed and was given the role of Chief Butler. But first it fell to him to arrange Queen Mary’s funeral, which took place on 13th December. On 15th January 1559 the new Queen’s coronation took place. The new Duchess of Norfolk carried the new Queen’s train, while Norfolk walked before Elizabeth carrying her crown.
Before the coronation banquet Norfolk and his former father-in-law Arundel rode into Westminster Hall to announce each course[ii] and to announce the Queen’s champion. On the Tuesday at a joist in the Queen’s honour Norfolk rode with Sir Robert Dudley and Lord George Howard against adventurers.Early Successes
Earl of Sussex
The queen’s unmarried state was a concern for her advisers and Norfolk, William Cecil and the Earl of Sussex[iii] were among those who felt that a foreign prince would help keep England safe; however the majority of her subjects believed that Elizabeth should marry an Englishman. She herself claimed that she had;
‘Taken a vow to marry no man whom she has not seen, and will not trust portrait painters.’[iv]In the very short period before his marriage to Margaret Audley there had been some talk of Norfolk’s marrying the new queen, as the country’s most senior noble.
In the autumn of 1559, a year that saw Norfolk spending a lot of time on his estates on leave from court, he received a letter from his old master John Foxe, along with a copy of the first part of his Church History, which had been published in Basle in September. Norfolk was pleased to hear from his former tutor.
‘I have received your letter, my excellent master, from which I learn your affection for me, which is very acceptable…………For I wrote to them [Norfolk’s servants] they should so provide you with all things that you might speedily come to me.’[v]Norfolk’s servants found lodgings for Foxe in Aldgate, where he was to start work on his Martyrology. Foxe’s health had suffered in exile and Norfolk later had him stay in the country and later found a post for him in Norwich.
A Royal Affair
Lord Robert Dudley
When Norfolk and his wife returned to London in November, it was to find the court aghast at the romance blossoming between the queen and Lord Robert Dudley [vi]. Dudley and Norfolk had been thrown together as Dudley was Master of the Queen’s Horse. Dudley was the Duchess of Norfolk’s ex-brother-in-law.
Norfolk looked down on Dudley, convinced that he was playing for the crown. In addition Dudley had been interfering in East Anglian affairs, a province Norfolk viewed as his own. Dudley had also been granted immunity by the queen from a parliamentary subsidy, assessed on the value of personal estates. Norfolk, as one of the great nobles of the land, owed more than most other of the nobility and he was further infuriated by this show of favour.
The Spanish Ambassador wrote to Philip II, following a conversation with Norfolk
‘The Duke of Norfolk is the chief of Lord Robert’s enemies, who are all the principal people in the kingdom and that he had said that if Lord Robert did not abandon his present pretensions and presumptions, he would not die in his bed……..I think his hatred of Lord Robert will continue, as the Duke and the rest of them cannot put up with his being king.’[vii]Not long before Christmas 1559 Norfolk approached Dudley, recommending that the queen should marry a son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Dudley was furious, claiming that Norfolk was not a good Englishman for suggesting that the queen marry a foreigner, but then Dudley did have an ulterior motive.
A Brush with Scotland
Mary of Guise
On 25th December 1559 Norfolk was appointed Lieutenant General in the North. On 21st October 1559 the Scottish Protestant Lords revolted against the reign of the Catholic Mary of Guise, the second wife of James V of Scotland and regent for her daughter Mary[viii], next in line for the English throne.
From February to July 1560 Norfolk was commander of the English Army in Scotland, assisting the Lords of the Congregation against Mary. Elizabeth wrote to her commander;
‘Use all Meanes possible to comfort the Lords of Scotland, and to assure them that the Quene’s Majesty will never give over this Enterprise, until she have this revenged, and that Land sett at Liberty.’[ix]Elizabeth was angered by the initial failures of the expedition as the joint armies floundered before Leith, held by the French. But Mary of Guise was dying and as their provisions were running low the French were prepared to come to a settlement.
In the Treaty of Edinburgh signed on 5th July the French agreed to recognise Elizabeth as queen of England and Ireland and that Queen Mary of Scotland would no longer use those armorial bearings. Mary of Guise had died 11th June at the age of 44. Henceforth her headstrong 17 year old daughter Mary would no longer have her mother to advise her.Domestic Affairs
In 1561 Robert Dudley was conspiring with the Spanish Ambassador for support for his marriage to Elizabeth, in exchange for returning the country to Catholicism. Norfolk spent much of this period at Kenninghall, where on 24th August 1561 Margaret bore Norfolk’s third child, a boy named Thomas[x]. A girl, Elizabeth had been born the previous year, but she died in infancy.The knowledge of Dudley’s double dealings can only have deepened the rift between the two men. Norfolk was in the queen’s bad books for his dislike of her favourite. According to the Spanish Ambassador the queen was
‘Determined to humble him when she can……..He [Norfolk] on his side is full of boasts, although I do not know how it will turn out when he has to carry them into effect.’[xi]
Early in March 1562 Norfolk was sent to Yorkshire, where he was joined by the Marquess of Northampton, the Earls of Huntingdon and Rutland and Lord Hunsdon[xii]. They were there under the pretext of involvement in a hare hunt; in reality the queen required them the keep the north quiet.It was feared that the Catholic Lennox family might raise the north in support of Henry Darnley’s proposed marriage with Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth wanted mother and son brought back to London. Lady Douglas was interred in the Tower, but her son escaped to Scotland.
Norfolk returned to London on 8th October to find the capital in crisis. The queen had smallpox and her life was in danger. Unable to nominate a successor due to her delirium the Privy Council fully expected to make that decision. Upon her return to consciousness Elizabeth begged the council, in the event of a future emergency to make Robert Dudley Protector of the Kingdom, with a £20,000 per annum salary[xiii].
Meanwhile Norfolk was haemorrhaging money on the upkeep of six magnificent houses. He saw it as his duty, as the most senior member of the nobility, to keep up appearances[xiv]. On paper Norfolk was the richest man in the country, but he had great difficulty living within his income and even the queen allowed him leeway in paying his debts to the crown. Norfolk claimed that his proposals to pay off his debts were not accepted;
‘I shall be driven to break up my house and sell £300 or £400[xv] of land for answering of my debt to others.’[xvi]In his dealings with the Exchequer Norfolk was not the loser, but he felt angry that the £2,000[xvii] he had expended on the Queen’s business in the North had not been refunded to him, while William Cecil, who had joined him for less than a third of the time, had been awarded substantial grants of Crown lands and the exceptionally remunerative office of Master of the Wards[xviii].
Although premier peer of the realm; Norfolk had not hitherto been admitted to the Privy Council. On 20th October he and Robert Dudley were both made Privy Councillors; Norfolk being seen as a counter-balance to Dudley’s rising power.
Elizabeth circa 1563
During 1563 a rift occurred between Cecil and Norfolk, possibly engineered by Dudley, who may have still been hoping to marry the Queen[xix]. But the rift, caused by rumours at court was mended as the two were soon again pressing for Elizabeth to marry Archduke Charles of Austria.Bibliography
Elizabeth and Mary – Jane Dunn, Harper Perennial 2003Walsingham – Alan Haynes, Sutton Publishing 2004
Elizabeth I – Anne Somerset, Fontana 1992Rivals in Power – ed. David Starkey, Macmillan London Ltd 1990
A Tudor Tragedy – Neville Williams, Barrie and Rockcliff 1964www.wikipedia.en
[ii] They had eaten before the banquet
[iii] Another cousin of Norfolk’s
[iv] Elizabeth - Somerset
[v] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[vi] The future Earl of Leicester
[vii] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[ix] Elizabeth and Mary - Dunn
[x] The 1st Earl of Suffolk
[xi] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xii] A cousin of both the Queen and Norfolk, Hunsdon’s mother was Mary Boleyn,
[xiv] The influx of monies from the New World was causing
[xvi] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xviii] Head of the Court of Wards and Liveries