the TUDOR TUTOR

Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Resting in Peace?

Coronation Chair with Stone of Scone, Westmins...

Image by Cornell University Library via Flickr

Elizabeth I and Mary I: Half-sisters as well as total enemies (in their adult lives, anyway). Protestant vs. Catholic, and daughter of “that whore, Anne Boleyn” vs. daughter of “the ex-queen, a.k.a. not my mother, Catherine of Aragon.” As years progressed, the schism between these two ladies widened and widened.

So wouldn’t they be thrilled to know they’d be rubbing elbows in death?  For some reason, the girls are buried in the same magnificent tomb in Westminster Abbey. There is an eerie but beautiful aisle on the north side of the Lady Chapel, which asks for silence with little “Shhhh” signs posted on the walls. Within these walls lay the remains of James I’s little daughters, and supposedly those of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard.

And in a large monument nearby, Elizabeth’s coffin is plopped on top of her half-sister Mary’s. Only Liz’s striking figure is commemorated on the effigy. Mary seems to be an afterthought (although at her funeral in 1558, the new queen Elizabeth provided for every pomp and circumstance). But a plaque tells us she’s in there, so who am I to argue?  It reads, ” “Partners both in throne and grave, here rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of the Resurrection.” Let’s hope they’re getting on better in the Afterlife!

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6 Comments

  Karen wrote @

“Partners in throne”? How on earth do they figure?? Interesting post, I can’t wait to get down to Westminster Abbey to see them.

  barbalexander wrote @

I assume they mean the “same throne” as in the throne of England –certainly not the same ideaology! Are you going soon? I’m jealous! I need to get back. I could spend a whole day in Westminster Abbey, let alone the time I could reflect in Elizabeth and Mary’s room. There is just something so haunting about it. Enjoy!

  Karen wrote @

I’ve actually never been… absolutely shameful. I’m going to get myself down there next week. From your description, it sounds like a playground for English history buffs!

  barbalexander wrote @

Please let me know what you think when you return, Karen!

  Peter Collins wrote @

I would like to see Queen Mary exuhumed and placed in a tomb next to Queen Catherine her mother as she wanted. This last request of Queen Mary 1 was never honoured.

  Alicia wrote @

Oooh, I’m interested in hearing about it when you get back, too, Karen!

I didn’t know about this until very recently. I’m currently reading Anna Whitelock’s “Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen” and it tells about it (shows pics, etc.). I was blown away.


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