How did female monarchs change the Tudor court?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were three kings in the Tudor line before a serious problem arose. The problem was that a male heir to the throne had not been produced and the Tudors were a relatively new monarchy. They were also somewhat of a controversial monarchy as Henry VIII had expelled the Roman Catholic Church from England and installed a new protestant state religion. Compounding this problem was the bias that existed in England, as in most of Europe, that women were not meant to be in a position of authority.

In an effort to maintain the Protestant faith in England and to keep the Tudor line in place, King Edward VI attempted to have his father's will changed and installed Jane Grey as the Queen. This foolhardy decision was not well accepted by the nobility and she was deposed in nine days. The first legitimate female queen to govern England was Mary I, a staunch Catholic. Elizabeth I, a Protestant, succeeded Mary's rule and was the last Tudor monarch.

Because of sheer poor luck in producing male heirs, the Tudors generated issues involving royal succession, including the succession rights of women. After those questions were answered and female rulers were in place, the role of the queen in government came to the forefront. Women in England were undeniably in a subservient role to men, even the two queens would not dispute this. These issues would ultimately affect the Tudor court in a way that would lead to its demise. The concern the citizens had during the rule of the queens was that if they married kings from other nations, England would lose its sovereignty. When the Catholic Queen Mary I married the Spanish King Philip of Spain, an attempt to overthrow her was hatched. Turmoil would ensue and she would eventually accuse her sister, the future queen of being involved in the plot.

Coup attempts by siblings in the royal court were not uncommon, however. The female monarchs of the Tudors changed court in the same way that the male Tudor monarchs did: by not producing male heirs. Elizabeth I was reluctant to marry because she rather enjoyed ruling and did not necessarily want her husband to take her place in that role. She resisted marriage until it was too late for her to have children, and, therefore, was not able to produce a male heir. This brought about an end to the Tudor rule of England upon her death.

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