While Somerset lay in the Tower, Northumberland rapidly asserted his leadership in the government. Using the royal authority as his stalking-horse, he captured power. With the majority of his fellows Cecil was committed to Northumberland. The destruction of the balance of faction, with the fall of Somerset, had also destroyed the middle way. Cecil’s only hold upon office lay in his readiness to serve Northumberland. Knowing his own part in making Northumberland master, he could not escape the consequences. If Somerset had proved impossible to follow, Northumberland was to prove difficult to serve. After Somerset was condemned by his peers in December and finally executed in January 1552, there was no choice but to accept the dominance of Northumberland.
KeywordsHenry VIII Prayer Book Royal Authority Royal Prerogative Moral Fortitude
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