A Culture of Reverence: Princess Mary’s Household 1525–27

  • Jeri L. McIntosh
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


In the winter of 1536, Robert Aske, one of the ringleaders of a grassroots rebellion against the Henrician Reformation, found himself subjected to an intense interrogation by government officials. The rebellion, known as the “Pilgrimage of Grace,” had seriously alarmed king and government.1 Officials questioning Aske in the aftermath of the rebellion’s suppression and Aske’s capture focused on his constitutional views on crown power and the royal succession.2 One of the demands of the “Pilgrimage” rebels was the restoration of the recently disinherited Princess Mary to the royal succession. When questioned about this rebel demand, Aske claimed that Henry VIII had placed the sovereignty of the English nation at risk by successfully pushing through Parliamentary legislation that disinherited his eldest daughter, Mary—recognized widely within England and Europe as the most credible claimant to the crown by right of blood.3 For Aske, the issue hinged on Henry VIII’s right to declare the next successor to the crown. As Aske pointed out, no other monarch ever had such prerogative and no other person in the realm had the power to overturn common law when it came to the inheritance of real property4 If Mary was disinherited and the king’s younger daughter, Elizabeth, was derided by many in Catholic Europe as illegitimate, then the way was open for the Scottish king (the “alien,” as Aske called him), the nephew of Henry VIII, to make a credible claim to the English throne.5


Dialogue Form Privy Council Henry VIII Royal Court Nominal Head 
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© Anna Whitelock and Alice Hunt 2010

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  • Jeri L. McIntosh

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