Tudor Times

The reign of the Royal House of Tudor lasted from 1485-1603. During this time Britain established her naval dominance, created the Anglican Church, Shakespeare trod the boards and the foundations for the United Kingdom of England and Scotland were laid. Four of the five recognised Tudor monarchs graced Hatfield with their presence. Starting before the reign of Elizabeth I, it also marked the beginning of the Cecil family's centuries-old association with Hatfield.


A former Queen of France gave birth to the mother of a future Tudor monarch (although her nine day reign is not universally recognised) at the Bishops Palace, Hatfield. Lady Frances Brandon, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk (by his marriage to Mary, widow of King Louis XII) and later mother of Lady Jane Grey, was born and christened at Hatfield.


King Henry VIII took a fancy to Hatfield and Bishop Thomas Goodrich was obliged to pass the title of Hatfield to the Crown in order for him to be created Bishop of Ely. Henry VIII used the Hatfield as a nursery for his children - Prince Edward and Princess Elizabeth (accompanied by the former Princess Royal Mary)


Edward VI along with his half-sister, Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) spent his childhood at Hatfield. He later gifted the title to her. She engaged William Cecil (Lord Burghley) as her agent establishing the Cecil family connection with Hatfield.


Mary Tudor declared illegitimate after Henry VIII divorced her mother, Catherine of Aragon. She was stripped of her title as princess and forced to become a lady-in-waiting on her infant half-sister Princess Elizabeth. But she succeeded her half-brother Edward VI to become Queen Mary I.


Queen Mary I and Princess Elizabeth met for the last time, on pleasant terms, at Hatfield in 1557.


Elizabeth I moved to Hatfield when only a few months old, and spent most of her childhood here. She was at Hatfield when the news arrived, in 1558, that she had ascended the throne, and held her first court here. She appointed Lord Burghley (William Cecil) as her Secretary, and after his death his second son, by his second marriage,  Robert Cecil, who built Hatfield House but died before it was completed. However, Robert Cecil survived the Queen (and the end of the House of Tudor) to become Secretary to James I.


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