The Line of Succession
At the time of Edward's accession, the next ten people in line for the throne were all female, and there were several interpretations of the order in which they should be ranked. Placing them in what would now be seen as the rightful succession, they were:
- 1. Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's eldest daugher (but she had been disinherited under the Act of Succession of 1534, due to the annulment of her father's marriage to her mother, Katherine of Aragon).
- 2. Elizabeth, his younger daugher (but she had been disinherited by her father when her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded).
- 3. Mary, Queen of Scots, grand-daughter of Henry's eldest sister Margaret Stewart, who had married James IV of Scotland.
- 4. Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Steward by her second marriage.
(But both Scottish claimants were discounted to prevent the English crown falling to the Scottish kings; which is, of course, exactly what happened in due course.)
- 5. Frances Grey, elder daugher of Henry's sister mary.
- 6. Frances' eldest daughter, Jane.
- 7. Frances' second daughter, Katherine.
- 8. Frances' youngest daughter, Mary.
- 9. Frances' youngest sister, Eleanor.
- 10. Eleanor's daugher, Lady Margaret Clifford.
Henry VIII's will stated that if the direct line should fail, the crown was to pass to his niece Frances. He was probably not entitled to make such a stipulation, but it brought tragedy both to those who, by their greed, had only themselves to blame, and also to their innocent victims.
Excerpt from Bradgate Park by Joan Stevenson and Anthony Squires, page 22.