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Page 65. " Her favourite was Chelsea, and it was there that Elizabeth joined her soon after Henry's death "

Chelsea Manor, no longer standing,  was located in west London on the bank of the Thames. It was acquired by Henry VIII in 1536.  It was home, at various times, to two of his queens, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr.  It was also the scene of the near ruinous, for Elizabeth, scandal involving Thomas Seymour.

King Edward VI of England with his uncles Edward and Thomas Seymour, with Archbishop Cranmer. Artist Unknown
Public DomainKing Edward VI of England with his uncles Edward and Thomas Seymour, with Archbishop Cranmer. Artist Unknown - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Described by David Starkey as 'not unintelligent' and 'physically impressive', Thomas Seymour also possessed 'insatiable' ambition.  Brother to Jane Seymour, Edward VI's mother, he found himself uncle to the king but lacking the power he felt was due to him and which was wielded by his brother, Edward Seymour, Protector to Edward during his minority.  After failing to secure marriage to one of the young king's two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, he set his sights on the old king's widow, Catherine Parr. They married, probably in May 1547.  Elizabeth at the time was staying with her step-mother at Chelsea Manor, and soon became the subject (not unwilling by acounts) of Thomas Seymour's attentions.  Visits to Elizabeth's bedchamber early in the morning, tickling and dress ripping were all witnessed by the household, and in particular by Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess, who challenged Thomas Seymour about his behaviour.  He laughed off the criticism, but by May 1548 Catherine herself was worried enough to send Elizabeth away from Chelsea.

Thomas Seymour, undaunted in his ambition, encouraged Edward VI to rebel against Edward Seymour's Protector rule.  He was arrested on 16th January 1549 and executed on 20th March.  Elizabeth became the subject of investigation as to her conduct with Thomas Seymour, and faced charges of planning to marry him without the monarch's permission, a grave sin at court and one which would have resulted in her giving up her right to the succession.