On the 17th of March 1554, Elizabeth was informed that she was to be taken to the Tower of London as a prisoner of the queen for her involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion. When informed she requested a moment to write a letter to her sister, the queen. In it she asked not to be condemned without proof and protested her innocence. By the time she completed her letter the tide had changed and spared her one more night before being sent to the Tower.
One can imagine the thoughts going through Elizabeth’s head that night. Had she thought of her dear mother who never left the Tower, except for her execution?
Elizabeth spent two months at the Tower — two long months. Upon her release she was put under house arrest at the manor of Woodstock.
It is noted that Elizabeth wrote this letter to Philip after her release from the Tower. I assume that she wrote this from Woodstock but the letter is not noted a specific date or location.
I am unfamiliar with what Philip did to help her cause but believe he had persuasive powers over his love-struck wife, Queen Mary.
Letter written by Elizabeth to King Philip, 1554:
Sire, I have been fully informed, and am well persuaded of your generous exertions on my behalf, to liberate me from the wearisome woes of an imprisonment, so hard and so tedious, which I should have endured with more patience, if I had been accused of anything less hurtful to my feelings than that of having been wanting in fidelity to the queen my sister. Buy knowing myself as faithful and zealous in her service as I am, I cannot but feel my heart rent and torn, at the mere remembrance of a disgrace that could have made others believe me capable of even a sinister thought against the interests and glory of the queen, my lady. Yea, if my heart had been capable of being stained only by the shadow of such a thought, I would pluck it out with my own hands; and this perfect consciousness of my innocence has rendered my long and painful imprisonment insupportable. God grant, however, that I may never accuse any by myself of my misfortune, nor ever cause a shadow if reproach to the glory or the justice of the queen, my lady. I being fully persuaded that she was moved by my unlucky star to resolve on my imprisonment, her heart being so generous and so just, that she could not devise the thought of doing wrong to the least of her subjects, and still less, to her unfortunate sister, who never has had other thought than of showing her ad profound obedience as does the least of her servants.
I do not think that I shall offend the equity, clemency, and august goodness of the queen towards me, if I render very humble thanks to your majesty, in that you have had the goodness to espouse so generously the cause of my liberty. From a king so generous and so August can proceed nothing but favour; it is this which makes me taken liberty humbly to entreat you to continue to me your protection, and to be pleased ever to consider me
Your majesty’s very humble servant and subject,
Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies of Great Britain, Vol. 3, page 293
Norton, Elizabeth – The Tudor Treasury; pages 107-108