Queen Mary visits Princess Elizabeth, who is under house arrest at Woodstock.
In the early autumn Mary paid Elizabeth a personal visit, alone. Elizabeth complained of her house arrest, and pleaded with her.
“Mary. How long must this go on? Surely you can see that I am loyal to you, have no personal ambitions, and wish you no harm,” said Elizabeth, as tears came to her eyes.
“There are those who see things differently,” said Mary. “I have to deal with that too.”
“Renard,” said Elizabeth, sitting up suddenly.
“Not only Renard. Elizabeth, I hope that things will calm down, and that you will eventually be allowed a great deal more freedom. But please be patient.”
“Will there be more executions at the Tower?”
“Very few, I should think. There are some outstanding cases. The Dudleys and a few others. I am more concerned right now with the many heretics that must be dealt with.”
“What about the Dudley brothers? Why are they not released? They did, after all, act in accordance with the Privy Council decision, however doubtful that decision may have been.”
“It would take an act of parliament. Why are you so interested?”
“Mary. You know Robert was one of Edward’s closest friends. And he was not even in the country at the time of the plot.”
Mary looked hard at Elizabeth, widened her eyes, and then smiled. “You saw him.”
“No, no,” said Elizabeth unconvincingly.
“You saw him there. In the Tower….Elizabeth?” Mary’s eyes sparkled with the realisation as she started to chuckle. “You are an open book. You are in love with him.”
“No, No……..yes,” admitted Elizabeth finally. “I have always been. Did you never notice?”
“Well, now that you mention it, the thought had occurred to me. But you never….?”
“No. I think he felt a little intimidated.”
“Until the Tower. Well, well. That does change things.”
“Does it? Mary. Let it be our secret. Do not tell Renard. He would imagine all kinds of terrible things.”
“What about Amy?”
“He doesn’t even live with Amy any more.”
“It does complicate things.”
“I just don’t want Robin to die,” she said as she pulled out her handkerchief to wipe her eyes.
“All right, Elizabeth. I will see what I can do. I believe the parliament is actually quite sympathetic to a pardon in any case. They realise that the Privy Council argument is a strong one. I will talk to them.”
Elizabeth reached out for Mary’s hand. “Oh, Mary, will you? Really? And you will stand up to Renard?”
Mary nodded. “You should know that there has been talk of conditions in parliament.”
“Military service. Leaving the country for a time.”
“I can live with that if you can,” said Elizabeth.
“I also have a condition,” said Mary.
“This has to be kept secret. It could embarrass me and endanger you, especially as he is married.”
Mary left feeling very good. She was quick to realise that a secret relationship between Robert Dudley and Elizabeth would actually give her considerable leverage with Elizabeth if she ever needed it. This would enable her to keep Elizabeth solidly in her place if she got too ambitious.