xxxxxIt was in February 1554 that the English soldier Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, opposing the proposed marriage of Roman Catholic Mary I to Prince Philip of Spain, led an army of some 3000 men to London. But Mary rallied the citizens to her support, and very few of them joined the rebels. The revolt was quickly crushed and Wyatt was executed. Had such a force been raised later in the reign, the result might well have been different. As it was, for a time the life of Princess Elizabeth was put in danger.
THE WYATT REBELLION 1554 (M1)
Elizabeth: portrait by the court painter William Scrots (active 1537-
xxxxxFor a number of years before 1550, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger (c1521-
xxxxxAs a sheriff in Kent, he gathered an army together at Rochester and marched on London in January 1554. Numbering some 3000 men, the rebels reached the centre of the capital in early February, but mainly due to a speech by Mary, rousing the inhabitants to her support, few of them joined the rebels when they turned up. After a brief skirmish with the royalist forces, Wyatt surrendered, and in March he was tried and executed. The uprising put Princess Elizabeth in danger. For a time she was imprisoned on suspicion of being implemented in the rebellion, a charge strongly denied by Elizabeth and Wyatt himself. She was later released after publicly professing the Roman Catholic faith.
xxxxxUnsuccessful though it was, the rebellion proved to be one of the most potentially dangerous uprisings ever faced by the Tudors. Had such a large force been raised later in the reign, when Mary's popularity was at a much lower ebb, it might well have succeeded. As it was, Wyatt and his fellow rebels came to be regarded as martyrs in the cause of patriotism.
xxxxxIncidentally, Wyatt's father, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503-
Sir Thomas Wyatt,
the Younger and