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She had hoped to "be holpen to obtain of the king's grace to be farmer of one of these abbeys if they fortune to go down ..." Cromwell, probably encouraged by Edward Seymour, proposed instead that she marry his only son and heir, Gregory.

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In May 1536, Anne Boleyn was accused of treason and adultery with Mark Smeaton, a court musician, the courtiers Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and her brother, George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford.

The trials and executions of the queen and her co-accused followed swiftly, Elizabeth lived under four Tudor monarchs and was married three times.

The impending birth of an heir to the throne would dramatically increase her value as a potential bride.

On 18 March 1537, then a young widow of reduced means, residing in York, Elizabeth had written to Thomas Cromwell, then Baron Cromwell, who had previously offered to help her, if she was ever in need.

When Henry VIII sought to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, Jane, who had previously served in Catherine's household, had remained loyal to her and her daughter, Mary.