Having married Prince Phillip of Spain in July 1554, Mary I’s priorities turned to the task of producing an heir, thus preventing the ascension of her half-sister Elizabeth to the English throne and the return of England to a Protestant state. This was going to be no easy task, especially in the 16th century when the death of mother and / or child was a fairly common results of childbirth.
Anyway, three months into the marriage positive signs of a pregnancy began, at least positive enough for her doctors and most of the court to believe she was with child. These signs included gaining weight and a swelling stomach, which were usually considered to be pretty good indicators of a pregnancy. Recognising the risk to Mary’s life, Parliament passed an act that would make Phillip regent in the event of her death.
In late April 1555, Mary said that she felt the child move in her womb and so the Court set about in preparation for the coming child. Elizabeth was released from house arrest and called to court as a witness to the birth, while thanksgiving services were held in the diocese of London were held after false rumours that Mary had given birth to a son spread across Europe.
However, rumours were all they were and Mary did not give birth. Mary expected to give birth in May and so preparations continued with the hiring of care workers, the preparation of a birth chamber and nursery and the creation of an intricately carved cradle. Letters announcing the birth were written, with the date and name of the child to be filled in once he or she had been delivered. The expectant couple made final preparations and moved to Hampton Court where they wanted the child to be born.
By June, with still no sign of a baby, doubts about the pregnancy began to spread. In July her abdomen receded and Spanish ambassador Giovanni Michieli joked that the pregnancy as more likely to "end in wind rather than anything else". Michieli's bad jokes aside, unfortunately for Mary the pregnancy turned out to be false. The Queen took the news badly and considered it to be to be "God's punishment" for her having "tolerated heretics" in her realm. Soon after Phillip left England to command his armies against France in Flanders and Mary was left apparently heartbroken and depressed. Michieli, demonstrating that he could do more than tell poorly timed jokes, was apparently touched by the queen's grief and wrote that she was "extraordinarily in love" with her husband, and was disconsolate at his departure.
Elizabeth remained at court until October, apparently restored to favour. In the absence of any children, Philip was concerned that one of the next claimants to the English throne after his sister-in-law was the Queen of Scots, who was betrothed to the Dauphin of France. Philip persuaded his wife that Elizabeth should marry his cousin Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, to secure the Catholic succession and preserve the Habsburg interest in England, but Elizabeth refused to comply and parliamentary consent was unlikely.
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