16 hours ago
It didn’t help that at the start of her career, Mary had a legitimate claim to succeed to the throne of England after Elizabeth. Mary asked Elizabeth to confirm her as successor, but Elizabeth – wisely, one would think – decided that this would not be a good idea. Instead she stated: “If it became certainly known in the world who should succeed me, I would never think myself in sufficient security.” If Mary had been named and confirmed successor, Elizabeth would have made herself a target for those who wanted Mary to come into her inheritance sooner
Despite refusing to name her as successor, Elizabeth still saw Mary as a threat, and to counter this threat she decided to put someone she trusted as close to Mary as she could.
To this end, when Mary’s husband died, Elizabeth pushed for Mary to marry Sir Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Elizabeth herself declared, “The Earl of Leicester is my brother and best friend. I would have married him myself, but I have decided to remain a virgin. I therefore heartily recommend the Earl to my cousin of Scotland. In fact, if she married Leicester, I would even look favourably on her claim to the English Succession.”
This might have seemed like a favorable arrangement, but the rumor was that Elizabeth and Dudley’s relationship was not as pure as Elizabeth would have had people think; they were rumored to be lovers.
It seems that Elizabeth wanted Dudley to marry Mary because she would then have had an entirely reliable source of intelligence as close to her rival’s court as it was possible to be, and probably a great deal of influence. Not surprisingly, Mary rejected this proposition, marrying her cousin, Lord Darnley, instead.