Was Thomas Seymour guilty of any hanky-panky with his young stepdaughter Princess Elizabeth (to become Elizabeth I)? Well, yes, I don’t think there’s any doubt of that, but there has to be doubt about the extent of the hanky-panky. She was very young, around thirteen, and he was thirty-eight, so it certainly wasn’t runaway youthful passion on his part. So what was it? Playfulness? Ambition? Or did he simply like young girls? I’ll go for ambition, but it’s only a guess.
This relationship is one of those tantalising mysteries that have come down to us through history. Might his activities been a contributary factor in her decision never to marry? Could be, but then her father’s attitude to marriage wasn’t exactly a shining example. This article, by Professor Susannah Lipscomb, is concerned with the mystery and is quite detailed about what went on at the time. No, not THAT detailed! Shame on you. But it does describe who was where and when, who saw this and who said that.
As mentioned in the above article, there is a new 9-part TV drama series called Becoming Elizabeth which covers this mystery, and also Elizabeth’s dealings with her siblings, Edward VI and Mary. A friend has told me that after seeing the first episode she thinks it’s “pretty well done”.