Too Close to Her Throne: The Other Cousins

Illustration of Elizabeth I

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:

Professor Sue Doran looks how other close female kin of Elizabeth I created problems for her as well as themselves.

This is an online only event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers are sent a viewing link shortly before the event and are able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

The Tudors were good at producing daughters. During her lifetime, Elizabeth had nine female cousins on her father’s side. Three of them (including Lady Jane Grey) were dead before 1560, but six lived on to cause Elizabeth considerable problems during her reign.

Mary, Queen of Scots is the most famous and the subject of our exhibition. In this talk by Professor Sue Doran, the focus shifts to the queen’s other female cousins: Margaret, countess of Lennox and her granddaughter Arbella Stuart, who were descended from Henry VIII’s elder sister Margaret; and Margaret, Countess of Derby, and Lady Jane Grey’s younger sisters Katherine and Mary, all from the line of Henry’s younger sister Mary. Every one of these women got into trouble with Elizabeth and spent time in the Tower or under house arrest. Were they victims of the queen’s jealousy and spite, or simply too close to the throne for comfort?

Susan Doran is Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College and St Benet’s Hall, Oxford. She has written numerous books, including Mary Queen of Scots, An Illustrated Life and Elizabeth I and Her Circle. She has edited a number of exhibition catalogues for the British Library including the one accompanying the exhibition, Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousin, Rival Queens.


Name: Too Close to Her Throne: The Other Cousins
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546