The power of the English monarch to execute subjects

Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
#22
Mary Tudor didn't kill her brother.
The pretender. Talking about the lady who Edward installed on the throne as he was dying. Forgot her name. One of their cousins. She was king for like a week or something like that.

Anyway no woman had successfully consolidated power in English history up to that point regardless of their claim to the throne, it wasn't clear cut at all that Mary would inherit. Hence....why Henry was so passionate about having a son. In this particular case since Henry VII had killed pretty much all the male alternatives it was between Mary and her female cousin and the one with the lineage claim won, not the one named in the dying will(not sure if it was a will) of a teenager.
 
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
#23
I dont think she had a lot of choice with this one. Having a usurper running around is always dangerous. Mind you, as much as my heart goes out for Jane, a few of the people who put her in that situation should have been called to account for their actions.
What's really unfair unlike the other ones who were to varying degrees guilty of what they were executed for(wanting to be King) is that Lady Jane was just minding her own business and then the dying King handed her the throne as a attempt to keep his sister off it. A week or two later she's dead. Agree yeah it was the people who put her in that situation and it wasn't just Edward but hard to hold a dead guy accountable.

Remember killing female threats to the throne was taboo at this point, Richard III for example refused to do it, think Henry might have too though could be wrong. Guess a female king would view that a bit different. And Mary Queen of Scots was different, she wasn't just a threat to the throne she was a threat period, look at what happened to her husband. As close to a terrorist as a royal could be in an era where you'd barely entered the gunpowder age. All you need is to let your guard down about who had access to her and some sympathetic person in the Tower could start blowing stuff up because of some promise or another(less crazy than Napoleon escaping Elba). That made sense and the fact Elizabeth left her alive for a good 20 years before killing her, at least by the standards of the day really means she tried to be merciful. Not that Mary was necessarily going to kill Elizabeth or anything but why sleep with your eyes open?

Also this is just speculative maybe she was fearful of Mary being installed as her replacement by the Spanish? Wasn't the Grand Armada the very next year after Mary was killed?
 
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Feb 2019
345
California
#24
When did it end? Clearly the Tudors had it and used it apparently without legal process. With the Stuarts Parliament seems to have assumed that power by beheading Charles I. Since then I know of no monarch that used this power. Justice came under the law courts and Parliament which was the highest court. Did the monarch still have this as a reserve power which existed in theory but was never used while capital punishment was still legal?.
No they did not nor could they use the law without legal process. What some of them could and did do was to intimidate that legal process into doing whatever they wanted (HVIII).
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,806
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#25
What's really unfair unlike the other ones who were to varying degrees guilty of what they were executed for(wanting to be King) is that Lady Jane was just minding her own business and then the dying King handed her the throne as a attempt to keep his sister off it. A week or two later she's dead. Agree yeah it was the people who put her in that situation and it wasn't just Edward but hard to hold a dead guy accountable.

Remember killing female threats to the throne was taboo at this point, Richard III for example refused to do it, think Henry might have too though could be wrong. Guess a female king would view that a bit different. And Mary Queen of Scots was different, she wasn't just a threat to the throne she was a threat period, look at what happened to her husband. As close to a terrorist as a royal could be in an era where you'd barely entered the gunpowder age. All you need is to let your guard down about who had access to her and some sympathetic person in the Tower could start blowing stuff up because of some promise or another(less crazy than Napoleon escaping Elba). That made sense and the fact Elizabeth left her alive for a good 20 years before killing her, at least by the standards of the day really means she tried to be merciful. Not that Mary was necessarily going to kill Elizabeth or anything but why sleep with your eyes open?

Also this is just speculative maybe she was fearful of Mary being installed as her replacement by the Spanish? Wasn't the Grand Armada the very next year after Mary was killed?
Lady Jane Gray survived being deposed for a considerable time. Edward VI died 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed Queen 10 July, and Mary I was proclaimed Queen on 19 July 1553. The Duke of Northumberland, most responsible for putting Jane on the throne, was executed 22 August 1553. Jane, her husband, her husband's brothers, and former Archbishop of Canterbury Cranmer, were tried and convicted of high treason on November 13, 1553. The men were sentenced to be beheaded and Jane to be burned alive (the traditional punishment for traitorous women) or beheaded as the Queen chose.

The rebellion of Thomas Wyatt in January 1554, in which Jane's father and uncles were involved, caused Mary's government to decide to carry out the executions of Jane and her husband Guildford Dudley. They were beheaded on 12 February, 1554. So Jane survived for 6 months and 24 days after being deposed, which is a lot longer than "A week or two later she's dead."
 
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
#27
Lady Jane Gray survived being deposed for a considerable time. Edward VI died 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed Queen 10 July, and Mary I was proclaimed Queen on 19 July 1553. The Duke of Northumberland, most responsible for putting Jane on the throne, was executed 22 August 1553. Jane, her husband, her husband's brothers, and former Archbishop of Canterbury Cranmer, were tried and convicted of high treason on November 13, 1553. The men were sentenced to be beheaded and Jane to be burned alive (the traditional punishment for traitorous women) or beheaded as the Queen chose.

The rebellion of Thomas Wyatt in January 1554, in which Jane's father and uncles were involved, caused Mary's government to decide to carry out the executions of Jane and her husband Guildford Dudley. They were beheaded on 12 February, 1554. So Jane survived for 6 months and 24 days after being deposed, which is a lot longer than "A week or two later she's dead."
Ah was thinking they killed her right as she was deposed.
 
Jan 2019
259
Montreal, QC
#28
The absolute power of the king was officially lost when Charles I lost the Civil war, though royal power had been steadily declining for some time before that. The actual shift of power to parliament dates from 1688 and the Glorious Revolution. However the right of the king to rule by decree was long gone by then.
Not quite. One adopts a rather Whiggish and simplistic view of the Revolution of 1688-9 to come to this conclusion. By no means did William's invasion ensure parliamentarian supremacy. William himself came to rue Parliament, and as his reign wore on, denied them privileges that they asked for, even when they used his own Declaration of Reasons as their springboard! The Declaration was written before it was evident James would fall, so William had no problem in writing up limitations for his uncle. Yet, when William was declared king, he was upset by these, as they made it difficult for him to achieve what he wanted to. While it's undeniable that this invasion did change the course of British history, we can't really say that William was the harbinger of mixed monarchy, since he, too, had some principles that worried the Whigs.

It can also be argued that Charles II from 1681-5 ruled as a quasi-absolute monarch, and James did so for nearly the whole of his reign. Then again, I'm leery about the term "absolutism" in general. I don't even like applying it to the quintessential absolutist, Louis XIV. It's too much of a loaded term. Did Charles, James, and Louis espouse absolutist rhetoric? Of course they did. But can it be argued that their kingships, in practise, were indeed absolute? That, I believe, needs more looking into.
 
Likes: Futurist
Dec 2014
416
Wales
#29
Not quite. One adopts a rather Whiggish and simplistic view of the Revolution of 1688-9 to come to this conclusion. By no means did William's invasion ensure parliamentarian supremacy. William himself came to rue Parliament, and as his reign wore on, denied them privileges that they asked for, even when they used his own Declaration of Reasons as their springboard! The Declaration was written before it was evident James would fall, so William had no problem in writing up limitations for his uncle. Yet, when William was declared king, he was upset by these, as they made it difficult for him to achieve what he wanted to. While it's undeniable that this invasion did change the course of British history, we can't really say that William was the harbinger of mixed monarchy, since he, too, had some principles that worried the Whigs.

It can also be argued that Charles II from 1681-5 ruled as a quasi-absolute monarch, and James did so for nearly the whole of his reign. Then again, I'm leery about the term "absolutism" in general. I don't even like applying it to the quintessential absolutist, Louis XIV. It's too much of a loaded term. Did Charles, James, and Louis espouse absolutist rhetoric? Of course they did. But can it be argued that their kingships, in practise, were indeed absolute? That, I believe, needs more looking into.
Which is why I said in my opening paragraph that there was no single point of absolutist into constitutional monarchy. My points were simply time points which major changes of power revolved around. The exact phrase used was 'There was no point, more a steady erosion of royal power which waxed and waned over 450 years', although you could extend that through even to the Twenty First century, when the Fixed-Term Parliaments act of 2011 took away the greatest weapon of the monarch, the right to dissolve parliament as they wished.

None of those points marked an instant of change, even Magna Carta, more they were instances that set a precedent marking the gradual dissolution of power, landmarks after which a monarch's power would never be the same.
 
Jan 2019
259
Montreal, QC
#30
Which is why I said in my opening paragraph that there was no single point of absolutist into constitutional monarchy. My points were simply time points which major changes of power revolved around. The exact phrase used was 'There was no point, more a steady erosion of royal power which waxed and waned over 450 years', although you could extend that through even to the Twenty First century, when the Fixed-Term Parliaments act of 2011 took away the greatest weapon of the monarch, the right to dissolve parliament as they wished.

None of those points marked an instant of change, even Magna Carta, more they were instances that set a precedent marking the gradual dissolution of power, landmarks after which a monarch's power would never be the same.
Serves me right for trying to engage in intelligent conversation while half asleep, haha. I do find that people oftentimes overestimate the importance Magna Carta. They treat it as if it's England's equivalent of the Constitution, which is quite troubling.