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The year is 1509. King Henry VIII begins a forty year reign over England. For more than ten centuries, England had been aligned with the Catholic Church. But Henry VIII would change this, beginning a state of civil unrest which would challenge the reign of several monarchs to follow.

Desperate for a male heir to succeed his throne, Henry sought divorce from his first wife of twenty years, Catherine of Aragon, who had given birth to only a girl, Mary Tudor. When the Pope refused Henry's plea for annulment, he spitefully withdrew England from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England. Henry's quest for a male heir continued with Anne Boleyn, who was pregnant prior to their marriage. But, she only gave Henry a second daughter, Elizabeth Tudor. In fact, it wasn't until 1537 that Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour, finally gave him that longed-for son, Edward VI.

Ten years later, Edward VI did indeed succeed his father on the throne. And while he upheld his father's mandate for separation from the Catholic Church, he died at a very young age. Next in line was Henry's first born, Mary Tudor. But, Mary was a devout Catholic and returned England to Catholicism through the bloody persecution of Protestants, further dividing England. So resolved to honor the Catholic Church was Queen Mary that she imprisoned her half-sister Elizabeth in the Tower of London for suspicion of Protestant complicency. This is where Elizabeth's story begins.

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