On 7 September 1533 a little girl came screaming into the world less than two weeks after her mother began her confinement period. She was a big surprise, though. Her father had risked excommunication, and separation from Christendom in order to have a son with her mother. She would not be that son. Her mother had waited for the better part of a decade, foregoing marriages, in the hopes that she would have a son who would be king. This little princess would not be King.
The astrologers had spoken, promising a healthy son. The birth announcements were ready to go out, celebrating a prince. Preparations went ahead for great jousts. The parents already chose the names Edward and Henry for the new little boy.
The jousts never happened, and the birth announcements were changed. Scribes squeezed in a small “s” after the word “prince”, written in a different color, unable to fully cover up their error and the disappointment that accompanied it.
Many saw this little girl, born today, as a judgment by God, and God did not support this new marriage.
But she had the last laugh. Because this new princess, Princess Elizabeth, grew into Gloriana.
Here is the birth announcement:
7 SEPTEMBER 1533
By the Queen
Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. And whereas it hath pleased the goodness of Almighty God of His infinite mercy and grace to send unto us at this time good speed in the deliverance and bringing forth of a princess to the great joy and inward comfort of my Lord, us, and of all his good and loving subjects of this his realm, for which inestimable benevolence so shown unto us we have no little cause to give high thanks, laud and praise unto our said Maker, like as we do most lowly, humbly, and with all the inward desire of our heart. And inasmuch as we undoubtedly trust that this our good speed is to your great pleasure, comfort and consolation, we therefore by this our letters advertise you thereof, desiring and heartily praying you to give with us unto Almighty God high thanks, glory, laud and praise, and to pray for the good health, prosperity, and continual preservation of the said Princess accordingly. Given under our signet at my lords’ Manor of Greenwich. The 7th day of September, in the 25th year of my said lord’s Reign.
See a full copy of the original birth announcement here: