She later became Queen Elizabeth I, one of England’s greatest monarchs. The US state of Virginia is named after her.
According to a contemporary diary, Elizabeth actually entered the fortress across the drawbridge and through the Middle and Byward towers, as visitors do today. If so, she probably came ashore at the Queen’s Stair (left) on Tower wharf.
Elizabeth had been wrongly implicated in a plot by Sir Thomas Wyatt to prevent the marriage of her half-sister Queen Mary to the Roman Catholic King of Spain. Wyatt himself had been imprisoned in the Tower on 8 February 1554. He too arrived by water and was met at the postern gate by the Lieutenant Governor:
‘Then came in sir Thomas Wyat, who sir John of Bridges toke by the coller in most rygorouse maner, and saide theis or moche-like words: “Ohe! thou villain and unhappie traytour! Howe couldest thou finde in thine hart to work such detestable treason to the quenes maiestie?… Yf yt was not (saith he) that the lawe must justly passe upon thee, I wolde strike thee through with my dagger.”
‘And in so saying, having one hand apon the coller of the said maister Wyat, and the other on his dagger, shaked his bossome; to whom Wyat made no answer, but holding his armes under his side, and looking grievously with a grym looke upon the saide livetenant, saide, “Yt is no maistery nowe.” And so they passyd in.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 24. Sir Thomas Wyatt had every reason to look grim. What happened to him after he was thrown into the Tower of London?
‘As sharp as Evelyn Waugh and sometimes better’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘Good, clean fun’ – Daily Telegraph
‘Pure comic pleasure’ – Spectator