Chapter 83: Jane’s Great Plan December, 1559 Jane cleared her throat and looked at the two men before her. She had asked for this meeting whilst her husband attended to an issue in Wales, because she wanted to get their thoughts on a matter quite dear to her, without the King’s views influencing their words. “Your Eminence, Sir John, we have summoned you here today because we wished to discuss the matter of the church. Not just of England, but of Scotland and Ireland also.” She paused and saw that both men were deeply interested now. “It has come to our attention that since King Henry’s split from Rome, the churches of all three nations have undergone quite considerable transformation. Whilst our husband and King’s father King James did not split from Rome, he did on your advice Sir John introduce some changes. This has consequently led to a situation where in our view, the matter of the churches is confused and unclear. We must resolve this issue and we would hear from you both on this matter.” There was a brief silence as the two men looked at one another. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was old and frail now, but his mind was still sharp, and he had harboured some sort of belief in the reformed religion for some time, Jane knew. Sir John was her husband’s closest advisor on religious matters, and she did not know quite where he stood on everything, that he had even agreed to meet with her at all was revelatory. Cranmer spoke first. “Majesty, before we can discuss this great and imposing issue, we must know whether Your Majesty wishes to discuss a solution for all three churches, or just one?” Jane shuffled slightly and then said. “All three churches, for they all descend from the same origin after all and they are united by one King and one Queen.” Cranmer did not say anything for the longest period, and when he did speak his voice was soft. “Then in that case, I would propose a grand council to resolve the matter involving all the great Bishops and clergy of the three realms.” “You would not provide a direct solution?” Jane asked surprised. She had never thought of Cranmer as the sort of man who would shy away from providing direct answers. “Majesty, it is not that, it is just that this is a matter that needs quite some thought and it would not be fair of me to simply propose a solution when the needs of each church vary so significantly.” Cranmer replied. “They do not vary so significantly, Your Eminence.” Knox said. “The issue is simple, we must decide, or rather Your Majesty must decide whether you wish for there to be three separate churches serving as an obstacle to the union of the crowns and the lands and peoples, or whether you want just one church to unify the entire island.” “You would erode history.” Cranmer said. Jane spoke then. “With respect, Your Eminence, history is already being eroded. We are forgetting that before we joined with Rome there was a united church based in York and spread throughout the isles. But that is not the point. The point is that the Church in Scotland and the Church in England follow a similar religious tone and belief, and the imagery in both churches is far more akin to the taste of these isles and not some pomposity from Rome. The church in Ireland is slowly moving toward this position as well. Therefore, we must ensure that it continues.” “Do you wish to create a united Britannic church, Your Majesty?” Cranmer asked. Jane saw no point in lying so she said. “Yes. That is the objective that myself and His Majesty the King share.” “Then a council is the way to go, Your Majesty.” Cranmer said. “Get everyone in one room, and get them to discuss the positives and cons of this system and then you will get them to see your view.” “And you do not think that this would be used by various parties to take away momentum?” Jane asked. “No, I do not. I think instead what it will do is give Your Majesty a chance to present your cause through reasoned argument before those who will need to implement the changes you wish, and it will allow them to see the positive side to it.” Cranmer said. “But you will not be there to host it.” Knox pointed out. Cranmer nodded. “Indeed I would not. I am old and failing, but you do not want me there. I am stubborn as well. You need someone who will be able to manoeuvre people to where you want them to be.” “So, who could that be?” Jane asked. “Not Pole, he is devoted to Rome.” Knox said. “And not Parker is a fool and no politician.” Cranmer said. “We do not want a politician we want someone who will share in our vision.” Jane said. “Then you want Grindal, Majesty.” Knox said. “Grindal is the right choice, he has brains, and he is devoted to the King and Your Majesty.” Cranmer said. “Then Grindal it shall be.” Jane declared.