After the death of Henry VIII, Lady Elizabeth Tudor—as she was then known—went to live with her fourth step-mother, Katherine Parr. She and Katherine had the same views on religion and Katherine had already proven to be able to act in the best interests of her step-children. That was until she decided to marry for love shortly after the king’s death. This brought Sir Thomas Seymour well and truly into Elizabeth’s life.
Before this, there were rumours that Seymour wanted to marry Elizabeth and was finding ways to make that happen. It is unclear whether Elizabeth returned any feelings for the man but it is possible. By 1547, Elizabeth was 14-years-old and Thomas Seymour has been described as a tall and well-built man with a dashing beard by David Starkey. While it probably wasn’t love, she may have had a crush on the future husband of her step-mother.
At first, though, nothing happened. It wasn’t until the November of 1547 that Thomas Seymour possibly started to make advances. Katherine Parr had found out she was pregnant with her first child—something that excited both her and Elizabeth—so couldn’t perform her duties as a wife. Thomas looked elsewhere for intercourse and looked back at his wife’s ward.
According to Kat Ashley, Elizabeth’s governess, Seymour would visit her chamber when she wasn’t dressed. He would tickle her and climb into bed with her. There was even a story of Katherine holding her step-daughter down while Seymour cut her clothes off with a sword. Eventually, Elizabeth was sent away but the events would have left lasting memories. Nowadays, psychological help likely be offered and taken after events like this but that wasn’t an option for the teenage Elizabeth. She had to live with it all and it would have skewed her view on men.