In the last years of Elizabeth I’s reign, debate about the question of the succession was utterly forbidden. As a perhaps inevitable consequence, discussion of the issue in fact raged more fiercely than ever, despite frantic attempts by the government to crack down: Leanda de Lisle notes that ‘in February 1593 … the Puritan MP Peter Wentworth petitioned Elizabeth to name her successor. Her reply was to put him in the Tower, and towards the close of her reign, ‘the publication of any discussion of the succession had been declared an act of treason by Parliament’.1 The principal focus of the debate was on the immediate question of who should succeed Elizabeth, but it also reached out to wider, constitutional questions of how and on what principles the constituent countries of Britain should be ruled.