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Mary Tudor
"My soul is God's and my faith I will not change."

It's not every monarch who has a drink named after her nickname. Then again, not every monarch gets the nickname "Bloody".

England's very first Queen Regnant, Mary I (1553-1558) was Henry VIII's elder daughter and his only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon. As a little girl, she was doted on by her parents, but that changed when Anne Boleyn became queen. With her parents' marriage declared invalid, Mary was declared a bastard, struck from the succession, stripped of her title as "Princess", separated from her mother, and eventually forced into her baby half-sister's service as a lady-in-waiting. She was eventually restored to the succession after her younger brother Edward, although she remained legally illegitimate and was styled "the Lady Mary," rather than "Princess."

Like the rest of the Tudors, Mary was very intelligent and well-educated, but she never showed the same zeal for learning as Elizabeth or Edward. While she lacked the charisma that characterized her father and sister, she was capable of inspiring great loyalty, especially among her friends and servants. A very generous, motherly woman, Mary was often asked by friends to stand godmother to their children, and also acted as a substitute mother figure to her much younger siblings.

Her path to the throne did not run smoothly. Edward unexpectedly changed the succession in a will drafted shortly before his death that excluded both Mary and Elizabeth from the throne in favour of the Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor and daughter-in-law of the Duke of Northumberland, the regent.note  Queen Jane took the throne on Edward's death, but Mary's overwhelming popularity with the commons and nobles made her position untenable and she abdicated nine days later. Mary was greeted by crowds of thousands of cheering subjects as she rode into London and took her rightful throne.

Her original intent was to punish only those she saw as responsible for the near-usurpation of the throne - mainly the Duke of Northumberland and his cronies - and release the comparatively innocent Jane and her husband Guildford Dudley as soon as the situation had stabilized. Unfortunately for Jane and Guildford, a rebellion led by Thomas Wyatt with the intention of restoring Jane to the throne forced Mary's hand and led both of them to the block.note 

As a devout Roman Catholic, Mary was determined to bring England back into the arms of Rome. She chose a Catholic husband - Philip, King of Naples and the heir to the King of Spain - and brought her cousin Reginald Cardinal Pole back to England as Archbishop of Canterbury. Philip was named King Consort, and as such worked with Parliament to repeal the Protestant laws passed in the time of Henry and Edward and reinstate the Heresy Acts. Mary ordered the burning of many Protestant recusants pursuant to these Acts, including bishops Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer. These men and women became known as the "Protestant Martyrs". There were 283 of them in all, and it is for their deaths that she's known as Bloody Mary (a term coined well after her death).note 

She might have succeeded in returning England to Catholicism had she borne a child to carry on her works, but that was not to be. She is thought to have become pregnant once, but although her abdomen swelled she never delivered a child. The most likely explanation is a molar pregnancy proceeding to choriocarcinoma, but some medical historians plump for ovarian cancer. It was once suggested that she might have suffered a "phantom pregnancy",note  but modern historians are confident that her condition was primarily physical in nature, as phantom pregnancy is far rarer in real life than doctors of the 1930s realized. Also it isn't fatal.

By the time Mary died in 1558, the crowds who cheered her five years earlier were heaving sighs of relief at her passing. She died unmourned, unloved, and unrepentant to the last. Her great ally Cardinal Pole survived her by only twelve hours; with the two of them died any chance of a restoration of the Catholic faith. She was succeeded by her younger sister, Elizabeth.


  • Broken Bird
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Gets even more stressful when there's a throne involved.
  • Heir Club for Men: King Henry and Queen Catherine's marriage ended because Princess Mary had been born a girl.
  • Hero Killer - Executed a great many prominent English Protestants like Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade - She's often played up as a fanatic.
    • A really obvious example is in the Royal Diaries series, in her sister Elizabeth I's book. Mary is portrayed as devious, cunning, and cheating at cards, and, most heinously of all, she dislikes calling Elizabeth "Princess" and seemed to be conspiring with the Spanish Ambassador against Prince Edward's accession. In reality, Mary was "inexpert in worldy affairs," a "novice all round," and doted on Edward as her father's true heir, since (unlike Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn) Edward's mother was married to the King after all previous wives were dead and she treated Mary as a friend. Furthermore, neither Elizabeth nor Mary were supposed to be addressed as "Princess." At that point in time, they were not legally considered Princesses of England; they were considered the King's bastard daughters.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Catholics dressed far more grandly than Protestants in Tudor times, and Mary was the grandest of them all. One of her fanciest this dress decoratedwith white ermine, brocade, puff sleeves (not giant though), and the jewels on her belt, her necklace, and her Nice Hat.
    • Meanwhile, Elizabeth was playing the "Quaker miss" (as David Starkey puts it) and wearing sober, unadorned black.
  • Princess in Rags: She lost everything when her father divorced her mother, but she refused to acknowledge him as head of the Church of England or (for a long time) to accept that he had stripped her of her title of Princess.
  • Team Mom
  • Unwanted Spouse: She was considerably older than her husband and he was praised for not letting her realize that he wasn't attracted to her. He also spent a lot of time away at war.
Mary of ScotlandAdministrivia/Useful Notes Pages in MainMass Storage

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