This article is about the English queen. For other uses, see Mary.
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"You would think a woman's reign would be a gentle reign–but it is all death and fear. She has no heir though, which encourages me to hope that maybe... No, if I write more it would be treason."
Tilly Middleton[6]

Mary I (February 18, 1516 – November 17, 1558) was the first Queen of England. She was the only surviving offspring of Henry VIII with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Mary reigned for six years, after the death of her half-brother, Edward VI. She was succeeded by her younger half-sister, Elizabeth I.


Early life

Mary was born on February 18, 1516,[3][4] the only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Isabella of Castilla and León and King Ferdinand of Aragón, and her paternal grandparents, King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York.

1525 – 1558

By 1525, Mary was given her own household at Ludlow Castle and engaged to her cousin, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The agreement was eventually broken, and Mary was then betrothed to the French King, Francis I.In the meantime, Mary's father sought to divorce her mother and marry Anne Boleyn. He separated from her and had forbidden Mary to see her. After a seven-year struggle, Henry married Anne in secret, four months prior to his first marriage being declared "null and void."

Later in 1533, Mary's half-sister Elizabeth was born. After being "stripped of her titled of Princess," Mary was sent to Hatfield to serve as an attendant to Elizabeth. On January 7, 1536, Mary's mother died, followed by Anne Boleyn's execution in May. Shortly later, Henry married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who helped repair Mary's and Henry's relationship. The following year, Jane died of childbirth fever, after having Edward. Mary was chief mourner at Jane's funeral.

Mary "came to like" Henry's fourth Anne of Cleves, despite her qualms about Anne being a Lutheran. However, Mary found the ostentation of his young fifth wife, Catherine Howard, offensive. After Catherine Howard's execution, Henry married Catherine Parr, whom Mary became good friends with. Their marriage lasted until Henry's death on January 28, 1547. Mary's brother, now King Edward VI, inherited the throne.

After her father's death, Mary lived with Catherine Parr for a short time, before establishing her own household in Hunsdon. She initially disapproved of Katherine's marriage of Thomas Seymour, but later congratulated Catherine. In 1548, Mary was appointed godmother of Catherine's baby, also named Mary. Catherine died a few days later. Throughout Edward's reign, Mary angered him several times by continuing to hold mass.

Before dying in 1553, Edward disinherited his half-sisters, naming their cousin, Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Mary gained support and deposed Jane by July 19. Now Queen, Mary was inclined to pardon Jane. However in January 1554, Thomas Wyatt began an uprising, enraged by Mary picking a Catholic husband. Jane's execution was carried out in February. Mary also had Elizabeth imprisoned at the Tower of London, suspecting that she was involved with the rebellion.

In July 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, whom Mary was once engaged to. Throughout her reign, Mary had many Protestants burned at the stake, earning her the nickname, "Bloody Mary." By 1555, Mary was believed to be expecting a child. It never arrived and Philip left to visit the Netherlands. He eventually returned for a short time, when Mary agreed to go to war against France. In 1558, Mary's health declined, until her death on November 18.

Personality and traits

Mary's personality was described as being similar to Catherine Parr's. They were both "very self-controlled and careful, yet full of intellectual excitement." Mary and Katherine also shared in interest in theology. She also spoke Spanish very well and was able to translate a book from Latin. Her sister, Elizabeth thought Mary to be rather grim and remarked that "she never smiles."

Mary, like her mother, was a devout Catholic and continued to practice throughout Edward's reign, despite mass being banned. She was also characterized as "a stickler for correct behavior," but one who "never knows much about what is going on."

Behind the scenes



External links

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