Mary I of England

Queen of England and Ireland (1516-1558)

Mary I of England (February 18 1516November 17 1558), Queen of England and Ireland, was known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of Protestants.

Mary I of England


  • I recognize no Queen but my mother. But if the King's Mistress would intercede with the King on my behalf, then I would be grateful.
  • Her majesty, being now in possession of her imperial crown and estate pertaining to it, cannot forsake that faith that the whole world knows her to have followed and practiced since her birth; she desires, rather, by God's grace, to preserve it till her death; and she desires greatly that her subjects may come to embrace the same faith quietly and with charity, whereby she shall receive great happiness.
    • Proclamation concerning Religion (1553-08-18).
  • When I am dead and opened, you shall find Calais lying in my head.
    • Said during her final illness, referring to England's loss of Calais to France.
    • Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, vol. III, page 1160 (1587).

About Mary I of EnglandEdit

  • It was an ancient and commonly received practice, (derived from the civil law, and which also to this day obtains in the Kingdom of France) that, as counsel was not allowed to any prisoner accused of a capital crime, so neither should he be suffered to exculpate himself by the testimony of any witnesses. And therefore it deserves to be remembered, to the honour of Mary I, (whose early sentiments, till her marriage with Philip of Spain, seem to have been humane and generous) that when she appointed sir Richard Morgan chief justice of the common-pleas, she injoined him, “that notwithstanding the old error, which did not admit any witness to speak, or any other matter to be heard, in favour of the adversary, her majesty being party; her highness' pleasure was, that whatsoever could be brought in favour of the subject should be admitted to be heard: and moreover, that the justices should not persuade themselves to sit in judgment otherwise for her highness than for her subject."
  • The English people had rallied to Mary because she was the offspring of Henry VIII and next in line for the throne, not because she was Catholic, or the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, and certainly not because she was a woman. Mary's great tragedy was that she failed to draw the obvious lessons from this. Her Tudor blood was an advantage to be exploited to the full while her Spanish lineage and gender were, at best, neutral factors in the eyes of most of her subjects. As for her Catholicism, it divided her people: some loved it, some hated it. But Mary subordinated her strong Tudor personality to the demands of her religion, her Spanish sympathies, and contemporary expectations of her gender. The result was the only Tudor reign that could truly be called tragic, even pathetic.
    • Richard Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History (2009), p. 108
  • And yet, like her father and grandfather, Mary possessed many traits which should have fit her for a successful reign. Like all Tudors, she was intelligent, courageous, dignified, ad resilient. These qualities had ensured her survival during her father's and brother's reigns. She was well educated: in addition to her native tongue, she spoke Spanish, French, and Latin and could read Greek and Latin. Nor was she entirely serious: she danced and played the lute. Finally, Mary was not without mercy. Apart from Northumberland, few died for the plot to usurp the throne. Even Lady Jane Gray and Guildford Dudley were allowed to live, for the time being, albeit as close prisoners in the Tower. Unfortunately, she was at her accession naive in politics and inexperienced in government, having been repudiated by her father and, thus, never groomed to succeed. Without training or experience, she was forced to rely on her conscience and her faith. In the end, she had too much of the one and was too inflexible in the other for her own or the country's good. More specifically, she was half-Spanish and all Catholic and so saw it as her God-given duty to ally her country with the Spanish Empire and undo the "heresies" of the previous 20 years by restoring the Roman Catholic Church in England at any cost. Both policies would bring misery to her people.
    • Richard Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History (2009), p. 108-109

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