Mary Tudor

[Mary Tudor]

Daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Queen of England from 1553 to 1558. After Henry‘s repudiation of Catherine, Mary was harshly treated and during the reign of Edward VI remained in comparative obscurity. On death of Edward, she easily crushed the attempt to place Jane Grey on the throne. She was popular at first, but her projected marriage with Philip II of Spain excited discontent culminating in Wyatt’s rebellion. The old religion regained its liberty but the fanaticism of many of the Reformers rendered stern measures necessary for the safety of the State. Mary displayed excessive severity in applying for heresy penalties which Henry VIII and Edward VI had applied with the approval of Protestant bishops; within four years 277 persons were put to death and this record stands as a blot on her memory, though it is now generally admitted that she was prompted by misguided zeal, rather than vindictiveness. This severity was in marked contrast to her former generosity and clemency, and was perhaps partly due to the bitterness of her later years. She was long an invalid; her passionate love for Philip II was unrequited and when there was no further hope of having an heir, he abandoned her and England; in the last year of her life Calais was lost to France, and this was followed by difficulties with the Holy See.