Queen Mary Tudor
History's Queen Mary Tudor
Biographical Information
Real Name: Mary Tudor
Title: Mary I of England
Reign: July 1553 –

17 November 1558

Coronation: 1 October 1553
Predecessor: Lady Jane Grey‏‎ (Disputed)

Edward VI

Successor: Queen Elizabeth I
Born: 18 February 1516
Death: 17 November 1558
Age: 42
Religion: Catholic
House: House of Tudor
Gender: Female Female
Originally From: Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England
Parents: King Henry VIII (Father)

Catherine of Aragon (Mother)

Husband: King Philip of Spain
Family: Queen Elizabeth (Half-Sister)

King Edward VI (Half-Brother)
Henry Fitzroy (Half-Brother)
King James V (Cousin)
Queen Mary (Second-Cousin)
James Stuart (Second-Cousin)
Lady Jane Grey‏‎ (Second-Cousin)

Affiliations: House of Habsburg
COD: Tumour
Burial: Westminster Abbey, London England
TV Character Information
Signature: Mary Tudor signature
First appearance: Pilot
Portrays: Mary Tudor

Queen Mary I of England is Mary I of Scotland's first cousin once removed. They have never met, and have only heard of each other. Mary's father, King Henry VIII, is the older brother of Mary, Queen of Scots' grandmother, Margaret Tudor.


Mary was born in Greenwich, London on 18 February 1516. Mary was born a princess on 18 February 1516 in Greenwich, London. However after her mother, Catherine of Aragon, was divorced in favour of Anne Boleyn, she was ignored and declared a bastard by her father until he had his third wife, Jane Seymour.

Early LifeEdit

On July 1520, when barley four and a half years old, she entertained a visiting French delegation with a performance on the virginals. A great part of her early education came from her mother, who consulted the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives for advice and commissioned him to write De Institutione Feminae Christianae, a treatise on the education of girls. By the age of 9, Mary could read and write Latin. She studied French, Spanish, music, dance, and possibly Greek. Henry VIII doted on his daughter and boasted to the Venetian ambassador Sebastian Giustiniani, "This girl never cries".

Despite his affection for Mary, Henry was deeply disappointed that his marriage had produced no sons. By the time Mary was 9 years old, it was apparent that Henry and Catherine would have no more children, leaving Henry without a legitimate male heir. In 1525, Henry sent Mary to the border of Wales to preside, presumably in name only, over the Council of Wales and the Marches. She was given her own court based at Ludlow Castle and many of the royal prerogatives normally reserved for the Prince of Wales. Vives and others called her the Princess of Wales, although she was never technically invested with the title. She appears to have spent three years in the Welsh Marches, making regular visits to her father's court, before returning permanently to the home counties around London in mid-1528.

Throughout Mary's childhood, Henry negotiated potential future marriages for her. When she was only two years old, she was promised to the Dauphin, the infant son of King Francis I of France, but the contract was repudiated after three years. In 1522, at the age of six, she was instead contracted to marry her 22-year-old first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, the engagement was broken off within a few years by Charles with Henry's agreement. Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's chief adviser, then resumed marriage negotiations with the French, and Henry suggested that Mary marry the Dauphin's father, King Francis I himself, who was eager for an alliance with England. A marriage treaty was signed which provided that Mary marry either Francis I or his second son Henry, Duke of Orleans, but Wolsey secured an alliance with France without the marriage.


In 1536, Queen Anne fell from the King Henry VIII's favour and was beheaded.

Elizabeth, like Mary, was downgraded to the status of Lady and removed from the line of succession. Within two weeks of Anne's execution, Henry married Jane Seymour. Jane urged her husband to make peace with Mary. Henry insisted that Mary recognise him as head of the Church of England, acknowledge that the marriage between her parents was unlawful, and accept her own illegitimacy. She attempted to reconcile with him by submitting to his authority as far as "God and my conscience" permitted, but she was eventually bullied into signing a document agreeing to all of Henry's demands. Reconciled with her father, Mary resumed her place at court. Henry granted her a household (that included the reinstatement of Mary's favourite Susan Clarencieux). Her privy purse expenses for this period show Henry's palaces at Greenwich, Westminster and Hampton Court, among others as her main residences. Her expenses included fine clothes and gambling at cards, one of her favourite pastimes.

In 1537, Jane died after giving birth to a son, Edward. Mary was made godmother to her half-brother and acted as chief mourner at the queen's funeral.

Mary was courted by Duke Philip of Bavaria from late 1539, but Philip was Lutheran and his suit for her hand was unsuccessful. Later that year negotiattions a potential alliance with the Duchy of Cleves were underway, since they were the same age, but nothing came of it. Instead a match between Henry and the Duke's sister Anne was agreed. However Henry did not like her, and after the married Anne consented to the annulment of the marriage, which had not been consummated.

In 1541, Henry had the Countess of Salisbury, Mary's old governess and godmother, executed on the pretext of a Catholic plot, in which her son (Reginald Pole) was implicated. Her executioner was "a wretched and blundering youth" who "literally hacked her head and shoulders to pieces". In 1542, following the execution of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, the unmarried Henry invited Mary to attend the royal Christmas festivities. At court, while her father was between marriages and without a consort, Mary acted as hostess.

In 1543, Henry married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, who was able to bring the family closer together. Henry returned Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession, through the Act of Succession 1544, placing them after Edward. However, both remained legally illegitimate.

In 1547, Henry died and Edward succeeded as Edward VI. Mary inherited estates in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and was granted Hunsdon and Beaulieu as her own. Since Edward was still a child, rule passed to a regency council dominated by Protestants, who attempted to establish their faith throughout the country. Mary remained faithful to Roman Catholicism, and defiantly celebrated the traditional mass in her own chapel. She appealed to her cousin Charles V to apply diplomatic pressure demanding that she be able to practice her religion.

For most of Edward's reign, Mary remained on her own estates, and rarely attended court. A plan between May and July 1550 to smuggle her out of England to the safety of the European mainland came to nothing. Religious differences between Mary and Edward continued. When Mary was in her thirties, she attended a reunion with Edward and Elizabeth for Christmas 1550, where 13-year-old Edward embarrassed Mary, and reduced both her and himself to tears in front of the court, by publicly reproving her for ignoring his laws regarding worship. Mary repeatedly refused Edward's demands that she abandon Catholicism, and Edward repeatedly refused to drop his demands.

Rise to powerEdit

Fifteen year old Edward died in 6 July 1553 of a lung infection, possibly tuberculosis. Not wanting England to fall back into Catholic hands, Edward planned to exclude Mary from the line of succession. However, if he wanted to get rid of one sister, he had to bo it to both, even thought Elizabeth was Protestant. So Edward excluded both of his sisters from the line of succession in his will.

As the Succession Act restored Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession, Edward named Lady Jane Grey‏‎, the granddaughter of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary Tudor, as his successor.

Just before Edward VI's death, Mary was summoned to London to visit her dying brother. She was warned, that it was a plot to capture her and facilitate Lady Jane's accession to the throne. Mary fled into East Anglia, where she owned extensive estates.

Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen on 10 July 1553. By 12 July, Mary and her supporters had assembled a military force at Framlingham Castle, Suffolk. Jane was deposed on 19 July and was was imprisoned in the The Tower of London. Mary rode triumphantly into London on 3 August 1553 on a wave of popular support. She was accompanied by her half-sister Elizabeth, and a procession of over 800 nobles and gentlemen.

Mary understood that the young Lady Jane was essentially a pawn in Dudley's scheme, and Dudley was the only conspirator of rank executed for high treason in the immediate aftermath of the coup. Lady Jane and her husband, were found guilty, but kept under guard in The Tower.

On 1 October 1553, Gardiner crowned Mary at Westminster Abbey.


A 37 year old Mary turned her attention to finding a husband. Her cousin Charles V suggested she marry his only son, Prince Philip of Spain. Philip had a son from a previous marriage, and was heir apparent to vast territories in Continental Europe and The New World. As part of the marriage negotiations, a portrait of Philip by Titian was sent to her in September 1553.

When Mary insisted on marrying Philip, insurrections broke out. Thomas Wyatt the younger led a force from Kent to depose Mary in favour of Elizabeth. Mary declared publicly that she would summon Parliament to discuss the marriage, and if Parliament decided that the marriage was not to the advantage of the kingdom, she would refrain from pursuing it. Elizabeth, though protesting her innocence in the Wyatt affair, was imprisoned in The Tower of London for two months, then was put under house arrest at Woodstock Palace.

Mary was England's first real Queen regnant. Under the English common law, the property and titles belonging to a woman became her husband's upon marriage, and it was feared that any man she married would thereby become King of England in fact and in name. Under the terms of Queen Mary's Marriage Act. *

Philip was unhappy at the conditions imposed, but he was ready to agree for the sake of securing the marriage. He had no amorous feelings toward Mary and sought the marriage for its political and strategic gains.

To elevate his son to Mary's rank, Emperor Charles V ceded the crown of Naples, as well as his claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, to Philip. Therefore, Mary became Queen of Naples and titular Queen of Jerusalem upon marriage. Their marriage at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July 1554 took place just two days after their first meeting. Philip could not speak English, and so they spoke in a mixture of Spanish, French, and Latin.

Queen of EnglandEdit

In September 1554, Mary stopped menstruating. She gained weight, and felt nauseated in the mornings. For these reasons, almost the entirety of her court, including her doctors, believed her to be pregnant. Parliament passed an act making Philip regent in the event of Mary's death in childbirth. In the last week of April 1555, Elizabeth was released from house arrest, and called to court as a witness to the birth, which was expected imminently.

Through May and June, the delay in delivery fed gossip that Mary was not pregnant. Mary continued to exhibit signs of pregnancy until July 1555, when her abdomen receded. There was no baby. It was most likely a false pregnancy, perhaps induced by Mary's overwhelming desire to have a child. In August, soon after the disgrace of the false pregnancy, which Mary considered to be "God's punishment" for her having "tolerated heretics" in her realm, Philip left England to command his armies against France in Flanders. Mary was heartbroken and fell into a deep depression.

Elizabeth remained at court until October apparently restored to favour. In the absence of any children, Philip was concerned that after Mary and Elizabeth, one of the next claimants to the English throne was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was betrothed to the Dauphin of France.

On January 1556, Mary's father-in-law abdicated and Philip became King of Spain, with Mary as his consort. They were still apart; Philip was declared king in Brussels, while Mary stayed in England. Philip negotiated an unsteady truce with The French in February 1556.

Philip returned to England from March to July 1557 to persuade Mary to support Spain in a renewed war against France. Mary was in favour of declaring war, but her councillors opposed it because French trade would be jeopardised, and a series of poor harvests meant England lacked supplies and finances. War was only declared in June 1557 after Thomas Stafford, invaded England and seized Scarborough Castle in a failed attempt to depose Mary. As a result of the war, relations between England and the Papacy became strained, since Pope Paul IV was allied with Henry II of France.

In January 1558, French forces took Calais, England's sole remaining possession on the European mainland. Although the territory was financially burdensome, it was an ideological loss that damaged Mary's prestige. Mary later said, "When I am dead and opened, you shall find 'Calais' lying in my heart".

The years of Mary's reign were consistently wet. The persistent rain and subsequent flooding led to famine. Despite Mary's marriage to Philip, England did not benefit from Spain's enormously lucrative trade with the New World. The Spanish guarded their trade routes jealously, and Mary could not condone illegitimate trade (piracy) because she was married to the King of Spain.

English coinage was debased under both Henry VIII and Edward VI. Mary drafted plans for currency reform but they were not implemented until after her death.

After Philip's visit in 1557, Mary thought herself pregnant again with a baby due in March 1558. She decreed in her will that her husband be the regent during the minority of her child. However, no child was born, and Mary was forced to accept that Elizabeth was her lawful successor.

Mary was weak and ill from May 1558, and died aged 42 at St. James's Palace during an influenza epidemic on 17 November 1558. She was in pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer.

Mary was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth Tudor. Philip, who was in Brussels, wrote to his sister Joan: "I felt a reasonable regret for her death."

Although her will stated that she wished to be buried next to her mother, Mary was interred in Westminster Abbey on 14 December in a tomb she would eventually share with Elizabeth. The Latin inscription on their tomb, reads Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection


  • Mary was the only child of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to make it to adulthood.
  • She was named after her paternal aunt Mary Tudor, Queen of France (Her father's favorite sister).
  • Before Mary was born, her mother had four previous pregnancies that had resulted in stillborn daughters and three short-lived or stillborn sons.
  • Mary developed into a pretty, well-proportioned young lady with a fine complexion.
  • As the miniature portraits of her shows, Mary had, like both her parents, a very fair complexion, pale blue eyes and red or reddish-golden hair. She was also ruby cheeks, a trait she inherited from her father.
  • Mary became Queen of England when she was 37 years old.
  • Captain John Hawkins's father, William Hawkins was a ship owner and sea Captain, serving in Parliament under King Henry VIII and Queen Mary.
  • Captain John Hawkins is believed to have been an ambassador for Spain, who helped negotiated the marriage between Queen Mary of England and King Philip II of Spain.
  • King Philip II of Spain married Mary I of England. After her death, he married Princess Elisabeth of France, who was his third wife.
  • Mary became known as Bloody Mary soon after her reign for the mass execution of Protestants.
  • The loss of Calais, France was regarded by Mary as a dreadful misfortune. She reportedly said, "When I am dead and opened, you shall find 'Philip' (her husband) and 'Calais' lying in my heart."
  • Mary Tudor died of a tumour.
  • Mary is buried with her sister Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey.

Queen Mary's Marriage Act. *

    • King Philip II of Spain was to be styled "King of England"
    • All official documents were to be dated with both their names.
    • Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple.
    • England would not be obliged to provide military support to Philip's father in any war
    • Philip could not act without his wife's consent or appoint foreigners to office in England.

Family TreeEdit


Historical Figure

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Kings: King Antoine of Navarre | King Edward of England | King Henry II of France | King Henry VIII of England |
King James V of Scotland | King Francis I of France | King Francis II of France | King Charles IX of France |
King Philip II of Spain |
Queens: Queen Catherine of France | Queen Mary of Scotland | Queen Anne of England | Queen Elizabeth of England | Queen Jane of England | Queen Mary of England | Queen Jeanne of Navarre | Queen Elisabeth of Spain |
Princes: Prince of the Blood, Louis Condé | Price Don Carlos of Spain | Price Henry of France | Prince Henry de Bourbon | Duke Francis of France |
Princesses: Princess Claude of France | Catherine of Aragon | Princess Catherine de Bourbon |
Lords: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Darnley | Matthew Lennox | Patrick Ruthven
Ladies: Amy Dudley | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Mary Livingston | Mary Beaton | Mary Seton | Margaret Lennox |
Nobles: Diane de Poitiers | James Stuart | Marie de Guise | Lucrezia de' Medici |
Others: Nostradamus | John Knox | Pope Clement VII |

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