When people think of the reign of Queen Mary, they only think of the couple hundred murders she was accounted for, but there was much more to her. Mary Tudor was not always the harsh leader that many people always think of her as. There many things in her life that lead up to her becoming as what many people refer to her as Bloody Mary. When people think of Mary Tudor many associate her with her unmerciful acts toward her opposition, there are many factors that contributed to why she became the leader she did such as her childhood and having to deal with politica, she was not always the one to be very brutal.
Mary Tudor was born on February 18, 1516, in Greenwich, England. She an only child of her father King Henry VIII and her mother, Katherine of Aragon, that survived when born. After her birth she was baptized as a Catholic. At home she was tutored by her mother and some scholars, she excelled in music and language,Mary was very intelligent and well-educated, but she never showed the same enthusiasm for learning . At a young age she was used in her father’s diplomatic intrigues. In 1525, she was named Princess of Wales and Henry sent his daughter to live on the Welsh border, while he tried to engineer a marriage for her continuously.
Frustrated by the lack of a male heir, Henry wanted a divorce from her mother Katharine but Mary remained loyal to her mother and spent nine years in misery living with her. Henry then broke relations with the Catholic Church so he could establish the Church of England, and after doing so he married, Anne Boleyn, one of Katherine’s maids of honors. When Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth, Mary’s step sister, she feared Mary would have to challenge the succession to the throne after Henry died.
To stop any chance of Mary taking the throne successfully pressed for an act of Parliament to declare Mary illegitimate. Due to Mary’s mother’s refusal to be known as anything lower than Queen of England and refused the illegitimacy of her marriage, Mary was was forced away from her mother. Mary was declared a bastard, struck from the succession, stripped of her title as “Princess” . Treated as an illegitimate, she was forced to serve her half sister. She remained legally illegitimate and was styled “the Lady Mary,” rather than “Princess.” This placed Mary outside the succession of the throne and forced her to be behind, Elizabeth, her half sister. She had plans to escape all this and no longer be the lady in waiting, “Plans to escape to the Continent failed, and in 1536 Mary was finally forced to acknowledge herself as illegitimate and to repudiate her church, statements from which she was later absolved by the pope.
“(The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.). She had to confess to the church as an illegitimate which was indeed very hard for her, She was very loyal to her faith. After all this Henry was behind a scheme to that beheaded Anne his ex wife and he remarried, Jane Seymour, and he finally had the son he always wanted.
Jane eventually made Henry have an amend with his daughter, he only did so when Mary acknowledged him as the head of the Church and admit the illegality of the marriage to Katherine. After the death of Edward, Mary challenged the throne of the new queen, Lady Jane Grey,granddaughter of Henry’s sister, who was placed secretly there by Edward, and she successfully took it. “The ease with which she defeated the challenge of Lady Jane Grey shows that her Catholicism was no bar to her acceptance as monarch.” (Rathbone) Mary took the throne and first thing she did was reinstated her parents’ marriage. She was very loyal to her faith, she would have mass, the mass was in a private chapel in defiance of the Act of Uniformity.
She acknowledged the religious dualism but she desperately wanted to yet again have the Catholic Church in charge as opposed to the England Church. When Mary I took the throne, the Spanish ambassador, Simon Renaud, to England, immediately came up with a marriage. Mary was 37 at the time of her marriage. She knew that she could not remain childless or the throne would pass to Elizabeth, who was Protestant.
She needed to have a Catholic heir to avoid the reversal of her reforms and in order for this she needed the help of the Catholic Church. To accomplish this goal, Mary’s marriage to the Spanish prince only backed up her religious fanaticism. Mary placed two other relatives above Elizabeth in her court, ans cited Elizabeth’s illegal birth as her reason. The response to Mary’s marriage from the public was very unpopular because there was general dislike for spaniards, and Mary herself was half-spaniard.The marriage of Philip did nothing but elevate the hatred for the spaniards, a treaty between spain and England was then created and anyone who went against it was imprisoned. Throughout all this treatment, Mary’s simpler acts of kindness toward the people helped eclipses cruel acts and she then won over the people with her compassion.
She would even go out many times and just simply visit the poor and interacted with her subjects on the streets. Mary’s reign was strictly remaining around religion, many of her accomplishments had to deal with the relation of religion or the opinions of the people. “As a devout Roman Catholic, Mary was determined to bring England back into the arms of Rome” (Useful Notes/ Mary Tudor), as stated earlier one of the most important things for Mary was her faith. Philip, Mary’s husband, was named King Consort, and worked with Parliament to fight the Protestant laws passed during the time of Henry and Edward and reinstate the Heresy Acts. “The Heresy Act 1382 was an Act of the Parliament of England. The Act stated that the Chancellor should issue commissions for the arrest of heretical preachers by the authority of certificates from the bishops” (Wikipedia).
The reinstatement of the Heresy Acts resulted in the burning of 283 protestants as heretics. These religious persecutions are what made her unpopular among the people and is what later on earned her the nickname “Bloody Mary.”, The nickname “Bloody Mary” came to be well after Mary’s death. After the burning Mary and her husband, Philip, had no children.
Childless by 1558, Mary had gone through several false pregnancies, the symptoms she had thought were signs of pregnancy were actually indications of an ovarian disease. She died at St. James Palace, on November 17, 1558, and was interred at Westminster Abbey. When Mary died in 1558, the crowds who cheered her five years earlier and made her such a popular figure political leader, were then heaving sighs of relief at her passing, Mary died unmourned, unloved, and unrepentant, “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” (Useful Notes/ Mary Tudor), any hope that Mary had of restoring the catholic hope was gone, she did not fail because of strategies, but by misfortune that she was apart of the worst harvests and epidemics in the century and she unfortunately died before her hard work had any chance to take root and grow and expand throughout the country.
Many of Mary’s motives were all around religion, even on her deathbed she begged her half-sister to keep the Catholic Church in power. Elizabeth I succeeded her in 1559 finally, she able to restore Protestantism, and the church of England remained in power over the Catholic Church. As seen Mary was never too brutal in her life until it became a threat to the most important thing, her faith. “As a devout Roman Catholic, Mary was determined to bring England back into the arms of Rome” (Useful Notes/ Mary Tudor) Before the protests, she was seen as kind and compassionate, even in her family Mary was asked by friends to stand godmother to their children showing how she really was never a brutal person to start with, and also acted as a mother figure to her younger siblings.
Mary showed clemency toward her political opponents in the early part of her rain. Although mostly quite merciful when it came to her opponents or conspirators against her, Mary treated her religious enemies with no mercy. “The object of Mary’s policy of persecution was to frighten Protestants into the papal fold. It was not successful, and may well have been counterproductive: there is evidence to suggest that the sufferings of the victims often aroused sympathy and provided a source of inspiration and.
strength to some Protestants.” (Rathbone) The only event that casted the nickname over “Bloody Mary” over her was the burning of 238 protestants. She was a very popular leader in the eyes of the people before the terrorific event of the burnings. It is stated that she would take time out of her day to visit people and take care of the people in need, she treated others with respect. The respected she treated others with, she never received from anyone, from being a disappointment to her father for not being male and the burden that her mother did not want to carry. These events at a young age could have lead Mary to become such a cruel person when it came to protesting that she cared very much for.