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Mary Tudor or Mary I was the first queen regnant of England, reigning for five years, from 1553 until she died in 1558. She was famous for her religious persecution of Protestants to restore Catholicism in England. She gained the reputation of “Bloody Mary” because of this.
See the fact file below for more information on Mary Tudor or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Mary Tudor worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- On February 18, 1516, Mary I or Mary Tudor was born at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England.
- She was the only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who survived through childhood. She was also baptized as Catholic three days after her birth.
- Scholars and her mother handled her education. She was said to excel in music and language and was reportedly a precocious child. At nine years old, Mary could read and write Latin.
- Mary had blue eyes, reddish-golden hair, and a fair complexion. Her father once boasted that she never cried. However, the king was deeply disappointed that Mary was his last child with Catherine of Aragon, leaving him with no son and legitimate heir.
THE GREAT MATTER
- In the mid-1520s, King Henry questioned if his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was legitimate when he became infatuated with Anne Boleyn. The latter resisted Henry’s attention and refused to become the king’s mistress.
- King Henry sought an annulment from Catherine, citing that their marriage was a sin as the queen was married to his brother before he died and that they were not given a male heir because of this.
- Catherine insisted that her first marriage was never consummated.
- King Henry dispatched Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to bring his case to Pope Clement VII. Still, it was clear that the Pope would not grant it as during the time, he was the Holy Roman Emperor and Catherine’s nephew, Charles V’s prisoner following the siege of Rome.
- After two years, the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham died, and Thomas Cranmer, the Boleyn family’s chaplain, was appointed to the vacant position. On May 23, 1533, Cranmer announced that Henry’s marriage to Catherine was against the law of God. After five days, he validated Henry and Anne’s marriage, who had a secret ceremony on January 24 or 25.
- During this whole ordeal, Mary I was not allowed to see her mother, whom Henry had sent away to live separately. Mary was always sick due to depression.
- After the annulment, Catherine was demoted to Dowager Princess of Wales, her title as Arthur’s widow.
- Mary was treated as illegitimate and styled as “The Lady Mary” instead of a Princess. Her newborn half-sister, Elizabeth, Anne’s daughter, replaced her in the line of succession.
- In December 1533, she was sent to live in the household of the infant Elizabeth, at Hatfield, Hertfordshire. She refused to acknowledge his father’s new wife as queen or their daughter as a princess, which caused her estrangement from Henry.
- Their relationship worsened when he refused to let her visit her mother until she died in 1536. Mary privately grieved at Hunsdon in Hertfordshire.
- Henry VIII accused Anne Boleyn of adultery and conspiracy against the king and had her beheaded. In two weeks, Mary had another stepmother Jane Seymour, who became instrumental in the father and daughter’s reconciliation.
- Mary agreed to all her father’s conditions, including accepting her illegitimacy and recognizing him as the head of the Church of England to resume her place in court.
- When Jane Seymour died after giving birth to a son, Edward, Mary became his godmother and chief mourner at the queen’s funeral.
ACCESSION TO THRONE
- The Act of Succession 1544 put Mary in her rightful place as the throne’s successor after Edward and before Elizabeth.
- When Henry died in 1547, Edward took over at only 13 years old. Since he was only a child, a regency council dominated by Protestants attempted to pass the Act of Uniformity 1549, which prescribed Protestant rites for church services.
- Mary continued to be a devoted Catholic and defiantly celebrated traditional mass in her chapel. She also asked her cousin, Emperor Charles V, to apply diplomatic pressure to practice her religion.
- Mary rarely attended the court and refused Edward’s order to abandon Catholicism.
- On July 6, 1553, Edward VI died. However, before his death, he arranged for Lady Jane Grey, Henry VIII’s youngest sister’s granddaughter, to be his successor. He did not want the crown to go to Mary because he feared she would restore Catholicism.
- Mary fled to East Anglia because of the plot to capture her, and Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen on July 10, 1553. Mary’s supporters had assembled a military force at Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, on July 12.
- After seven days, Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and Mary succeeded the crown.
- Mary became the queen of England at 37 years old and unmarried. She wanted to produce a Catholic heir to push Catholicism and prevent Elizabeth, a protestant, from succeeding the throne.
- Charles V suggested marrying his only son, Prince Philip of Spain. This move angered the English and caused insurrections. Patriots wanted Mary to marry an Englishman, and Protestants feared that the country would revert to Catholicism.
- Thomas Wyatt the Younger led an insurrection with the help of Lady Jane’s father to depose Mary in favor of Elizabeth. The insurgence was stopped, and Wyatt, Lady Jane, her husband, and her father were all executed. Elizabeth, although claiming innocence, was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two months.
- The wedding pushed through in 1554. The country had a Catholic King and Queen and was waiting for a Catholic heir. However, after two false pregnancies, the heir did not come.
- Aside from being the first queen of England, Mary became famous also because of her religious policy. At first, she proclaimed that she would compel anyone to follow her religion, but in September 1553, she imprisoned several Protestant men.
- Her parliament legitimized her parent’s marriage and abolished Edward’s religious law. She restored the Church doctrine to the form it had taken in the 1539 Six Articles of Henry VIII.
- Mary and Pope Julius III made a concession and restored the Heresy Acts, which Mary needed to pursue her religious policies. Wealthy Protestants fled the country and those who remained and publicly proclaimed their beliefs got afflicted by the Heresy law.
- Public executions through mostly burning occurred over five days in February 1555. Two hundred eighty-three Protestants were executed during her reign. These earned her the reputation as “Bloody Mary.”
- Prince Philip persuaded the Queen to support Spain’s war against France, contravening the marriage treaty’s foreign war provisions. Her counselors advised her against it because French trading would be jeopardized.
- However, Thomas Stafford invaded England, making Mary declare war against France in 1557. English forces won in the Battle of Saint Quentin, but France took Calais, England’s only remaining possession on the European mainland, after only a few months. It was a big blow to the Queen’s prestige.
- During Queen Mary’s reign, England’s weather was always wet. The long rains and floods resulted in famine.
- The country also suffered economically due to the decline of the Antwerp cloth trade. Spain did not help England in their struggling economy despite enjoying a lucrative trade in the new world.
- Mary granted a royal charter to the Muscovy Company and commissioned a world atlas from Diogo Homem to rescue the economy. Explorers sailed south to develop links on the coast of Africa.
- Mary also ordered a medieval system of collecting taxation and dues. Her government also published a revised “Book of Rates” that listed every import’s tariffs and dues.
- Mary drafted plans for currency reform, but they did not materialize until after her death.
- When an influenza epidemic occurred in England, Mary I was one of the casualties. She died childless and without an heir on November 17, 1558. She was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth.
Mary Tudor Facts Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Mary Tudor across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about Mary Tudor who was the first queen regnant of England, reigning for five years, from 1553 until she died in 1558.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mary Tudor Facts
- Mary’s Early Life
- Four Contributions
- Mary I’s Reign
- After the Divorce
- Devotion to Religion
- The Queen’s Inquiry
- Father and Daughter
- The Burning of Protestants
- Bloody Mary
- Being a Queen
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Link will appear as Mary Tudor Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 20, 2022
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