Mary I of England

Mary I of England

Mary I of England was the first Queen who in her right ruled England. She was born on 18th February 1516 as the only child of Catherine of Argon and Henry VIII that survived childhood. She was the first of the six wives that King Henry VIII had. She ruled as the England’s Queen from 19th July 1553 until when she died on 17th November 1558. She was called “Bloody Mary” because of the way she persecuted protestants in her attempt to restore the position of the Catholic Church in England.

Life of Mary I of England and why she became “Bloody Mary”

  • Childhood

When King Henry VIII divorced her mother, although that time divorce was called an annulment, Mary I became alienated from the father. The marriage of her parents was considered void and Mary became an illegitimate child. It was at this time that she was deprived her status as the heir of the throne. This made her furious as well as the breaking of ties between her father and the Roman Catholic Church because the church had instructed him against divorcing her mother.

The feeling of Mary was that, had her father, the King, obeyed what the Roman Catholic Church had instructed him, she would not have become an illegitimate child. Therefore, nobody would have questioned her right to the England’s throne. This formed a foundation for her loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church. However, by the time his father, King Henry VIII died, she had already been restored as the second child in the line of throne’s heirs after Edward, her half-brother. Nevertheless, Edward was weak physically.

  • Mary as the Queen

By the time Edward died in 1553, Protestantism had already established ground in England. A rival claimant for the throne was made by Lady Jane Grey, her cousin. However, public sympathy was with Mary and she soon became the Queen after Jane Grey was deposed making Mary an undisputed Queen. The official coronation was on 30th November 1553. She started earning her title as “Bloody Mary” after she had Lady Jane, her cousin, executed as a way of preventing possible struggle for power. A common belief is that she would have spared the life of her cousin were it not for the Spanish diplomats’ intervention, who made it a condition that Mary execute Jane in order to marry their king.

  • How she became the real “Bloody Mary”

Mary resented and rejected breaking with Rome and Anglican Church’s establishment in England. She wanted to restore Roman Catholic Church to its original position by weakening the position of the Protestant that her father and half-brother had established. She did this by force, a move that led to the execution of many Protestant leaders. Among the leaders that were executed during her reign included John Rogers and Thomas Cranmer. In certain ways, she made remarkable efforts in her attempts to restore Catholicism in England. Her persecution of the Protestants was fueled further by the fact that some Protestants nobles had attempted to put Jane Grey on the throne.

Death of Mary I of England

Mary was inspired by her allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church to institute numerous social reforms. However, the reforms were mostly unsuccessful. She had an unpopular marriage to the Spain’s Philip II in 1554. On realizing that she could not bear a child, Philip spent little time with her. She died due to ovarian or uterine cancer when she was 42 years old. Elizabeth I, her half-sister succeeded her. Elizabeth I undid most of the changes that Mary had instituted including returning England back to a Protestant-friendly country. It was at this time that many refugees that had fled to Geneva which was always neutral printed the “Geneva Bible” and later they came home where they printed more copies of this Bible.

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