- NAME: Mary Tudor
- OCCUPATION: Queen
- BIRTH DATE: February 18, 1516
- DEATH DATE: November 17, 1558
- Did You Know?: Mary earned the nickname "Blood Mary" as a consequence of her persecution of Protestants.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Palace of Placentia (Greenwich, England), United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: St. James Palace (London, England), United Kingdom
- Full Name: Mary Tudor
- Nickname: Bloody Mary
- AKA: Mary I
- AKA: Queen Mary
- AKA: Lady Mary
- AKA: Princess Mary
Best Known For
Mary Tudor is best known as the first queen regent of England, reigning from 1553 until her death in 1558.
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Born on February 18, 1516, at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England, Mary Tudor was the only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Mary finally took the throne in 1553, reigning as the first queen regent of England and Ireland. Her persecution of Protestants earned her the moniker "Bloody Mary." She died at St. James Palace in London on November 17, 1558.
Mary Tudor was born on February 18, 1516, at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England. She was the only child of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive through childhood. She was baptized as a Catholic shortly after her birth. In 1525, Henry sent his daughter to live on the border of Wales, while he continuously tried to negotiate a marriage for her.
By 1533, Henry had declared his marriage to Catherine annulled and married Anne Boleyn. Boleyn, fearing a challenge to the throne, successfully pressed for an act of Parliament to declare Mary illegitimate. This placed the princess outside the succession to the throne. In 1536, Henry had Anne Boleyn beheaded and married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who insisted that the king make amends with his daughters. Although Mary did re-enter the royal court, her religious beliefs made her a lightning rod for conflict. This tension continued through the short reign of Mary's half-brother, Edward VI, who died in 1553 at the age of 15.
After Edward's death, Mary challenged and successfully deposed the new queen, Lady Jane Grey. She took the throne as the first queen regent. Mary immediately began repealing many of Henry VIII's religious edicts and replacing them with her own, which included a strict heresy law. The enforcement of this law resulted in the burning of over 300 Protestants as heretics. Mary's religious persecutions made her extremely unpopular and earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary."
Mary was 37 at the time of her accession. She knew that, if she remained childless, the throne would pass to her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth. She needed a Catholic heir to avoid the reversal of her Catholic reforms. To accomplish this goal, she arranged to marry Philip, King of Spain.
The public response to Mary's marriage was unsuccessful and extremely unpopular. The marriage produced no children. Philip spent little time in England and provided no part of his vast New World trade network to the British crown. Meanwhile, the alliance with Spain dragged England into military conflict with France.
Mary fell ill in 1558, suffering from an ailment that may have been uterine or ovarian cancer. She died at St. James Palace in London on November 17, 1558, and was interred at Westminster Abbey. Her half-sister succeeded her on the throne as Elizabeth I. Upon Elizabeth's death, she was buried alongside Mary.
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