Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Mary I

Mary I

John Edwards
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 336
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Mary I
    Book Description:

    The lifestory of Mary I-daughter of Henry VIII and his Spanish wife, Catherine of Aragon-is often distilled to a few dramatic episodes: her victory over the attempted coup by Lady Jane Grey, the imprisonment of her half-sister Elizabeth, the bloody burning of Protestants, her short marriage to Philip of Spain. This original and deeply researched biography paints a far more detailed portrait of Mary and offers a fresh understanding of her religious faith and policies as well as her historical significance in England and beyond.

    John Edwards, a leading scholar of English and Spanish history, is the first to make full use of Continental archives in this context, especially Spanish ones, to demonstrate how Mary's culture, Catholic faith, and politics were thoroughly Spanish. Edwards begins with Mary's origins, follows her as she battles her increasingly erratic father, and focuses particular attention on her notorious religious policies, some of which went horribly wrong from her point of view. The book concludes with a consideration of Mary's five-year reign and the frustrations that plagued her final years. Childless, ill, deserted by her husband, Mary died in the full knowledge that her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth would undo her religious work and, without acknowledging her sister, would reap the benefits of Mary's achievements in government.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17743-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    (pp. 1-17)

    On 16 December 1485, at Alcalá de Henares in central Spain, a daughter was born to Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon. She was to remain their youngest child, and was named Catalina, after her English great-grandmother, Catherine of Lancaster. The future Catherine of Aragon, Princess of Wales and Queen of England, first saw light during a winter lull in her parents’ war against the Muslim emirate of Granada, which they would conquer seven years later.¹ Some months afterwards, in the early hours of 20 September 1486, Elizabeth of York, wife of King Henry VII of England,...

  8. Chapter 2 A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY, 1525–1536
    (pp. 18-37)

    In her teenage years, Mary continued to be the recipient of other people’s actions, rather than taking initiatives of her own. Charles V’s abandonment of Mary, and his subsequent marriage to Princess Isabel of Portugal, had considerable consequences beyond Iberia and the other Habsburg lands. The Emperor seems finally to have decided to make the change in 1525, when Henry VIII failed to provide him with military help against France. In the fluid political situation which then existed, it seemed unwise for Charles to tie himself by marriage either to England or to France, since whichever royal house was not...

  9. Chapter 3 MARY BEREAVED, 1536–1547
    (pp. 38-63)

    In the last eleven years of her father’s reign, Mary was to endure a series of ordeals which at times threatened her health and even her very life. But before that, by November 1535, her mother Catherine was suffering from pain and attacks of nausea, of a kind which had periodically affected her for more than a year. In early December she wrote to her nephew’s ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, asking him for money to give as Christmas and New Year presents to her servants, and was then still hoping that Henry would allow her to move to a more salubrious...

    (pp. 64-86)

    In the aftermath of their father’s death, in the early hours of 28 January 1547, the new King Edward wrote to his stepsister Mary in a sententious manner, very probably with the guidance of his tutors:

    We ought not to mourn our father’s death, since it is His will, who works all things for good … So far as lies in me, I will be to you a devout brother, and overflowing with all kindness.¹

    Mary, separated from Edward by an age gap of over twenty-one years, was still personally close to Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr, but she was...

  11. Chapter 5 A YEAR OF TWO COUPS, 1553
    (pp. 87-122)

    As King Edward prepared to meet his Maker, Mary was about to take action which had precedent in her Spanish family. During the night of 11–12 December 1474, Henry (Enrique), king of Castile and León, died in the Alcázar (castle) of Madrid. Henry had been ill for some time, but he nonetheless seems to have died suddenly, and the exact cause of his death is not known. Setting out early on Sunday the 12th, one of the late King’s servants, Rodrigo de Ulloa, travelled north-west, through the snow-covered Guadarrama mountains, and by the time the short December day came...

  12. Chapter 6 A CROWN AND A HUSBAND, 1553–1554
    (pp. 123-158)

    As soon as Mary was established on the throne, her coronation became an issue. Although the people had warmly welcomed the victorious Queen into London at the beginning of August, very soon there were disagreements among her councillors and within her household, not least because of her merciful treatment of some former opponents, whose presence at court and in government greatly offended ‘loyalists’. Also, while the use of fines from these enemies helped to replenish the almost empty exchequer which Edward and Jane had bequeathed, there was a feeling, among both the native English and foreign ambassadors, that trouble was...

    (pp. 159-199)

    It seems to have been Queen Mary’s outburst when meeting a parliamentary delegation on 16 November 1553, together with indications emerging from her Council that she had indeed chosen Philip of Spain to be her husband, which suggested to some members of the English political class that it was time for ‘regime change’. Probably, all those involved with government had some kind of crisis of conscience at the prospect of a foreign consort for their Queen. Many were no doubt well aware that, back in 1532, a book entitledA Glasse of the Truthehad appeared, which attempted to justify...

  14. Chapter 8 A DUAL MONARCHY, 1554–1555
    (pp. 200-225)

    Now that Mary and Philip were married and had entered their capital as monarchs, they had to begin working out their system of government and establish the outline of their policies. As far as the Queen was concerned, the marriage itself had been a major aim, at least since September 1553, and that had been achieved, but in religion, which was perhaps her most fundamental concern of all, much remained to be done. The English Church had to be reunited with Rome, and Pope Julius III’s cardinal legate to England, Reginald Pole, had to be admitted to begin work in...

  15. Chapter 9 BATTLE FOR ENGLAND’S SOUL, 1553–1558
    (pp. 226-265)

    The reconciliation ceremony in Westminster on 30 November 1554 naturally raises questions concerning Mary’s personal religious faith, which had produced such a drastic action. Apart from referring to the label ‘Bloody Mary’, given to her largely as a result of the work of the Protestant martyrologist John Foxe, to such permanent effect, most scholars seem to have felt that the job was done if they described her as ‘Catholic’ or ‘traditionalist’.¹ Her obstinate and almost self-destructive clinging to the Mass during her half-brother’s reign certainly supports such an interpretation, but actions of this kind, however essential and profoundly felt, do...

  16. Chapter 10 ENGLAND THREATENED, 1555–1557
    (pp. 266-308)

    It is still sometimes suggested today, as it was by her enemies at the time, that one reason for Mary’s grim determination to pursue heretics to the end, despite the undoubtedly harmful effect of this violence on the popularity and success of her government, was the sadness and even bitterness she felt because she could not conceive a child. Certainly, when Cardinal Pole had finally reached Westminster and met her, in November 1554, he greeted her in a way which might seem blasphemous to many twentyfirst-century Christians but would probably not have appeared so at the time. He apparently spoke...

    (pp. 309-336)

    As the new year of 1558 dawned, there was no reason to suppose that by the end of it Mary and Cardinal Pole would be dead, and Philip no longer King of England. Yet in later legend, Mary I was laid in her grave with the word ‘Calais’ engraved on her heart, so how was that city lost? Unlike Philip and the English, the French did not settle down for the winter in November 1557. It had been a while before King Henry became sure that the Habsburg armies would not attack him again after Saint-Quentin, let alone advance on...

  18. Chapter 12 REGIME CHANGE
    (pp. 337-350)

    In the second half of 1558, Elizabeth had worked hard, while still at Hatfield House, to prepare her new government. Mary’s administration was divided on policy matters, and there was plenty of discontent in the country which her successor could exploit. Even so, a great deal of uncertainty remained. It is perhaps not surprising that she refused to discuss the details with the count of Feria when he visited her a few days before Mary’s death, but the worried toings and froings at that time, between Hertfordshire and Westminster, indicated the reality of the tensions and anxieties involved for most...

    (pp. 351-363)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 364-388)