Mary I was born 18th February 1516 in Greenwich, England. She was the first queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death, 17th November 1558.
She is best known for her attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had already begun while her father, Henry VIII reigned. Mary I was also referred to as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestants.
Being a studious and bright girl Mary was educated by her mother, the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon, and a governess. Already at age six, she was promised to marry (betrothed) Charles V, King of Spain. Charles broke off the engagement after a few years. Henry desperately wanted a son as heir, and wished to end his marriage. Pope Clement VII refused his demand, which led Henry to declare himself exempt from the Pope’s authority. In 1534, Henry established the Church of England – he also got married an additional 4 times before his death in 1547. Anne Boleyn (one of his wives) bore him a daughter; the future queen, Elizabeth I.
He also got his “longed-for” son Edward VI with his third wife. When Henry died, the official succession was Edward, thereafter Mary, and lastly Elizabeth. Edward died in 1553, after a six-year reign.
Mary’s initial ruling was a mix of Catholics and Protestants, but in the progression of her reign, she got a great desire to restore English Catholicism. In 1554, she announced her intention to marry Prince Philip of Spain (son of Charles V). Many protestants feared a permanent loss of Henry’s reforms after hearing these news, but that did not stop Mary’s plans.
Mary’s marriage to Philip was quite troubled. She announced twice that she was pregnant, thereafter living in seclusion – and no child was born. Philip found her unattractive, and spent a lot of time in Europe.
Mary was starting to feel weak and ill from May 1558. With intense pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer, she died on 17th November 1558, aged 42, in London. She was succeeded by her half sister, Elizabeth I.
- Simons, Norman Eric. Mary I. Encyclopedia Britannica. Last updated: August 3rd, 2018. Accessed: 20th September, 2018.
- History.com Editors. Mary I. History. Original published date: November 9th, 2009, last updated: August 21st, 2018. Accessed: September 20th, 2018.
- Wikipedia. Mary I of England. Last edited: September 18th, 2018. Accessed: September 20th, 2018.