Saturday, January 29, 2022

Mary I of England

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Priyanka Kaushik
Hey, this is priyanka, a student of English literature, keen on exploring the depths of it. I am an introvert, shy and more inclined to my books. Love old Hindi music. Good at sketching and poetry.

May it be ‘The black death,’ ‘The Battle of Bannockburn,’ or ‘The English Civil war,’ England composes in itself a history so intriguing and inexplicable, it seeks a special kind of attention from scholars worldwide. It’s studied critically, analyzed, and developed by and by again by critics and scholars.

There are instances in England’s history which arouse our special attention towards them. One such instance on which I would like to throw light upon is the period of the reign of Queen MARY. In contemporary times, this queen is popularly known as ‘Bloody Mary.’
Yes, it is the very bloody Mary of whom you hear tales time and over again. People have developed various bedeviled games on it, but very few of them are aware of the actual reason why this queen is known as bloody Mary or, in fact, which is ‘bloody Mary.’

In this article, I aim to mention some of these reasons to understand better why she was called “bloody Mary.” We will also look into a few interesting facts about her. 




Taking it back toQueennMary’s ancestry, Henry VIII (1509-1547) married Katherine of Argon, his elder brother Arthur.


This king was initially raised as a Catholic but later changed his loyalties to Protestantism to marry Anne Boleyn, from whom Elizabeth was born.


Queen Mary was born to Katherine. He later married Jane Seymore, who gave birth to Edward VI, who then acceded to the throne left by Henry VIII after he died.

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Edward VI was raised as a Protestant, and during his reign in 1549, the first book of common prayers was introduced, which brought about a change from Latin to English in the Church service.

Queen Mary 1st ( 1553 – 1558 )

She was born on February 18, 1516. Out of all the children born out of Katherine and Henry VIII, Mary was the only one to survive infancy. She reigned as Queen of England from July 19, 1553, until her death on November 17, 1558.

She was bought up as a Catholic by Katherine. She became an obstacle in the printing of the Bible in English. Her Catholic loyalties were rigid in their own manner. She wanted entire England to return to the Roman Church.

EARLY LIFE: After Mary’s birth, 

King Henry VIIIth wanted a divorce from Katherine as he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. He was refused this wish to get divorced from Katherine by the Pope. Later, Thomas Crammer, Archbishop of Canterbury, annuls Henry VIII to divorce. Due to this, Mary became the abandoned child of her father, and because of the separation of the husband and wife, Mary was deprived of her status as an heir of the throne even though she was the eldest child. This incident made her furious about her father’s break from the Roman Catholic Church. She inhibited anguish against Protestantism. She knew that if her father hadn’t changed his loyalties, she would have been his successor to the throne. Her illegitimacy for the throne and abandonment by her father laid the foundations of her profound loyalties for Roman Catholicism.



When her brother Edward VI died due to Tuberculosis in 1553, the throne was put forward to Mary’s cousin Lady Jane Grey as, by that time, Protestantism gained much popularity. With the help of public sympathy, Mary soon captured her throne back in the same year of Edward’s death.

  • Mary’s execution of Lady Jane Grey



To remove any suspicion of a power struggle between herself and her cousin, she executed her. It is believed that some Spanish diplomats intervened in the matters of the cousins, and Mary was forced to execute Jane due to them. But the more popular notion believed that the reason behind this action is that Jane’s father, Henry Grey, participated in the protestant rebellion led by Sir Thomas Wyatt in 1554, which gave Mary a confirmation that Jane will never leave her Protestant thought process. And therefore, the fifteen-year-old and her husband were beheaded on February 12, 1554. This incident became a stepping stone for Mary to involuntarily become the ‘Bloody queen’ of England.



Due to her personal reasons and grudges inflicted by her father, Mary I of England became rigid in her religious beliefs. Born and brought up as a Catholic, she was keen on removing any traces of protestants from the country.


She tried to turn England back to Roman Catholicism, for which she executed John Rogers, who was the printer of the “Matthews-Tyndale Bible,” followed by the execution of Thomas Crammer, the former archbishop who helped in the Annulation of Henry VIII and Katherine and was also responsible in the printing of the “Great Bible.” To a large extent, Protestants were not saved from the reign of terror of queen Mary and were killed/ executed thereby. Under these circumstances, many of the supporters of Protestantism flew to Switzerland as refugees. They only came back after Mary’s death and Elizabeth’s succession to the throne, which welcomed the protestant environment back.



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The method she most preferred was burning. This was also a favored method of the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, and many undertook it because she married King Phillip II of Spain.

She reigned for about 5 years, and then Mary died of uterine or ovarian cancer. She became the most hated queens of England and was therefore synonymized with ”BLOODY MARY”. She was the most heartless and superstitious woman who failed in whatever she tried to do or implement during her reign. Her vulnerability probably caused her failure to religion and her rigid beliefs in Roman Catholic Church. Her less tolerant power made her a terrorized figure in England and led to a lot of bloodsheds. 

No doubt, when she was burned in Smithfield and taken to her grave, no one close to her was available there, her husband already left her, the country despised her, and no relative was ready to succumb to her viewpoints and methods were, therefore, kept their distance from her.

Due to this bloody queen’s brutality and her five years of terror, when Queen Elizabeth acceded the throne, she was much loved and appreciated as she brought back the friendly environment of Protestantism, and people were happy with her. She became the angel who succeeded a demon. 

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