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Mary I of England

Mary I of England 4

May it be ‘The black death’ ,’The battle of Bannockburn’ , or ‘The English Civil war’, England compose in itself a history so intriguing and inexplicable, it seeks a special kind of attention from scholars worldwide. It’s studied critically, analysed 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 the contemporary times, this queen is popularly known as ‘Bloody Mary’.
Yes, it is the very bloody Mary of whom you are hearing tales about time and 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 who is bloody Mary.

In this article I am going to answer these questions as well as some interesting facts about this Queen. 




Taking it back to the ancestry of queen Mary, Henry VIII (1509-1547) married Katherine of Argon, widow of his elder brother Arthur.


Now this king was initially raised as a Catholic but later he changed his loyalties to Protestantism in order to marry Anne Boleyn from whom Elizabeth was born.


Queen Mary was born to Katherine. Then he later married Jane Seymore who gave birth to Edward VI who then acceded the throne left by Henry VIII after he died. download (1)

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, rest of them died during the same. 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 the entire England to return to the Roman Church.


King Henry VIII, after Mary’s birth wanted a divorce from Katherine as he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. He was refused to get divorced to 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 an anguish against Protestantism. She knew that if her father wouldn’t have changed his loyalties, she would have been his successor for 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




In order 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 for 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 of the fact 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”. Protestants to a large extent 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 and 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 by burning. This was also a favored method of the Catholic Spanish inquisition and it was undertaken by Mary 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 synonymed with ”BLOODY MARY”. She was the most heartless and superstitious women who failed in whatever she tried to do or implement during the course of her reign. Her failure was probably caused because of her vulnerability regarding religion and her rigid beliefs in Roman Catholic Church. Her less tolerance power made her a terrorized figure in England and led a lot of blood shed. 

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

Due to the brutality of this bloody queen 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. 

Priyanka Kaushik

Written by 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.

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