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8 Things You Might Not Know about Mary I


1. She had lots of stepmothers.
Born at Greenwich Palace on February 18, 1516 (seven years after the 1509 marriage of her parents, King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon,) Mary was their only child to survive past infancy. In the 1520s, Henry, unhappy his wife hadn’t produced a male heir, decided to end their marriage and wed Anne Boleyn, the sister of one of his former mistresses. In 1527, Henry, a Catholic, sought an annulment from the pope, on the grounds his union with Catherine was incestuous and unlawful since she’d previously been married to his deceased older brother. When the pope refused to grant the annulment, the king broke with Rome, tied the knot with Anne in 1533 and became head of the Church of England. The king grew tired of his second wife and in 1536 had her beheaded after she was convicted of what were likely trumped-up charges of adultery. Henry had four more marriages: his third wife died shortly after giving birth to a son, his fourth marriage ended in annulment, his fifth wife was beheaded and wife No. 6 was still married to the king when he died.

2. Mary’s succession to the throne wasn’t easy.
Following her father’s marriage to Anne Boleyn in 1533, Mary was declared illegitimate and removed from the line of succession to the throne. After Henry had Boleyn executed, the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, also was removed from the line of succession. In 1544, Henry reinstated both daughters to the line of succession behind their half-brother, Edward, born to the king’s third wife in 1537. When Henry died in 1547, Edward became king. During the young monarch’s reign, Protestantism was established in England and Edward’s relationship with his Catholic sibling Mary was strained. In 1553, the teenage Edward became seriously ill and, not wanting Mary to claim the throne and restore Catholicism across the land once he died, he had her (as well as Elizabeth) removed from the line of succession. One of Edward’s advisors, the duke of Northumberland, is thought to have urged him to arrange for the throne to pass to the king’s Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey. When Edward died later that same year, Jane was proclaimed queen of England. Northumberland, Jane’s father-in-law, set out with forces to capture Mary, but before he could do so she raised her own army and rallied other supporters, prompting the royal government to switch its allegiance from Jane and declare Mary the legitimate queen. Jane, who had reigned for just nine days, was imprisoned in the Tower of London and Northumberland was executed.

3. Mary was set to be engaged at age 2.
For royals like Mary, marriage was about dynasty building and diplomatic relations rather than love. When she was just 2, Mary was set to be engaged to the son of the king of France, although the arrangement was terminated several years later and the young princess was betrothed to her cousin, Emperor Charles V, who was 16 years older. That engagement eventually ended as well. However, after Mary became queen, she was engaged to Charles V’s son, Prince Philip of Spain. More than a decade younger than Mary, Philip, also a Catholic, came to England to meet her for the first time in 1554 and the pair tied the knot two days later at Winchester Castle. After Charles stepped down as the king of Spain in 1556, Philip succeeded him and later became king of Portugal as well.

4. Her marriage plans sparked an uprising.
In 1554, a group of Englishmen, attempted to overthrow Mary, fearing foreign domination if Mary wed Spain’s Prince Philip and anxious about the monarch’s restoration of Catholicism. Referred to by historians as the Wyatt Rebellion, for one of the conspirators, Sir Thomas Wyatt, the uprising quickly failed. Afterward, around 100 people involved in the action were executed. Although Lady Jane Grey, the so-called Nine-Day Queen, had not been involved in the plot, her father was, and Jane subsequently was beheaded. Additionally, Mary’s sister, Elizabeth, was imprisoned in the Tower of London for several months and later placed under house arrest for a year, although there was no conclusive evidence she had any role in the rebellion either.

5. She had a false pregnancy.
Shortly after Mary wed at age 37, the queen and her doctors believed she was pregnant. She experienced morning sickness, her abdomen expanded and she reportedly felt the baby move. An official announcement was made that the queen was expecting and as the anticipated delivery drew near Mary retreated from public view for her lying-in period. Sometime afterward, word spread that Mary had given birth to a son and her subjects started celebrating. However, the news turned out to be only a rumor. More time passed, but a royal infant never appeared and eventually it became apparent one never would. Although it’s unclear exactly what happened, some medical experts now suggest the monarch might’ve suffered from pseudocyesis, a rare condition in which a woman has many of the symptoms of pregnancy (and in some cases even experiences labor pain) but isn’t in fact carrying a child.
Several years after her false pregnancy, Mary once again incorrectly thought she was expecting. She ultimately died childless.

6. She had hundreds of people burned at the stake—earning her the nickname “Bloody Mary.”
Once in power, Mary worked to return England to Catholicism, restoring papal authority and undoing various reforms to the English church that had taken place under her half-brother Edward. She also resurrected the laws against heresy, and as a result nearly 300 Protestants were burned at the stake. Among those killed were Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury and an advisor to kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Mary’s father and brother. Cranmer had declared the marriage of Mary’s parents unlawful so Henry could wed Anne Boleyn, and during the reign of Edward the archbishop promoted Protestantism. In the end, Mary’s goal of a Catholic England failed, as her successor, Queen Elizabeth I, took the nation back to Protestantism.

7. Mary lost England’s last territory in France.
The queen was dealt a blow in 1558 when the French captured Calais, a port town referred to as “the brightest jewel in the English crown.” A gateway for trade, Calais had been under English control since the 14th century. Upon learning the news that England had lost its last possession in France, Mary is alleged to have responded: “When I am dead and opened, you shall find Philip and Calais lying in my heart.”

8. She was overshadowed by her younger sister.
Mary’s five-year reign ended when she died during an influenza epidemic in 1558 at age 42 at St. James’s Palace in London. She was succeeded by her younger sister, Elizabeth, who ruled until her death in 1603. Elizabeth’s successor, James I, commanded that her coffin be placed on top of Mary’s in a vault at Westminster Abbey and had a large monument to Elizabeth erected at the site, while Mary only warranted a mention in an inscription on the monument. The gesture was symbolic of how Mary, the first English queen to rule in her own right, was overshadowed by Elizabeth, whose long reign is considered one of the greatest in the nation’s history. The Elizabethan era included voyages of discovery by such explorers as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and a flourishing of the arts, with Shakespeare producing a number of works during this period.


Witchy weirdness: 8 historical ways to spot a witch

Everyone knows what a witch looks like – tall pointed hat, hooked nose, long chin, not to mention the obligatory broomstick. It should be easy to spot one a mile off! The only problem is that witches, throughout history, looked very much like anyone else. Luckily, there were several sure-fire ways of identifying whether Mr or Mrs Jones down the road was secretly doing you harm.

Sink or Swim

The most well-known method of identifying a witch was the swimming test. The suspected witch was thrown into the pond or stream with a rope around his or her middle if they sank, they were innocent, if they floated, they were guilty, the water rejecting the wickedness of the witch.

Long-since practiced on the Continent, the first case of swimming a witch in England was in 1612 in Bedfordshire, when Mary Sutton was thrown into the water by one Master Enger after he accused her of killing his livestock. Mary sank a little before floating, but upon being returned to the water for a second time, she was said to have whirled around like a whirlpool, refusing to sink even when the rope was tossed up and down by those holding it, thus confirming her guilt. Both Mary and her mother were hanged on 7th April, 1612.

Mark of the Devil

When entering into a compact with the Devil he was believed to mark the witch as his own, either by a claw or branding iron. The mark could be anywhere on the body, but was often concealed, such as under eyelids, armpits or within the cavities of the body itself. Any discolouration or distortion of the skin, such as birthmarks, moles or scars were suspect. A Devil’s mark was easy to identify as when pricked or, more accurately, stabbed, with a needle or pin, they would not bleed.

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1649, the magistrates called in a notorious pricker from Scotland, with the promise of twenty shillings per proven witch. Thirty women were duly rounded up, and one by one declared to be guilty. One however was saved by a Colonel Hobson upon witnessing one “personable and good-like woman” fail the pricking test, he insisted on her being tried again after her terror had diminished somewhat. The needle was again duly inserted into her thigh, and this time the area bled profusely, losing the pricker his twenty shillings in that case at least.

Familiar Spirits

It was important to take note of any animals that were often in a suspected witch’s presence, as they might not be what they seemed. These “familiars”, as they were known, were used by a witch to assist in their evil doing. Toads, cats and hares were common choices, with snakes and black dogs also reported. A familiar could also be of human form, and were often classed as demons sent by the devil.

In 16th century Essex, Agnes Waterhouse went to the gallows for urging her cat, Satan, to kill her neighbour’s hogs and cow, and to ruin the beer and butter in exchange for a drop of blood and some milk. A young girl also insisted she had seen a demon in the form of a black dog that was sent by Waterhouse, a fact supported by the accused’s own daughter. Waterhouse was the first witch hanged in England on 29th July, 1566 at Chelmsford.

Being polite to a suspected witch was recommended those who did not often found themselves the mercy of ill-events after an altercation that they could not otherwise explain. Pets and livestock could suffer, beer and butter fail, children become ill, and that was often only the start of it if you were unlucky enough to fall victim to a witch’s maleficium, or malevolent magic. Not constrained by earthly boundaries, the witch often appeared in the bedrooms of her victims, continuing her tormenting ways.

In 1665, Rose Cullender and Amy Duny from Lowestoft were arrested on the pretext of causing illness in seven children, including making the daughters of Samuel Pacy vomit pins. They were executed a few days after being found guilty.

Devil’s Teat

Not to be confused with the Devil’s Mark, the teat was a natural physical abnormality on the witch’s body that was used to suckle the familiar or imp that the devil sent to aid the witch. An extra breast or nipple or even a fold of flesh could be suspect.

The infamous Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, refused to be swayed by explanations of haemorrhoids or scarring from childbirth to account for the extra tissue. He insisted that in most cases the teat was actually found in a contrary area, making such excuses irrelevant.

The Lord’s Prayer

One thing everyone was expected to be able to do was recite the Lord’s Prayer. Due to their inherent wickedness, however, a witch would not be able to do so, nor recite scripture, a sure sign of being in league with the Devil.

Jane Wenham failed this test despite several attempts in 1712, and was found guilty by the jury and sentenced to death. The presiding judge, Sir John Powell, was sympathetic towards Wenham however at his intervention she was granted a reprieve and finally a royal pardon after a fierce and furious pamphlet war between those for and against the accused. Wenham lived out her days under the protection of Earl Cowper, dying of natural causes in 1729.

The Weighing Test

Weighing a witch against the bible was another indication of guilt a witch was considered soul-less and therefore weighed less than a person who had not signed their soul away to the devil. If the suspect was weighed and found to be lighter than the book, guilt was established, but if they were heavier then the soul remained and they were not a witch.

In Salem, Massachusets, a suspected witch was weighed against a metal bound bible. In Oudewater in Holland, the weighing house became famous during the 16th century when those accused of witchcraft travelled from as far away as Germany and Hungary in order to prove their innocence. They would stand on one side as they were interrogated, after which cast iron weights were put on the other side. Those who were cleared received a certificate to prove the fact. The scales are still there today and draw in a great tourist trade.

Crocodile Tears

It was a well-established fact that a witch could not cry real tears. The reason for this was simple the devil would help the accused to not feel pain in torture, and also the belief that a witch was not fully human and thus incapable of the usual run of human emotions. In the Maleus Mallificarum, inquisitors are cautioned against the wily ways of witches to produce fake tears upon their faces using her own spittle, and should be watched carefully to prevent this happening.

8 historical ways to spot a witch, all of which are sure to help you protect yourself from any potential harm (especially if you manage to get your hands on a time machine). Which of these do you think is the most interesting? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check here for more witchy weirdness!

Willow C Winsham can be found blogging about The Witch, The Weird, and The Wonderful at winsham.blogspot.com and on Twitter. When not running around after two small children and crocheting a never-ending blanket, she also spends her time researching local “witches” and working on her novel.


Portrait of Mary Tudor, Queen of England, from 1554. Credit: GL Archive/Alamy

1. Our first queen regnant

Mary was the first crowned queen to rule England, from 1553 to 1558, in her own right rather than through marriage to a king, she created the precedent, enshrined in law in 1554, that the powers of the monarchy were the same for a queen as a king.

2. Illegitimate

Aged 17, Mary was declared illegitimate and removed from the succession and sent from court after her father King Henry VIII, in his quest for a male heir, divorced her mother Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn.

Portrait of the young Mary I of England, ca 1521-1525. Credit: Heritage Image Partnership Ltd/Alamy

3. Truculent

She reacted truculently when expected to kowtow to Henry and Anne’s new baby daughter, Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I), in the nursery of the royal palace at Hatfield, and refused to renounce her Catholic faith.

4. Restored

In 1544 Mary was restored to the line of succession (although she remained illegitimate) after her father married his sixth wife Catherine Parr in 1543 who, to her credit, reunited the king and his three children in something approaching family harmony.

5. Removed

Then fortunes changed again when her nine-year-old half-brother, King Edward VI, ascended the throne in 1547. He removed her from the succession and, when he died in 1553, his Protestant cousin Lady Jane Grey was nominated queen instead.

6. Crowned

Mary rallied forces at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk and the rebels behind ‘Nine Days Queen’ Lady Jane’s ill-judged coup backed down. When Mary rode into London, bells pealed and crowds cheered. Her Tudor inheritance had been upheld and she was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 1 October 1553.

A portrait of Mary I’s future husband and heir to the throne of Spain, Philip II in Armour, painted by Titian in 1551 Credit: Museo del Prado/Wikipedia

7. Marriage

Mary’s marriage to Philip, heir to the Spanish throne, in July 1554, got off to a good start, despite him being 11 years Mary’s junior. But, while she loved with her husband, Mary refused him a coronation and funds from the English purse. Philip, somewhat annoyed, spent much time on the Continent, leaving his heartbroken queen behind. The marriage remained childless.

8. Burned

Mary restored papal supremacy in England and revived old heresy laws. So began the terror that saw nearly 300 people being burned at the stake between February 1555 and November 1558.

9. Unpopular

Mary became even more unpopular when her Philip, King of Spain from 1556, dragged England into war against the French, resulting in the loss of Calais in 1558 – England’s last possession in France. Mary lamented, “When I am dead, you will find Philip and Calais engraved upon my heart.”

10. Despair

Dogged by ill health and despair, she passed away later that year at St James’s Palace. She was just 42.


8 Fun facts About Frankenstein&rsquos Author, Mary Shelley

1. Mary Shelley published Frankenstein in 1818 when she was just 21 years old.

In fact, Mary Shelley wrote her most iconic piece of literature when she was just 18 years old ! When the novel was first published, there were many reviews bashing the premise of the story with one review by John Wilson Croker , in 1818, stating that the novel &ldquoinculcates no lesson of conduct, manners, or morality it cannot mend, and will not even amuse its readers, unless their taste have been deplorably vitiated&hellip&rdquo

But, despite being critiqued by some reviewers, at the time, Frankenstein became a hit among readers who loved the gothic tale that quickly became a classic piece of literature.

2. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein for a ghost story challenge during &ldquothe year without summer.&rdquo

During the summer of 1816, the weather was abysmal and Percey Shelley and Mary Godwin (at the time) traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for the season. There, Percy, Mary, their son, William, and Mary&rsquos stepsister, Claire, happened upon Lord Bryon, who was traveling with John Polidori, his physician at the time. According to the British Library , they spent dark and gloomy summer days together discussing personal philosophies and how life is created.

Then, one day, Lord Bryon suggested that they all write ghost stories to share with one another. In the author&rsquos introduction of Frankenstein , Mary Shelley wrote,

&ldquoI busied myself to think of a story &hellipOne which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror&mdashone to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.&rdquo

Through the influence of the ghost story competition and the somber setting of their summer, Mary Shelley was inspired to create her most iconic horror story that would be retold generations later.

3. Mary Shelley&rsquos inspiration for Frankenstein came from a nightmare.

Stuck together with nothing to do other than reading poetry and musing ideas with one another in their summer villa, Mary Shelley had a nightmare during one dreary night. She wrote in her author&rsquos introduction that she dreamed of what would become Victor Frankenstein, &ldquoHe sleeps but he is awakened he opens his eyes behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.&rdquo

Once she awoke, Mary Shelley felt compelled to write more of this story by telling her readers, &ldquoI have found it! What terrified me will terrify others and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.&rdquo

4. Frankenstein is considered one of the first early examples of science fiction.

After Frankenstein was published and readers began flocking to read the gothic horror novel centered around a scientist who creates new life through the use of galvanism, people throughout history have considered Mary Shelley to be the creator of science fiction.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Frankenstein is &ldquothe best-known fiction of the Romantic era&rdquo and is one of the earliest examples of science fiction in the history of storytelling, a topic that is up for debate by many readers throughout centuries.

5. Mary Shelley originally published Frankenstein anonymously.

When Frankenstein was first published, Mary Shelley did not attach her name to the story, and so the novel was considered anonymously written. Because of this, readers began to wonder if Percy Shelley had actually penned Frankenstein because he wrote the introduction to the story, according to Biography .

The Seattle Times reported that Frankenstein was actually republished twice: once in 1823 when Mary Shelley was finally attributed as the author of the work, and another time in 1831. The most horrific thing of all? &ldquoMary Shelley never earned royalties from [ Frankenstein ].&rdquo

6. It&rsquos rumored that Mary Shelley kept the calcified heart of Percy Shelley.

One of the more gothic facts about the creator of Frankenstein is that, when her husband died by drowning at a young age, his body was cremated, but one thing stayed put. His heart which had calcified and refused to burn, stated The New York Times . So, like the goth queen Mary Shelley is, she kept her late husband&rsquos heart with her at all times until her passing where it was found on her writing desk beside her last work in progress, said Mental Floss .

If that isn&rsquot the most goth thing you&rsquove read, then I don&rsquot know what will be.

7. Mary Shelley&rsquos mother was a feminist, which influenced her writing.

While Mary Shelley was not able to get to know her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, who died postpartum, it is important to note the great influence her mother had. Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer, advocate for women&rsquos rights, and a philosopher who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman calling for women to get a fair education in order to rise in society.

While these two influential women&mdashin their own right&mdashmay not have been able to share a life together, it&rsquos clear that Mary Shelley came from an intellectual family unafraid of breaking down the boundaries of society. This may have influenced her to write Frankenstein at a time when women were shamed for writing about the darker sides of life.

8. Mary Shelley wrote more than just Frankenstein.

While she is known for penning the infamous Frankenstein, Mary Shelley wrote more novels throughout her career that readers may not know about. In 1823, Mary Shelley published Valperga, a historical fiction novel following Castruccio Castracani, who invades a fictitious land run by Euthanasia. Throughout the story, Castruccio makes Euthanasia choose between her love for him or her love for her land, Valperga, a storyline much different from that of Frankenstein .

She also wrote The Last Man in 1826, an apocalyptic science fiction novel exploring a world that is doomed with a plague wiping the population. Another novel she wrote was Lodore in 1835, a novel centered around women&rsquos roles in society and in families, which is much different from her other works.

So, those are some fun facts about Mary Shelley, our goth queen of writing. Have you read any of Mary Shelley&rsquos works, and if so, which are your favorites?


Mary, or Virgin Mary, is one of the most controversial woman in the history of religion. According to the New Testament Mary is the mother of Jesus. She was an ordinary Jewish woman of Nazareth, and she was impregnated by God in a sinless way. Protestants believe she was not sinless, while Catholics and Orthodox Christians honor her virginity. She is known also as Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary and Virgin Mary. Here are some interesting facts you need to know about the woman.

What we know about Mary?

We know almost everything Mary-related from the New Testament. The only people in the New Testament that are mentioned more are Jesus, Peter, Paul and John. People that have read the New Testament know her husband Joseph, her relatives Zechariah and Elizabeth. We also know Magnificat, the song she sang. The Holy Book also states she traveled from Galilee to the hill country and to Bethlehem. We know that she and her husband visited the temple where baby boy Jesus was dedicated when Jesus was 12 years old. She walked from Nazareth to Capernaum carrying her children with her to visit Jesus. And we know she was at the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Mary – The woman with Courage and Strategy

In Western Christian art, Mary is most often portrayed as a pious person. However, Mary of the Gospels is a completely different person. Mary tried to protect Jesus from getting in trouble, and she took charge when found out what was going to happen to Jesus. She was the one constantly pushing and pressing Jesus to provide wine, and she approached him when Jesus was left behind at the temple.

The Immaculate Conception Myth

One of the most controversial theories surrounding Mary is the Immaculate Conception. According to the New Testament, the conception does not refer to her sexual condition when she gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ. The belief among Catholics is that she became pregnant by a miracle, not by a sexual intercourse. That way, she is believed to be sinless, which makes her a suitable mother for the Son of God. The belief is that she was immaculated by an act of God.

Mary and her Virginity

Whether Mary is sinless and her virginity are the two key areas of conflict among believers. According to Protestants, for example, only Jesus was sinless. Protestants also believe that Mary had other children with her husband Joseph in the normal manner, before she gave birth to Jesus. Catholic tradition, on the other hand, teaches that she was sinless and she was perpetually virgin. The conflict can never be settled, as there is no proof of her sinlessness in the Bible. The sinless aspect of Mary is a matter of church tradition. However, her virginity can be proved by Matthew’s Gospel. In it, Matthew writes “Joseph had no marital relations with her until she had born a son”.

Both Protestants and Catholics are Right

When it comes to Mary, Protestants believe that Catholics overdo it with her. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that Protestants ignore Mary. And in an interesting way, both are right. Some Catholics emphasize Mary in a way that one can think of her as a divine person, which for Protestants is wrong, since they believe it is taking glory from Jesus. Protestants base their beliefs of Jesus, Mary and everything religion related only on the Bible, while Catholics base their beliefs on the bible and the tradition by the Roman Catholic Church.

Mary and the Qur’an

The Qur’an, or the Holy Book of Islam honors Mary in more ways than the Bible. She is honored as the only woman in the book that has a whole chapter titled after her. The chapter “Maryam” refers to Virgin Mary, where she is singularly distinguished. What is even more interesting, Mary is mentioned more times in the Qur’an than in the New Testament.

Mary’s Concern for Economic Justice

In a letter to James, Mary shows and echoes her concern for economic justice. In the letter, she writes “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world”. The letter shows that Mary knew poverty and believed that religion should take care of people in need.

Mary’s Death

There is no word in the bible of Mary’s death. With that being said, everything we know or don’t know about her death, comes from apocryphal narratives. There are many stories flourishing, but many stick to the same story, describing her last days, her funeral, burial and resurrection. In almost all of the stories, Mary has been resurrected by Jesus and welcomed into heaven. One of the most popular versions describing Mary’s death is the early story by bishop John of Thessalonica. In the story, an Angel tells Mary that she will die in three days. She then summons relatives and friends to stay with her for two nights, and they sing instead of mourning. Three days after the funeral, same as with Jesus, the apostles opened her sarcophagus, only to found that she was taken away by Christ.


Early life

The daughter of King Henry VIII and the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon, Mary as a child was a pawn in England’s bitter rivalry with more powerful nations, being fruitlessly proposed in marriage to this or that potentate desired as an ally. A studious and bright girl, she was educated by her mother and a governess of ducal rank.

Betrothed at last to the Holy Roman emperor, her cousin Charles V (Charles I of Spain), Mary was commanded by him to come to Spain with a huge cash dowry. This demand ignored, he presently jilted her and concluded a more advantageous match. In 1525 she was named princess of Wales by her father, although the lack of official documents suggests she was never formally invested. She then held court at Ludlow Castle while new betrothal plans were made. Mary’s life was radically disrupted, however, by her father’s new marriage to Anne Boleyn.

As early as the 1520s Henry had planned to divorce Catherine in order to marry Anne, claiming that, since Catherine had been his deceased brother’s wife, her union with Henry was incestuous. The pope, however, refused to recognize Henry’s right to divorce Catherine, even after the divorce was legalized in England. In 1534 Henry broke with Rome and established the Church of England. The allegation of incest in effect made Mary illegitimate. Anne, the new queen, bore the king a daughter, Elizabeth (the future queen), forbade Mary access to her parents, stripped her of her title of princess, and forced her to act as lady-in-waiting to the infant Elizabeth. Mary never saw her mother again—though, despite great danger, they corresponded secretly. Anne’s hatred pursued Mary so relentlessly that Mary feared execution, but, having her mother’s courage and all her father’s stubbornness, she would not admit to the illegitimacy of her birth. Nor would she enter a convent when ordered to do so.

After Anne fell under Henry’s displeasure, he offered to pardon Mary if she would acknowledge him as head of the Church of England and admit the “incestuous illegality” of his marriage to her mother. She refused to do so until her cousin, the emperor Charles, persuaded her to give in, an action she was to regret deeply. Henry was now reconciled to her and gave her a household befitting her position and again made plans for her betrothal. She became godmother to Prince Edward, Henry’s son by Jane Seymour, the third queen.

Mary was now the most important European princess. Although plain, she was a popular figure, with a fine contralto singing voice and great linguistic ability. She was, however, not able to free herself of the epithet of bastard, and her movements were severely restricted. Husband after husband proposed for her failed to reach the altar. When Henry married Catherine Howard, however, Mary was granted permission to return to court, and in 1544, although still considered illegitimate, she was granted succession to the throne after Edward and any other legitimate children who might be born to Henry.

Edward VI succeeded his father in 1547 and, swayed by religious fervour and overzealous advisers, made English rather than Latin compulsory for church services. Mary, however, continued to celebrate mass in the old form in her private chapel and was once again in danger of losing her head.


Mary I: 8 facts about her life, death and legacy

Mary I, aka Mary Tudor or 'Bloody Mary', was the daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The first queen regnant of England, she succeeded the English throne following the death of her half-brother, Edward VI, in 1553. But how much do you know about her? From her phantom pregnancy to her military accomplishments, we bring you the facts about her reign

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Published: February 18, 2021 at 7:11 am

We bring you eight facts about the Tudor monarch Mary I, the first queen regnant of England…

Mary I was declared illegitimate by her father, Henry VIII

The only surviving child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary I was effectively bastardised when her father divorced her mother in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII claimed that the marriage had been incestuous and illegal, as Catherine had been married to his late brother, Arthur.

Following the birth of Mary’s half-sister, Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I), in September 1533, an Act of Parliament declared the 17-year-old Mary illegitimate and removed her from the succession to the throne (though she was reinstated by the 1543 Third Act of Succession and by Henry’s will). Mary was denied access to her mother, who had been sent by Henry to live away from court, and never saw her again.

Mary I remained a devout Catholic

Mary was later named heir to the throne after her younger half-brother Edward – but only after she had agreed to recognise their father as head of the church. Nevertheless, Mary remained a devout Catholic. She and her brother had a tempestuous relationship as they differed greatly in their religious views. When, aged nine, Edward VI inherited the throne in 1547 and confronted Mary’s Catholicism, she declared that she would rather lay her head on a block than forsake her faith.

Mary was the orchestrator of an extraordinary coup d’état

The first queen to rule England in her own right (rather than a queen through marriage to a king), Mary acceded the throne following her brother’s death in July 1553 in what Anna Whitelock describes as “an extraordinary coup d’état”. Edward had written Mary out of the succession and instead named his Protestant cousin Lady Jane Grey as heir to the throne, but Mary enjoyed widespread popular support and days later, on 19 July, she was proclaimed queen.

Writing for BBC History Magazine in December 2014, Anna Whitelock argued: “The scale of [Mary’s] achievement is often overlooked. Mary had led the only successful revolt against central government in 16th-century England. She had eluded capture, mobilised a counter-coup and, in the moment of crisis, proved courageous, decisive and politically adept.”

Mary I is remembered as a bloody queen

Mary I is remembered for attempting to reverse the Reformation and return England to Catholicism. As her reign progressed, Mary “grew more and more fervent in her desire”: she restored papal supremacy, abandoned the title of Supreme Head of the Church and reintroduced Roman Catholic bishops.

Mary also famously revived old heresy laws to secure the religious conversion of the country – heresy being a treasonable offence. Over the next three-and-a-half years, hundreds of Protestants – most accounts say around 300 – were burned at the stake.

Mary I suffered a ‘phantom pregnancy’

Aged 37 and unmarried when she ascended the throne, Mary knew that in order to prevent her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth from succeeding her, she needed to marry and produce an heir. Mary’s decision in July 1554 to marry Philip of Spain, who in 1556 was to inherit that nation’s throne from his father, Charles V, was “politically expedient”, says Anna Whitelock.

In her December 2014 article written for BBC History Magazine, Whitelock wrote: “The marriage treaty was as ‘favourable as possible for the interest and security and even the grandeur of England’, with Mary’s legal rights as queen preserved and Spanish influence kept to a minimum.”

In January 1554 Mary faced – and later defeated – a Protestant rebellion led by landowner Thomas Wyatt that aimed to prevent the match with Philip. Wyatt was later executed at Tower Hill. Mary imprisoned her half-sister Elizabeth at the Tower of London in 1554, suspecting her of involvement in Wyatt’s plot against her. Elizabeth was later released into house arrest in the country.

A peculiar episode in Mary’s reign was her phantom pregnancy of 1555. On 30 April “bells rang, bonfires were lit and there were celebrations in the street, following news that Mary I had given birth to a healthy son. But in reality there was no boy, and eventually all hope of a child died out.” The marriage was childless and Philip eventually deserted Mary, spending most of his time in Europe.

Mary I was a highly impressive queen

Historians have long focused on the negative aspects of Mary’s five-year reign, branding her a religious bigot and a military failure, but in recent years Mary has been largely reappraised.

Anna Whitelock says: “Mary’s accession had changed the rules of the game, and the nature of this new feminised politics was yet to be defined, yet in many respects Mary proved more than equal to the task. Decisions over the details of the practice and power of a queen regnant became precedents for the future. In April 1554 Mary’s parliament passed the Act for Regal Power, which enshrined in law that queens held power as ‘fully, wholly and absolutely’ as their male predecessors, thereby establishing the gender-free authority of the crown.”

Mary also restructured the economy and reorganised the militia, rebuilt the navy and successfully managed her parliament. By securing the throne, Mary ensured that the crown continued along the legal line of Tudor succession.

Mary I was not such a military failure

Mary is remembered for her unsuccessful war against France that led to the loss of Calais, England’s last possession in France, in January 1558. But before the loss of Calais, Mary enjoyed military successes. For example, in August 1557 English and Spanish forces captured Saint-Quentin, an action in which some 3,000 French troops were killed and 7,000 captured, including their commander Anne de Montmorency, the constable of France.

Mary I is buried in Westminster Abbey

Mary died on 17 November 1558, possibly from cancer, leaving the crown to her half-sister Elizabeth. Mary is buried beneath Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey. King James I arranged for Elizabeth I to be dug up from elsewhere in the abbey three years after her death and moved into Mary’s grave.

This article was first published by HistoryExtra in February 2016


If You’re Adopted

If you were adopted, you may not know anything about your birth parents’ health history. If that’s the case, a big chunk of your medical history is a question mark. You may wonder if you’re at risk for heart disease, cancer, or other diseases that run in families.

Rules vary by state, but most adopted people are able to access details about their birth parents’ family medical history once they become adults. Such information may be found through a state’s child welfare agency or the department that assists with adoptions.


Mary I

Mary I is also referred to as Mary Tudor or “Bloody Mary”. Mary’s father was Henry VIII and her mother was Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife. She was crowned only after the attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne.

Mary I was queen from 1553 to 1558. When she was crowned queen, she was very popular with the people of England. It was this popularity that helped to quickly overturn the attempt to put Lady Jane Grey onto the throne of England. However this popularity quickly turned sour because of her religious changes and her marriage.

Mary completely reversed the religious changes of Edward. She had been brought up as a strict Roman Catholic and was horrified by her half-brother’s changes.

The Catholic Mass was restored and Holy Communion was banned. All priests had to be Catholic the basic furniture in the Protestant churches was replaced with the colourful furniture and paintings of the Catholic Church. Services were held in Latin and Cranmer’s English prayer book was banned. The pope was made head of the church again.

The majority of the people of England accepted these changes – the Tudor royal family was still respected throughout the country. However, some did not. Some refused to change and they were burned at the stake for heresy. Nearly 300 people died in this way. One was Archbishop Cranmer who had written the banned English prayer book. The treatment of these heretics, and many were ordinary people, did much to make Mary unpopular – hence her nickname “Bloody Mary”.

English people, at this time, feared the power of Spain. To bring the two countries closer together, Mary accepted a marriage proposal from the king of Spain – Philip II. He was also a very strong Catholic. Mary’s advisors and friends warned her not to marry Philip but she went against their advice and married him in 1554. The people of England greatly feared that Philip would control England and this lead to Mary becoming very unpopular with her people.

The marriage was a disaster. Philip spent much of his time in Spain and the two rarely saw one another. They had no children.

When Mary died in 1558, she was a very unhappy person. Her marriage, on which she had placed so much hope, failed and the people of England resented her.


Hunters and fishers have to honour the treaties

Indigenous hunting and fishing rights are treaty rights, contained in the treaties signed between the government of Canada and First Nations leaders and then enshrined in the Constitution in 1982.

In northeastern Ontario, the three main treaties are the Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties of 1850 and Treaty 9 from 1905.

So, an Indigenous person only has the right to hunt and fish in their treaty area and while they are generally understood geographically, there are no firm boundaries.

"There isn't really a physical or geographic boundary somewhere in the bush that says once you walk past this maple tree or jackpine, you're not in Robinson-Superior," says Sudbury-based Indigenous lawyer Martin Bayer.

While many First Nations people make sure to bring their status card when they go hunting or fishing, it doesn't actually prove they have a right to harvest in that area.

"That actually isn't the official document to prove you have a treaty right. And as of yet, there isn't really an official document. Usually the status card is sufficient evidence for a conservation officer not to interfere with a person's right to fish," says Fred Bellefeuille, the legal counsel for the Anishnabek Nation, also known as the Union of Ontario Indians.

"A lot of it depends on the discretion of the conservation officer."

But Indigenous people can hunt outside of their treaty area if they have something called a Shipman letter.

It's named after a court case from the early 2000s when a family from Walpole Island First Nation in southern Ontario was charged for hunting moose near Wawa and found out after the fact that they would have had the permission of the nearby Michipicoten First Nation.

Now, visiting hunters and fishermen can be issued letters by a first nation that act as a license, even laying out what animals they are allowed to harvest and when.


The “Other” Proverbs 31 Woman

The poetic figure found in Proverbs 31 is not the only woman in the Bible to receive the high praise of, “eshet chayil!” or “woman of valor!”

So did Ruth.

Ruth was a destitute foreigner whose daily work involved gathering, threshing, and winnowing wheat. For most of her story, she is neither a wife nor a mother. Circumstantially, her life looked nothing like the life of the woman depicted in Proverbs 31.

Ruth didn’t spend her days making clothes for her husband. She had no husband she was widowed.

Ruth's children didn’t rise up and call her blessed. She was childless.

Ruth didn’t spend her days exchanging fine linens with the merchants and keeping an immaculate home. She worked all day in the sun, gleaning leftovers from other people's fields, which was a provision made for the poorest of the poor in Israel.

And yet guess what Boaz says of Ruth before she gets married, before she has a child, before she becomes a wealthy and influential woman:

“All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11).

The Hebrew that's used there is “eshet chayil" - woman of valor.

Ruth is identified as a woman of valor, not because checked off some Proverbs 31 to-do list by getting married, keeping a clean house and producing children, but because she lived her life with incredible bravery, wisdom, and strength. She lived her life with valor.

So pastors, don’t be afraid of looking to Scripture for examples of strong and capable women. But be careful of focusing on marriage, motherhood, and domesticity, when it is not our roles that define us, but the integrity and bravery we bring to those roles.

You don’t have to turn to Proverbs 31 to find women of valor. You can turn to Sarah, Deborah, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, Martha, the Apostle Junia, Priscilla, Phoebe, and Tabitha too. And you can turn to the women of valor in your life and around the world who are bringing their unique gifts, insights, passions, and callings to bring hope and healing to the world.

That’s what it really means to honor Proverbs 31.

For a much more in-depth look at this passage and others in Wisdom literature, see Bruce Waltke's The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31 and Ellen F. Davis' Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs.


Watch the video: 8 Things You May Not Know About Queen Elizabeth II (December 2021).