Better late than never. Fortunately, husband’s surgery went well and he is recovering nicely. Wanted to get this one out of the way. Rita Bay
Queen Mary Tudor was born on February 18th, 1516 to the celebration of the English people. Queen Katherine had delivered a child, even if it was a girl—boys were sure to follow. Or so the English people and the King thought. When it was evident that there would be no sons, Henry VIII turned elsewhere. In order to marry his new lady love, Anne Boleyn, it was necessary to annul his marriage to Katherine which entailed demoting the Princess Mary to the Lady Mary. When Anne failed to deliver an heir (except for Elizabeth), she was disposed of also and Elizabeth joined her sister as a bastard. The third marriage to Jane Seymour gave him the son and heir that he craved.
Jane’s young son, Edward, became King in 1547 and died five years later. Henry’s Act of Succession provided that Mary and Elizabeth (still considered illegitimate) would succeed Edward if he had no heirs. Those who governed in Edward’s name did not want to lose power, especially to the Catholic Mary. Hence, the accession of Lady Jane Grey who was forced to marry Guilford Dudley, the son of the Protector. All eventually lost their heads in the failed coup d’etat.
After Mary was crowned Queen in October of 1553, she set about two goals: returning the Catholic Church to its former prominence and finding a husband so that she could have children to prevent the Protestant Elizabeth from inheriting after her. She turned down several proposals but fell in love with a portrait of Prince Phillip of Spain. Philip’s father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles, was Queen Mary’s first cousin but, like most royal marriages, they could secure the appropriate dispensations.
In 1555 the 37-year-old Mary who was in love married the 28-year-old Philip who was willing to do his duty despite the unpopularity of a foreign king. Philip who was already widowed and had an heir did not father a child with Mary although there were two phantom pregnancies. He pulled her into an alliance with Spain in a war against France which resulted in the loss of Calais—England’s last continental possession. By 1558, Phillip’s father abdicated the throne of Spain to him and he departed from England forever, leaving Mary devastated and dying.
During her reign, Mary sought to reinstate the Catholic Church. Against her husband’s advice, Protestant religious leaders were persecuted and almost 300 were burned at the stake for their Protestant faith. When taken with the disapproval over the foreign marriage, Mary’s popularity plummeted. But, worst of all, her health which had never been good was failing. Her false pregnancies complete with lactation could have been symptoms of hormonal disorders related to a pituitary tumor. She died on November 17, 1558, leaving the throne to the Protestant Elizabeth who was waiting in the wings. Next week, we begin wallowing in the Elizabethan period with those magnificent Elizabethans. Rita Bay