The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary"
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In this groundbreaking new biography of “Bloody Mary,” Linda Porter brings to life a queen best remembered for burning hundreds of Protestant heretics at the stake, but whose passion, will, and sophistication have for centuries been overlooked.
Daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, wife of Philip of Spain, and sister of Edward VI, Mary Tudor was a cultured Renaissance princess. A Latin scholar and outstanding musician, her love of fashion was matched only by her zeal for gambling. It is the tragedy of Queen Mary that today, 450 years after her death, she remains the most hated, least understood monarch in English history.
Linda Porter’s pioneering new biography—based on contemporary documents and drawing from recent scholarship—cuts through the myths to reveal the truth about the first queen to rule England in her own right. Mary learned politics in a hard school, and was cruelly treated by her father and bullied by the strongmen of her brother, Edward VI. An audacious coup brought her to the throne, and she needed all her strong will and courage to keep it. Mary made a grand marriage to Philip of Spain, but her attempts to revitalize England at home and abroad were cut short by her premature death at the age of forty-two. The first popular biography of Mary in thirty years, The First Queen of England offers a fascinating, controversial look at this much-maligned queen.
Protestantism in the capital, there was no outpouring of support for Queen Jane, who was not seen by anyone after her arrival at the Tower on 10 July. As the days went by, the upholders of Mary’s claim became more vocal. On 13 July a tract was printed and distributed in London by one ‘Poor Pratte’ which tells us a great deal about how public opinion could be influenced in the days when no other mass media existed. Pratte wrote his epistle to Gilbert Potter, a drawer (the 16th-century equivalent
thought the physical danger exaggerated. But both had been strong supporters of Northumberland and had joined him on his ill-fated military foray against Mary in July. They received the queen’s clemency, but how far their loyalty to her went was unproven. Both claimed they did not rate Wyatt’s supporters, despite Wyatt’s own undoubted military prowess. Instead, they contented themselves with raising a crack force of 500 foot and 200 horse, of whose loyalty to the queen they could be more certain
21st-century advocates of market forces, but free enterprise was not a concept appreciated by Mary and her government. They thought English domestic prosperity could best be achieved by protecting traditional institutions and industries, and Parliament agreed with them. A conservative approach was typified by the legislation passed by the parliament of 1555; it was cantankerous on matters of religion but its achievements in social and economic legislation were considerable. Local authorities were
fate of their brief union. By late spring Katherine Howard had been dangled in front of Henry and Anne was divorced, after some initial opposition, with a comfortable settlement. Once she was no longer in his bed, Henry seems to have got on rather well with her. There are varying accounts of whether Anne was happy with her divorce or not, but in view of what happened to her successor, any anger she felt must surely only have been temporary. Mary remained on good terms with Anne of Cleves but her
public. The king was 13 years old and a child no longer. He had had enough of his sister’s disobedience and condescension, her constant references to his being too young to know his own mind. Now she was with him, he decided that she must be made to understand that enough was enough. She must stop protesting and do as she was told. Precisely what he said is not recorded, but the manner of its delivery did more than make Mary wince. It made her cry. She later wrote to the council, clinging to the