Queen Mary I

Queen Mary I


r 1553-8

Famous for burning Protestants

Remembered as ‘Bloody Mary’, the Roman Catholic queen who attempted to reverse the Reformation and return England to Catholicism: around 300 men and women lost their lives for their faith.

Mary I at the palaces

Mary and her Spanish husband, King Philip II, took their honeymoon at Hampton Court Palace in 1554. Mary returned the following year, believing she was pregnant, but no child was born and the couple remained childless until Mary’s death in 1558.

Mary imprisoned her half-sister Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) at the Tower of London in 1554. She suspected her of involvement in a plot against her, led by the traitor Sir Thomas Wyatt.

It soon became clear that there was not enough evidence against Elizabeth, and she was released into house arrest in the country.  

Though known as ‘Bloody Mary’, historians have frequently claimed that Mary I was no more naturally malevolent than her half-siblings Edward VI and Elizabeth I, but as Protestants, English history has been kinder to them.

Certainly, executions for heresy or treason were a common feature of Tudor England. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I sent men and women to the Tower of London for no other reason than for their religious beliefs. Many others were executed.






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