Mary I (England)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maria I (Portrait of Anthony Mor , 1554)Mary I Signature.svg

Maria I. ( English Mary I or Mary Tudor ), also Maria Tudor , Maria the Catholic or Maria the Bloody (born February 18, 1516 in Greenwich , †  November 17,  1558 in St James's Palace ), was Queen of 1553 to 1558 England and Ireland and the fourth monarch of the House of Tudor . She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon . When her father had the marriage annulled by the English clergy and Anne Boleyn married, Maria was permanently separated from her mother, declared a royal bastard and excluded from the line of succession . Because of her refusal to recognize Henry as head of the Church of England and herself as an illegitimate daughter, Mary fell from grace for years and only escaped conviction as a traitor through her eventual submission. Heinrich took them back to the throne in 1544, but did not legitimize them.

After the early death of her younger half-brother, King Edward VI. Maria prevailed against her Protestant great niece and rival Jane Gray and was crowned the first Queen of England in her own right, making for the first time in English history a woman exercising the unrestricted rights of a sovereign . Mary's rule was marked by great confessional tensions, as Mary tried to re-establish Catholicism as the state religion. Almost three hundred Protestants were executed under their rule. The posterity therefore, depending on their point of view, referred to her with the nickname "the Catholic" or "the bloody" (English Bloody Mary ). Maria's Protestant half-sister and successor Elizabeth I reversed Maria's religious policy measures.


Early years

Childhood and youth

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, parents of Maria Tudor Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, parents of Maria Tudor
Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon , parents of Maria Tudor

Maria Tudor was born on February 18, 1516 as the fifth child of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon in the Palace of Placentia near Greenwich . She was baptized three days after her birth in the nearby Church of the Observant Friars, held by a close friend of the future Queen Anne, Elizabeth Howard, wife of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk . Her godparents were the influential Cardinal Wolsey and her relatives Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury and Katherine of York . Her namesake was her aunt Mary Tudor .

Unlike the other children of Catherine, Maria survived the first few months of her life. The Venetian ambassador Sebastian Giustiniani congratulated the king “on the birth of his daughter and the well-being of her cheerful mother, the queen”, even if it “would have been even more pleasant if the child had been a son.” Heinrich was not discouraged. “We're both young; if this time it was a daughter, sons will follow by the grace of God. ”The king made no secret of his affection for his daughter and proudly told Giustiniani:“ By God, this child never cries. ”

In the first two years of her life, Maria was cared for by governesses and wet nurses, as was customary for royal children. She was under the supervision of a former lady-in-waiting to the Queen, Lady Margaret Bryan , who was later also responsible for the upbringing of Maria's younger half-siblings Elisabeth and Eduard . From 1520 this role fell to Margaret Pole . Despite her tender age, Maria was already an important part of the marriage market. So far she was the only heiress, but Heinrich continued to hope for a son as heir to the throne. Although England did not exclude women from the line of succession in principle, the rule of the so far only regent Matilda had been marked by unrest and war. A crowned queen in her own right had not existed in England before and the thought raised questions about whether the nobility would accept her, whether she should marry a foreign monarch, and to what extent such a marriage would make England politically dependent. Faced with these problems, Heinrich was reluctant to officially name Maria heir to the throne. Instead, his daughter would marry to strengthen her father's political alliances. At the age of two she was promised to the Dauphin Franz , the son of the French King Franz I. For this purpose, a proxy engagement took place, during which the little princess Guillaume Bonnivet, the Dauphin's deputy, is said to have asked: " Are you the Dauphin? If so, I want to kiss you. ”After three years, however, the connection was broken again.

Maria as the bride of Charles V by Lucas Horenbout , approx. 1521–1525

As early as 1522, Heinrich forged a second marriage alliance with the Treaty of Windsor . Mary's new husband-to-be was her first cousin and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles V . Katharina supported this engagement as much as possible by demonstrating her daughter's skills to the Spanish ambassador in March 1522. He wrote to Charles V full of admiration that Maria possessed the elegance, ability and self-control of a twenty-year-old. From this point on, Maria often wore a brooch that read The Emperour 'the emperor' . Nevertheless, the marriage had to be waived until Maria was twelve, the minimum age for marriage at the time. Maria was only five years old, Karl already twenty-one. This marriage vow also lost its meaning a few years later when Karl married Princess Isabella of Portugal instead .

As a princess, Maria enjoyed a thorough education under the guidance of her tutor Margaret Pole. In addition to her native English, she learned Latin, French and Italian. In addition, the young Maria was trained in music and made acquainted with the sciences by scholars such as Erasmus of Rotterdam . Her mother played a major role in her early upbringing. She regularly checked her studies and succeeded in bringing the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives to the English court. On Katharina's orders, Vives wrote De institutione feminae christianae and De ratione studii puerilis , the first textbooks for future queens. At his suggestion, Maria read the works of Cicero , Plutarch , Seneca and Plato as well as Erasmus' Institutio Principis Christiani and Utopia by Thomas More .

In 1525, the king granted Mary the privilege of her own court in Ludlow Castle in the Welsh Marches , which served as the seat of the Council of Wales and Marches, the center of power for the Principality of Wales and often as the seat of the Prince of Wales , the heir to the throne. So she was treated like an heir to the throne. However, she was not named Princess of Wales, as is usually the case. Her father simultaneously elevated his bastard son Henry Fitzroy to Duke of Richmond and Somerset, heaped royal offices on him, and sent him to the northern borders of the empire like a prince. The king no longer had any hope of a legitimate male heir to the throne. The Queen was extremely angry at Fitzroy’s rising and protested that “no bastard should be raised over a queen’s daughter.” Voices rose that the king might consider making Fitzroy heir to the throne instead of Mary. The king behaved ambiguously and initially made no decision regarding the succession to the throne.

In 1526, at the suggestion of Cardinal Wolsey, the French proposed not to marry the princess to the Dauphin, but to his father, King Francis I of France. Such a connection should result in an alliance between the two countries. Since Franz already had sons from his first marriage, so the proposal, the succession to the throne of England and France would remain separate and, if Heinrich remained without further descendants, Mary's children would inherit the English throne. A new marriage vow was signed, which provided for a marriage between Mary and Francis I or his second son Heinrich , the Duke of Orléans . French ambassadors stayed in England for two weeks, to whom the princess was shown and who were impressed by her. However, they said she was "so thin, delicate and small that it would be impossible to marry her within the next three years".

Loss of succession

From 1527 Henry VIII sought a church declaration to have his marriage with Catherine declared null and void . The king himself claimed that the Bishop of Orleans had asked him whether his marriage to Katharina was valid, since Katharina had previously been married to Heinrich's brother Arthur Tudor . In the event of the nullity of the marriage, Maria would also have been declared illegitimate and would not have been considered an appropriate match for a French prince. Heinrich hoped to marry Katharina's lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn and to have sons with her. Katharina steadfastly refused to agree to Heinrich's plans.

Despite the marital difficulties, Heinrich and Katharina still spent time with their daughter, including in the summer of 1528, at Christmas 1530 and in March 1531. However, it became apparent early on that Anne Boleyn mistrusted Maria. When the King visited Mary in July 1530, Anne Boleyn sent servants with him to find out what he was discussing with his daughter. The Spanish ambassador Eustace Chapuys also told Charles V that the king was considering marrying Maria to Anne's relatives, the Howards.

Although Pope Clement VII strictly refused to declare the marriage null and void, Henry VIII separated from Catherine in July 1531. As a result, he no longer recognized the primacy of the Pope and, with the consent of Parliament, declared himself head of the Catholic Church in England by means of the Supreme Act .

In January 1533 the king married his now pregnant lover Anne Boleyn. Since their child was not to be born illegitimately, Heinrich needed an ecclesiastical decree on the nullity of his first marriage. The Archbishop of Canterbury , Thomas Cranmer , declared the marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to be invalid after a hearing on May 23. This declaration was supposed to make Maria the implacable enemy of Cranmer.

After his first marriage was declared null and void, Heinrich forbade Maria and Katharina any contact with one another. Nonetheless, the two continued to secretly write letters to each other, conveyed by loyal servants or by Chapuys. In these letters, Catherine swore her daughter to be obedient to the king in everything as long as she did not sin against God and her own conscience. At the end of April, Maria first found out about Heinrich's second marriage. After Anne Boleyn was crowned the new Queen of England in May, Henry VIII no longer recognized Catherine as Queen and ordered Mary to surrender her jewels. Chapuys also heard Anne Boleyn publicly boast that she would make Maria her servant.

When Anne Boleyn gave birth to a girl, Elisabeth, instead of the expected boy in September, Heinrich no longer recognized Maria as a legitimate daughter. As a result, she lost her status as heir to the throne and, as the illegitimate daughter of the king, only bore the title of lady. However, Maria refused to grant her half-sister the title that was rightfully her own. Like her mother and the Roman Catholic Church, she regarded the marriage between Katharina and Heinrich as validly concluded and therefore regarded herself as the legitimate daughter of Heinrich. "If I agreed otherwise, I insulted God," she declared, calling herself "your obedient daughter in all other things."

As long as Katharina and Maria opposed him, Heinrich saw no way of convincing the conservative nobility and the royal families of Europe of the legality of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Because of this, he now cracked down on his daughter. He dissolved her household and sent her to Hatfield to the household of her newborn half-sister, to whom she was to serve as lady-in-waiting. Maria was now directly subordinate to Lady Shelton, an aunt of Anne Boleyn, and was separated from her old friends. Fearing possibly that her friends would reinforce Maria, Heinrich did everything possible to isolate his daughter. Mary and the population ascribed this treatment to the influence of the unpopular Queen Anne. Anne Boleyn has proven to give Lady Shelton the task of treating Maria severely and slapping her should she dare to call herself a princess. According to Chapuys, Maria also lived in the worst room in the whole house.

The bad treatment of the former princess by the king and queen brought Maria sympathy among ordinary people, who continued to see her as the legitimate heir to the throne. They cheered Mary whenever they saw her, and in Yorkshire a young girl named Mary posed for the princess, claiming that her aunt Mary Tudor had foretold that at some point in her life she would go begging would have to. Even members of the conservative nobility continued to be friendly to Mary, such as Nicholas Carew , Sir Francis Bryan, and King Henry Courtenay's cousin , 1st Marquess of Exeter . Nevertheless, even they could not prevent Heinrich from having parliament pass the First Act of Succession on March 23, 1534 , which recognized only Anne Boleyn's descendants as legitimate heirs to the throne and prohibited all attempts to reinstate Maria in the line of succession on the penalty of death. Those who refused to take the oath on this act were executed as traitors, such as Bishop John Fisher and former Lord Chancellor Thomas More .

Handwritten version of the oath on the Act of Succession

Maria steadfastly refused to take the oath on the act and was stubborn whenever she was asked to give way to her half-sister. As a result, her fear of poison attack on her life grew. During this time Chapuys became her closest friend and confidante, and she asked him several times to convince Charles V to come to her aid. In 1535 there were therefore several plans to smuggle them out of England, but they fizzled out.

Although Heinrich was determined to break the defiance of his daughter, it was found now and then that he still felt affection for Maria. When the French ambassador praised her skills, tears came to the king's eyes. He sent her his personal physician, William Butts, when she fell ill, and also allowed Katharina's doctor and pharmacist to examine his daughter. Katharina finally died in January 1536 without seeing her daughter again. Since her heart was discolored black during her autopsy, many, including Maria, believed that Katharina had been poisoned.

Anne Boleyn, who had not been able to secure her status by giving birth to a male heir to the throne, saw Maria as a real threat. Increasingly desperate, she said of Maria: “She is my death and I am hers.” After Katharina's death, Maria felt more insecure than ever before, since Heinrich, according to the law of the time, might end the conjugal life with Katharina if a marriage with Anne were invalid should have resumed. Several times, Anne Maria offered to mediate between her and her father if Maria would only recognize her as queen. However, Maria refused to accept anyone other than her mother as queen. When Anne realized she was pregnant again, she felt safe again. As soon as her son was born, the Queen said, she would know what would happen to Maria. However, she suffered a miscarriage on the same day that Katharina was buried.

When Anne Boleyn also lost the king's favor in 1536 and was executed for alleged adultery, Maria hoped that her situation would improve. Jane Seymour , the new woman in Heinrich's life, had previously assured her that she would do her best. Encouraged by this, Mary wrote to the king and congratulated him on his new marriage; Heinrich did not answer, however. Until Mary recognized him as head of the Church of England and recognized herself as illegitimate, he refused to treat her as his daughter. Maria's half-sister Elisabeth felt the same way as she did a few years earlier: She lost her place in the line of succession and was downgraded to lady. This made it clear that Maria's difficult position had been brought about primarily by her father and not by Queen Anne alone.

Reconciliation with Henry VIII

In order to regain the favor of Henry VIII, Maria was ready to make concessions. She vowed to serve the king faithfully, "right after God," but refused to take the oath on him as head of the Church of England. She saw the Protestant faith as an iconoclasm and as an expropriation of the church, whose possessions went into the pockets of the opportunist nobility. An exchange of letters ensued between her and Minister Thomas Cromwell , in which Maria on the one hand asked him to mediate in the conflict with her father, on the other hand insisted that she could not make any further concessions. Secret letters from her mother encouraged her not to make decisions on the basis of political necessity, but to regard God and her conscience as the highest authority. In the conflict with her father, she repeatedly stated that “my conscience does not allow me to agree”. Heinrich, however, was unwilling to accept a conditional surrender and increased the pressure on Maria's friends at court. So was u. a. Francis Bryan interrogates whether he planned to reinstate Mary to the throne and Henry Courtenay lost his post as gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Maria was also told that if she continued to resist, she would be arrested and sentenced as a traitor.

Cromwell, angry with Maria and under pressure from Heinrich, told Maria that if she did not give in, she would lose his support forever. He annoyedly called her "the most stubborn, stubborn woman who has ever existed". Chapuy's and Maria's friends implored them to submit to the king. Finally Maria gave in. On June 22, 1536, she signed a document prepared by Cromwell, Lady Mary's Submission , ' Lady Mary's Submission ' , accepting the invalidity of her parents' marriage and her status as an illegitimate daughter, and recognizing the King as head of the Church. With that she had saved her life and that of her friends, but at the same time everything she and her mother had fought for was ruined. She secretly instructed Chapuys to get her a papal absolution. Chapuys wrote worriedly to Charles V: "This affair of the princess caused her more agony than you think." Historians assume that this crisis led Mary to uncompromisingly defend her conscience and her faith in later years.

Henry VIII with Jane Seymour and his children Prince Eduard , Maria and Elisabeth

Three weeks later, Maria saw her father for the first time in five years, and on that occasion met her new stepmother, Jane Seymour, for the first time . Jane had campaigned for Maria with the king several times and a friendly relationship developed between the two. Now that Maria had given in, Heinrich welcomed her back to court, he gave her her own household again, and there was even talk of a new engagement for her. But although Maria was treated as the king's daughter again, she retained the illegitimate status that excluded her from any inheritance under the law of the time. In autumn 1537 the long-awaited heir to the throne Eduard was born and Maria became his godmother. Shortly afterwards, his mother, Jane Seymour, died. Maria was given the honor of leading the funeral procession on a black horse. In the following months she looked after little Eduard, who, according to a report by the lady-in-waiting Jane Dormer, "asked her many questions, promised her secrecy and showed her such respect and admiration as if she were his mother."

Jane Seymour's death was not Mary's only loss. In 1538, the Pole family came under suspicion of conspiring against Heinrich in the so-called Exeter conspiracy , including Margaret Pole, Maria's former governess. Mary's old friends Henry Courtenay, Henry Pole and Nicholas Carew were executed as traitors, Margaret Pole imprisoned in the Tower of London and also beheaded in 1541. Cromwell cautioned Mary against accepting strangers into her household during this period, as she was still a focus of opposition to the king's religious policies.

Maria, ca.1544

She also witnessed her father's other marriages during these years. Heinrich divorced his fourth wife, Anna von Kleve , after a short time in 1540. The fifth, Catherine Howard , a cousin of Anne Boleyn, was a few years younger than Maria. At first there was tension between the two because of Mary's alleged disrespect for the new queen, which culminated in Catherine almost dismissing two ladies-in-waiting of Mary. Still, Maria managed to reconcile Catherine. She received the king's permission to stay at court permanently. In 1541 she accompanied Heinrich and Catherine on their journey to the north. Catherine ended up on the scaffold in 1542, like Anne Boleyn before.

Catherine Parr , Heinrich's sixth and last wife, continued to improve Maria's position at court and brought father and daughter closer together. Mary appears to have spent the remainder of Henry's reign in the company of Catherine Parr at court. She and Catherine Parr had many interests in common. Together with her stepmother she translated Erasmus von Rotterdam and read humanistic books with her. She was also a gifted rider and enjoyed hunting. She was known for her fondness for fashion, jewelery and card games, on which she sometimes bet large sums. Her passion for dance caused a rebuke from her younger brother Eduard, who wrote to Catherine Parr that Maria should no longer take part in foreign dances and general amusements, as it was not appropriate for a Christian princess. She was also passionate about making music.

In 1544 Heinrich finally established the succession to the throne in the Third Act of Succession and had him ratified by parliament. Both Maria and Elisabeth were reassigned to the line of succession, Maria in second, Elisabeth in third after Edward. But although the two thus had their place in the line of succession again, Heinrich still did not legitimize his daughters, which was a blatant contradiction at the time. According to the law of the time, bastards were not allowed to inherit the throne, which should lead to various attempts to completely exclude both Mary and Elizabeth from the line of succession.

Mary under Edward VI.

After King Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547, his underage son Eduard inherited the throne. Catholics abroad initially waited and waited to see whether Edward was even recognized as king. Since he was born after Heinrich's excommunication , the Catholic countries regarded him as illegitimate and Maria as the legitimate heiress. Charles V did not consider it impossible that Maria could assert her claim. However, she accepted Edward as king. In the early years of his childhood, Eduard and his half-sisters had been very close, and their closeness is reflected in the letter of condolence that Eduard wrote to his older sister: “We should not mourn the death of our father, since it is His will that is all Works for the better. As far as I can, I will be your best brother and overflow with kindness. "

Three months after the death of her father, Maria left the Catherine Parr household with whom she had previously lived. In his will, Heinrich Maria had bequeathed 32 mansions and lands in Anglia and around London, along with an annual income of £ 3,000. In the event of their marriage, she was to receive a dowry of £ 10,000. At 31, Mary was now a wealthy, independent woman, surrounded by Catholic servants and friends. As a result, it soon became the focus of the new regime. The only nine-year-old king ruled nominally, but was under the influence of his uncle and guardian Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset , who followed a strictly Protestant course. Thus Mary's household became a gathering point for Catholics. Still, Edward Seymour was fairly friendly towards her. He himself had served Charles V for a while, and his wife, Anne Seymour, was friends with Maria.

Mary's brother Edward VI. , circa 1550

In January 1549, Holy Mass in the Roman rite was abolished, the holidays of many saints were canceled and new clothing regulations for the clergy were issued. When the government passed Protestant laws, Maria protested that Heinrich's religious laws should not be abolished until Eduard was of legal age. Seymour countered that Heinrich died before he could complete his reform. In the spring she asked Charles V for help, who asked Seymour not to prevent Maria from practicing her religion. Although Seymour stated that he would not openly break any law, he allowed Maria to follow her beliefs in her household. Yet there were many critical voices calling for Mary's submission. When revolts broke out against the new religious laws, Maria came under suspicion of sympathizing with and supporting the rebels. Seymour, who did not want to annoy Charles V, tried to mediate. "If she doesn't want to adapt, let her do what she wants quietly and without scandal." Eduard, however, disagreed and wrote to Maria:

“We have wondered and still wonder what motives you may have for rejecting and refusing to obey and accept what has been expounded by the learned men of this kingdom and obediently accepted by all of Our loving subjects. Since We know your good character and your affection for Us, We can think of no other reason for your refusal than a certain resentment of your conscience for lack of information, and consultation with good, learned men should remedy this. "

On October 14, 1549, Edward Seymour was overthrown by the nobility. As the new guardian, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland , gained decisive influence over the king. Much more radical in his views than Seymour, Dudley quickly made himself unpopular with Maria. She considered him the "most volatile man in England", which is why she "wished to get away from this kingdom". Charles V again demanded a guarantee from the Privy Council that his cousin should not be hindered in the practice of her religion. Maria was convinced that her life was in danger and begged Charles V to help her escape from England. In June 1550, Charles V sent three ships to his sister's court in the Netherlands to take Maria to the continent. But now Maria hesitated. Their auditor, Rochester, questioned the entire plan, claiming the English had tightened guards on the coasts. Maria panicked and interrupted the discussions between him and Karl's envoy several times with her desperate exclamations, “What should we do? What shall become of me? ”In the course of the hectic deliberations, she finally decided against an escape, which would also have meant the loss of her right to the throne.

At Christmas 1550 Maria finally returned to court, where Eduard reproached her for still going to mass. Maria argued that he was not old enough to know enough about the faith. The argument ended with both of them bursting into tears. In January 1551, Edward demanded again that she recognize the new religious laws. Maria, still invoking Seymour's promise, was deeply affected by her brother's view of her as a lawbreaker and an instigator of disobedience. He and she had another argument in March which resulted in Mary's friends and servants being arrested for attending Mass. Thereupon Charles V threatened war. Diplomatic tensions arose between England and Spain. The Privy Council sought to resolve the conflict by ordering Mary's servants to convert the princess and forbidding her to attend mass in her household. However, Mary declared that she would rather die for her faith than be converted.

When war broke out between France and Spain, the pressure on Maria eased. Many feared that Charles V would invade England, and the Privy Council sought a reconciliation with Mary. In March 1552 her servants were dismissed from the Tower and two months later she visited her brother at court. In winter Eduard fell ill. Maria visited him for the last time in February 1553, but had no idea that he was already terminally ill, possibly due to tuberculosis . Dudley, knowing full well that Maria would be the rightful heir to the throne in the event of Edward's death, received her with all honor, but kept her brother's condition a secret from her. In fact, Maria believed that Eduard was on the mend, but in June it became apparent that he would soon die.


Accession to the throne

In view of the constant conflicts over faith with Mary, Eduard rightly feared that after his death his sister wanted to reverse all reforms and bring England back under the rule of the Pope. For this reason, Eduard broke his father Heinrich's rule of succession in order to exclude Maria from the line of succession. His reason for this was that she had never again been recognized as Heinrich's legitimate daughter. There is also the possibility that she could marry a foreigner who would then take power in England. Since this also applied to his sister Elisabeth, she was also excluded from the line of succession. Instead, Eduard bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Gray , a Protestant granddaughter of his late aunt Mary Tudor, who had recently married John Dudley's son Guildford . To what extent John Dudley is responsible for changing the line of succession is controversial in research. While it is traditionally assumed that Dudley ambitiously persuaded Eduard to change the will in favor of Jane Gray, Eric Ives is of the opinion that Dudley merely pointed out to Eduard weaknesses in his plan of succession and that Eduard independently chose Jane as heiress.

The rulers of
the House of Tudor 1485–1603
1485–1509 Henry VII.
1509–1547 Henry VIII.
1547–1553 Edward VI.
1553-1553 Lady Jane Gray
1553–1558 Maria I.
1558–1603 Elizabeth I

On July 2nd, Maria and Elisabeth were excluded from prayers for the royal family for the first time at a service. A day later, Maria, who was on her way to London, received a warning that Edward's death was imminent and that there were plans to arrest her. On the night of July 4th Maria rode quickly to Kenninghall in Norfolk , where she was able to gather supporters and, if in doubt, flee to Flanders . John Dudley, underestimating her willingness to fight for the throne, dispatched his son Robert Dudley to arrest Mary. Historians suggest that Dudley either did not care much about a woman's plans or hoped that, with the help of Charles V, Mary would flee the country, relinquishing her throne. However, Robert Dudley failed to catch up with Maria, and he had to be content with preventing her followers from getting to her at Kenninghall. Even the Spanish ambassador thought it unlikely that Maria would be able to enforce her claim.

On July 9th, Mary wrote to Jane's Privy Councilor proclaiming herself Queen of England. For the Privy Council the letter represented a declaration of war. Therefore, an army was set up which, under the leadership of John Dudley, was to move to Ostanglia and take Maria prisoner as a rebel against the Crown. Pamphlets were also printed in London declaring Maria a bastard and warning that if she came to power she would bring “Papists and Spaniards” into the country. But for the majority of the population, regardless of religious concerns, Mary was the rightful heir to the throne. Supported by her friends and servants, Maria mobilized the landed gentry, who made his armed body troops, so-called retainer , available to her. Her senior allies included Henry Radclyffe, 4th Earl of Sussex , and John Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Bath . On July 12th, she and her growing crowd moved to Framlingham Castle in Suffolk , a fortress that could be defended well in case of doubt. Her followers proclaimed her queen in various English cities. The enthusiastic approval of the population also allowed Maria to win cities that had previously declared themselves Jane. Gradually the tide turned in Maria's favor. Ship crews mutinied against their superiors and ran over to Maria.

On July 15, Dudley's army approached Framlingham. Mary's commanders prepared their troops, and the princess herself mobilized her supporters with a fiery speech according to which John Dudley “treacherously, through prolonged treason, planned and continues to plan the annihilation of her royal person, the nobility and the common good of this kingdom ". The regime collapsed on July 18th. The State Council in London overthrew Dudley in his absence and offered high rewards for his capture. The council members wanted to take the side of Maria in good time, whose popularity among the population increased steadily. On July 19, Dudley's popularity waned completely when various nobles left the Tower, and with it Jane Gray, and met at Baynard's Castle to prepare for Mary's successor. Among them were George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury , John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford , William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel . Finally, on the evening of July 20th, her heralds in London proclaimed Mary Queen of England and Ireland. John Dudley in Cambridge then resigned and also proclaimed Mary Queen. A little later he was arrested by Arundel. On July 25, he was taken to London with his sons Ambrose and Henry and imprisoned in the Tower.

Mary and Princess Elisabeth ride into London (painting by Byam Shaw, 1910)

On August 3, Maria and her sister Elisabeth, who had supported her claim to the throne, triumphantly entered London and ceremonially took possession of the Tower. As was customary when a new monarch took office, she pardoned numerous prisoners imprisoned in the Tower, including the high-ranking Catholics Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk , Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon and Stephan Gardiner . She made the latter her Lord Chancellor . Jane Gray and her husband Guildford Dudley, however, who had been in the Tower since Jane's proclamation, were placed under arrest. Jane's father, Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk, was initially a prisoner of the Crown, but was released after Jane's mother, Frances Brandon , Mary's cousin, asked the Queen for her family. Since Maria was convinced by Frances and later Jane that Jane had only accepted the crown under pressure from Dudley, she initially pardoned her young relatives and their father. Unlike Henry Gray, Jane and Guildford remained under arrest. John Dudley, however, was charged with high treason and executed on August 22nd.

Due to the rule of succession from 1544, Maria ruled de jure from July 6th, but de facto only since July 19th. On September 27, she and Elisabeth moved into the Tower, as was the custom shortly before the coronation of a new monarch. On September 30th, they marched into the Palace of Westminster in a large procession, in which their stepmother Anna of Cleves also took part . According to eyewitnesses, Maria's crown was very heavy, which is why she had to support her head with her hands. She also appeared clearly stiff and reserved while her sister Elisabeth enjoyed the bath in the crowd. On October 1, 1553, Mary was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey . Since it was the first coronation of a queen in England in her own right, the ceremony was different from the coronation of a royal consort . As was customary at the coronation of male monarchs, she was ceremonially presented with sword and spurs, as well as the scepter of both the king and queen.

Marriage to Philip II.

Despite the demonstrated unity of Mary and Elizabeth, there was strong tension between the sisters, mainly because of their different denominations. In order to secure a Catholic dynasty, Mary was looking for a Catholic husband. Her Privy Council also pleaded with her to marry, not only to secure her succession, but also because it was still assumed that a woman could not rule alone. At the same time, however, there was also a justified concern that Mary, as a married woman, would be obedient to her husband. Because of this, the question of who she would marry was of great concern to the English, as marrying a foreigner would have meant foreign influence on English politics. Many nobles, among them Stephan Gardiner, therefore hoped for a marriage between Maria and her distant relative Edward Courtenay, who was of royal descent and of English birth.

King Philip II of Spain (Portrait of Anthony Mor )

Maria, however, was not interested in marrying Courtenay, u. a. since she did not want to marry any of her subjects. As so often in her life, she valued the advice of the Spanish ambassador, in this case Simon Renard . The reason for this can probably be found in her youth, when the only one she could always turn to was Charles V. After all her experiences she could no longer trust the English nobility; hence she was more inclined to heed the advice of the Spanish ambassadors. Renard, knowing how valuable an alliance with England would be, proposed to her on October 10th, with the consent of Charles V, the Spanish Crown Prince Philip . On the one hand, the passage to the Netherlands could be secured, on the other hand, such a marriage would represent a counterweight to the marriage of Maria Stuart with the Dauphin of France. Maria's reaction was happy, but at the same time concerned, since she was eleven years older than Philipp. She also made it clear to Renard that Philip would not have too much political influence, since the English nobility would not tolerate foreign interference.

In fact, the bridegroom met with great rejection from the English. Even Mary's own Lord Chancellor Gardiner and the House of Commons feared that England might come under strong Spanish influence. Both he and Maria's loyal employees, who had moved with her against Jane Gray, begged her to marry Courtenay instead. Although Maria maintained her point of view towards them, she was still troubled and undecided for a long time. She finally made her decision on October 29th. She let Renard come to her and accepted his proposal to marry Philip on the grounds that "God had inspired her to become Prince Philip's wife." Renard wrote to Charles V and reported:

“She believes me everything I have told her about His Highness’s qualities, and [she believes] Your Majesty will always show her kindness, respecting the conditions that protect the welfare of her country [and] be a good father to her as you are always been in the past; All the more so since you will now be twice their father and will suggest to His Highness that you be a good husband. "

In November the nobility tried again unsuccessfully to dissuade Maria from marrying Philip. Then some nobles conspired against the queen. On the one hand it was about preventing the unpopular marriage, on the other hand the Protestant nobility was concerned about the denominational changes that Mary reintroduced. The conspirators included Sir Thomas Wyatt , Edward Courtenay, Jane Grey's father Henry Gray, and a close friend of the Gray family, Nicholas Throckmorton . In the Wyatt conspiracy named after him, Wyatt assembled a force near Kent in early 1554 to fight the queen, whom he himself had helped to the throne. The royal army only defeated Wyatt's troops at the gates of London, and the uprising was completely suppressed. Henry Gray, who had participated in the uprising, was arrested again. Along with his daughter Jane and son-in-law Guildford, who were still held captive in the Tower, he was found guilty of high treason and beheaded. Since the uprising had taken place in Elisabeth's name, Maria now suspected her sister of having supported the revolt against her and had her locked in the tower. After Wyatt had exonerated Elisabeth on the scaffold, Maria converted the sentence into house arrest after two months.

The Queen finally married Philip on July 25, 1554 in Winchester Cathedral . The evening before, Charles V had named his son King of Naples . According to the marriage contract, Philip received the title of King of England, but his real power was rather limited to the functions of a prince consort . He was allowed to help Maria with the administration, but was not allowed to change the law in England. Should children arise from the marriage, a daughter would rule England and the Netherlands, a son would inherit England and Philip's territories in southern Germany and Burgundy. Both the queen and any children should only leave the country with the consent of the nobility. In addition, a clause in the marriage contract protected England against being involved in the Habsburg wars or having to make payments to the empire. Also, no Spaniards should come to the Privy Council.

King Philip II of Spain and Maria Tudor

The contract was one of the most advantageous England had ever had, but Philip himself was angry at his reduced role. In private he stated that he was not bound by an agreement that had come about without his consent. According to Philipp, he would only sign so that the marriage could take place, “but not to bind himself and his heirs to comply with the paragraphs, especially not those who would burden his conscience.” Despite his reservations, Philipp Maria showed himself opposite as a dutiful, kind husband and the queen fell madly in love with him. She wrote to Charles V:

“Every day I discover in my husband, the king and your son, so many virtues and such perfection that I keep asking God to grace me, to please him and to behave in all things as it should be for someone who is so deeply connected to him. "

Philip's close confidants, however, paint a different picture of marriage. His friend Ruy Gomez described the Queen unflatteringly as a "good soul, older than we were told" and wrote about her to a friend:

“To be honest with you, it would take God Himself to empty this chalice and the best that can be said is that the King is fully aware that marriage was not entered into for carnal reasons, but for that To heal the disorder in this country and preserve the Netherlands. "

Less than two months after the wedding, Renard heard that the queen was pregnant. She said she suffered from morning sickness, her stomach swelled and she felt her child's movements. Still, doubts arose because she was 39 years old and often sick. The birth was expected in April 1555 around Easter. However, when July passed without Maria having given birth, let alone gone into labor, it became apparent that she was suffering from either an illness or a bogus pregnancy . In August the queen finally accepted the truth as well. In addition, Philipp was urgently needed in the Netherlands. Only the prospect of the birth of an heir had kept him in England. On August 19, 1555 Philip left England for a while, to the great sadness of his wife. Only in March 1557 should Maria see him again.

Religious politics

Mary had always rejected her father's decision to split the English Church from the Roman Catholic. As a queen, she therefore mainly devoted herself to religious policy. At the beginning of her reign, however, contrary to her reputation, Maria was interested in understanding and tolerance. In her first proclamation she proclaimed:

“Her Majesty cannot hide the religion to which she has professed herself before God and the world since her early childhood and which Her Majesty still wishes to observe. Her Highness would be happy if all her subjects would accept the same (religion) peacefully and benevolently. And yet Her Majesty does not wish to force her subjects to do so until a parliamentary resolution has been passed. "

Reginald Pole, portrait by Sebastiano del Piombo , 1540

Nevertheless, Mary was already taking the first steps towards achieving reconciliation with Rome. In August 1553 she wrote to Pope Julius III. To a lifting of the excommunication to achieve, which was since Henry VIII. In England, and assured the Pope that sent by Act of Parliament "many unnatural laws, created by my predecessors," would cancel. Thereupon the Pope appointed Cardinal Reginald Pole as papal legate in England. Pole was a distant relative of Mary, the son of her governess Margaret Pole, who was in Rome at the time of her accession to the throne. Maria did not want to carry out religious changes without a parliamentary resolution and therefore initially tolerated Protestants. An exception, however, was her sister Elisabeth, who wanted to convert Mary to Catholicism for political reasons. As long as Mary was unmarried and childless, Elisabeth was the heir to the throne, and Mary wanted to secure a Catholic succession to the throne. Since Elisabeth attended mass under pressure, Maria seriously considered naming her Catholic cousin Margaret Douglas as her successor instead .

In her first parliamentary session, Maria not only had her parents' marriage valid, but also repealed Edward's religious laws. The church laws from the last years of Henry VIII's reign were valid again. But while Parliament had no problem reintroducing rites and customs, it vehemently resisted recognizing the sovereignty of the Pope and returning church lands. Many of the parliamentarians had benefited from these lands and saw the restoration of papal authority as a threat to their own prosperity. So Maria first gave the monastic lands confiscated by Henry VIII, which were still in the possession of the crown, back to the Franciscans and Dominicans . Due to the opposition of Parliament, she was forced to remain head of the English Church against her will for the time being.

One of the great difficulties that Mary faced was the fact that there were few clergymen who met her demands. There had been no systematic formation of the clergy under Edward, and many of the Protestant clergy were married. She was supported in her efforts by Lord Chancellor Stephan Gardiner , Bishop of London Edmund Bonner and, initially in letters, from 1554 personally by Reginald Pole, whom she appointed Archbishop of Canterbury after his arrival . On November 30, 1554, Pole officially gave absolution to England as papal envoy and took the country back into the bosom of the Church. With the help of the Council of Trent , Pole hoped to reform clerical formation and to give England a well-trained Catholic priesthood. However, these reforms took time.

Both Poles and Maria believed that the population had been led to Protestantism by only a few. In 1555 the heretic laws from the 14th century were reintroduced. The first Protestants were convicted of heresy and burned. Some of the Protestant bishops who did not flee abroad ended up at the stake, most notably married priest John Rogers , Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper , Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley . In 1556 they were succeeded by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer , whom Maria had never forgiven for declaring her parents' marriage null and void. He was the only known victim of the burns that Mary insisted on death, despite his retraction and recognition of papal authority. In all other cremations, Maria attached great importance to the fact that the executions were carried out without vindictiveness and in accordance with the law. She also insisted that a member of her council be present to witness each burn and that services be held during the executions.

Burning of Thomas Cranmer from John Foxes Acts and Monuments

It quickly became apparent, however, that the burning of its leaders alone would not be enough to eradicate Protestantism. The reintroduction of Catholicism found a harder foothold in the simple communities than the Queen had believed. There was also a lack of money to equip the individual parish churches according to Catholic standards. Many congregations were unable to purchase stone altars, priestly robes and precious vessels and refused to cooperate with Mary's ambassadors.

The persecution spread to the common people. In particular, Bonner quickly made a name for himself among Protestants as a heretic hunter, because from the start he wanted to know the names of those who were inattentive during mass, who did not take part in processions or who broke the food laws of Lent . While the bishops were interrogating the accused, the arrests and ultimately the burnings were carried out by the local secular authorities, who followed their task with varying degrees of care. Of the 290 victims, 113 were burned in London alone. In other cases the secular authorities were very reluctant and were only persuaded to carry out cremations under pressure from the Privy Council. In total, almost 300 people were killed at the stake. However, the deterrent intended by the public burns did not materialize. Instead, the population felt increasing sympathy for the Protestant martyrs , whose persecution continued for over three years. Both inside and outside England, the number of opponents of Mary grew, especially through the writings and printed matter of Protestant exiles. This was also evident in the degree of their networking, which was by no means limited to the island kingdom, but also extended to the continent.

In 16th century England, denominational persecution was not uncommon. Under Edward VI. as well as Elizabeth I, Catholics were persecuted and executed, while under Henry VIII there were both Protestants and Catholics loyal to the Pope. Overall, the religious persecution in England was no more pronounced than on the continent. However, they were much more common in England in the 1550s than in other countries. The convicts were also not the extremists and fanatics who ended up at the stake on the continent, but simple believers. In addition, the burnings were given a political dimension. Due to Maria's unpopular marriage to Philipp, unpleasant changes were often pushed onto the Spaniards. Thus the Protestants who refused to revoke quickly became a symbol of the patriotic English resistance against the hated Spain. However, the Spaniards cannot be wholly held responsible for religious policy, as Philip's confessor, Alfonso de Castro , attacked the burns in a church service with Philip's permission. "They did not learn from Scripture to burn anyone for reasons of conscience, but on the contrary, that they should live and be converted."

Historians disagree as to who is actually responsible for the burns. John Foxe regarded Bonner as one of the worst heretic hunters, but Bonner was more interested in getting suspects to retract than to burn them. Pole invoked the burns to prove to the new Pope Paul IV that he himself was not a heretic, but Foxe himself described him as "not one of the bloody, cruel kind of papists". Pole quickly realized how unpopular the executions were. However, Prescott criticizes that he made no attempt to influence the Queen, who always attached great importance to his advice. Gardiner, who was keen to restore the old order, voted for the reintroduction of the heretic laws, but withdrew from the heretic hunt after the most important Protestants were burned.

On some occasions the secular authorities were much more energetic than the clergy in hunting heretics. Prescott points out that during the first six months of the heretic persecution, the crown reprimanded bishops for alleged laziness, while various secular judges and sheriffs made a name for themselves as avid heretic hunters. The Privy Council was also at least tolerant of the executions, as council members encouraged Bonn residents to continue the persecution. Peter Marshall points out the possibility that the cremations took on a momentum of their own after the execution of the prominent Protestants, mainly because there was no clear direction.

The extent to which Maria was personally involved in the burns can no longer be determined with any certainty. According to her own words, she was in favor of burning the ringleaders, but the common people preferred to convert her gently. Marshall notes that she deeply detested heresy and harbored a personal grudge against Cranmer for the humiliations of her youth. The Venetian ambassador Soranzo also reported how steadfastly Maria had refused to renounce her faith under her brother. “Her faith in which she was born is so strong that she would have put it on display at the stake had the opportunity arisen.” It is therefore entirely possible that Mary personally drove the burns. A royal order to Bonn on May 24, 1555 ordered him to deal with heretics more quickly and not waste time. However, Prescott states that by this point Maria had already withdrawn from all business of the state for the birth of her child. This means that it is possible that at least during this period all royal orders were passed by Philip and the Privy Council. What is certain is that the queen could have ended the persecution at any time. In Protestant propaganda she was nicknamed Bloody Mary , in German 'bloody Maria'.

Economic policy

Maria had inherited a lot of debt from her father and brother, and government finances were nearly out of control. The reason for this was the still medieval economic system, which no longer did justice to the modern royal state. John Baker, Marquess of Winchester and Sir Walter Mildmay tried to clean up the treasury, but their reforms would take a long time. The royal household was also thoroughly examined to find ways to save. The report found that the queen paid her servants and subordinates far more generously than her father had ever done, and that the greatest amounts were spent on the royal wardrobe.

The decline in the value of money, which had already begun in the last few years of Henry VIII's reign, made the crisis worse. The inflation was of Henry financier Thomas Gresham not combated firmly and intensified under Edward VI. yet. Maria tried to counteract the dramatic decline in the value of money. So drastic measures were taken against counterfeiters, and the Privy Council discussed a currency reform . Due to the wars in Maria's last two years of government there was no reform, but Elisabeth was supposed to fall back on the experiences of Maria's financial advisors for her own currency reform in 1560–61.

Mary I by Hans Eworth, ca.1555

Nevertheless, Maria could show small successes. They reformed the Customs and Excise essence profoundly, leading to more revenue for the crown and the release of the new Book of the Council led to German book of charges . It was to be valid until 1604. The collection of customs duties was centralized in order to transfer the funds directly to the crown and to prevent the customs officers from enriching themselves. Maria also specifically promoted English trade by taxing imported goods higher than goods made in England. However, it came into conflict with the German Hanseatic League , which did not want to give up its privileged position. However, since the Hanseatic League had lent money to the English crown several times, Maria was prepared to make concessions. The Hanseatic League paid the same taxes as other traders for two years, and in return they were allowed to buy fabrics in England that they had not been able to do before. However, as the measure was very unpopular with English dealers, it was reversed after two years.

Since there was strong competition in the European markets, Maria tried to open up new markets overseas. Despite her marriage to Philip, England had no access to the treasures of the New World, which is why Mary turned her attention to the East. As early as June 1553, in the last days under Edward VI, an expedition had started looking for a north-east passage to the Orient. While the commandant Sir Hugh Willoughby was dying, his deputy commandant Richard Chancellor managed to reach the Russian city of Arkhangelsk via the White Sea . From there he traveled to Russia and was received by Ivan the Terrible in Moscow . Ivan was interested in a trade agreement with England, and on April 5, 1555, Mary and Philip signed a letter of thanks to Ivan confirming their intentions to trade with him.

In the same year the Muscovy Company was founded, which was given a monopoly on trade between England and Moscow and was to survive as a trade organization until the Russian Revolution in 1917. England received shipbuilding materials from Russia, while England exported spices, wool and metal goods. At about the same time, the Queen Mary Atlas was commissioned, a collection of beautiful, precise maps which, among other things, could be used. a. Europe, Africa and Asia included, as well as South America and the northeast coast of North America. Of the approximately 14-15 cards, nine have survived today.

In addition, Maria drove forward social reforms and distributed almost twice as many cards and charter as her predecessors. Among other things, it promoted the incorporation of cities and districts, which increased the efficiency of both administration and industry. Their efforts enabled cities to operate as corporations before the law . In this way, cities could own lands in their own right and use the proceeds for educational programs, welfare and public works. Also municipal ordinances could now be issued, which gave the cities framework conditions for local jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, due to poor harvests, famine and waves of disease occurred among the common population. The reforms took time to take effect. To centralize relief for the poor, Maria merged five charities in London alone so that poor people could be cared for across the city. Proclamations were made to let the starving population know where grain was being distributed. Those who hoarded grain faced severe penalties, and supplies were checked regularly. Although the measures introduced under Mary's rule did not yet produce the desired result, her successor Elisabeth should benefit from them in the long term.

Foreign policy

Maria sought a rapprochement between England and Spain in order to build a strong counterweight to France. One reason for this was the fact that her Scottish cousin Maria Stuart was engaged to the French heir to the throne. Since Mary Stuart also had a claim to the English throne, she was an important pawn for the French. King Philip therefore influenced his wife to reconcile with her sister Elisabeth and not to exclude her from the line of succession, although various conspiracies took place in her name. Had Elizabeth been excluded and Mary died childless, the English throne would have gone to Mary Queen of Scots and thus to the French royal family, a scenario that Philip wanted to avoid. Instead, he tried to marry Elizabeth to the Duke of Savoy Emanuel Philibert , his distant relative. In this way the English throne would have remained under Philip's control even in Mary's death. Elisabeth resisted this marriage, however, and Maria resisted Philip's pressure to marry off her sister without the consent of Parliament.

King Henry II of France

Spain and France were regularly involved in wars with one another. Since there was always the risk of England being drawn into the conflict, Maria tried to mediate between the warring parties. On her behalf, Reginald Pole brought the warring parties to the negotiating table in Gravelines in 1555 and sought an arbitration. However, Spain and France refused to compromise and negotiations failed. To the great humiliation of England, France and Spain signed a peace treaty in February 1556 without English mediation, which both only kept until their armed forces had recovered.

In September Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba and Philip's viceroy of Naples, attacked the papal states. Thereupon Pope Paul IV allied himself with King Henry II of France and declared war on Philip and Charles V. The situation for England was threatening, as France was allied with Scotland and in the event of war there was always the danger of a Scottish invasion. Maria therefore prepared the country for war, had troops raised and ships floated. In addition, the Privy Council reluctantly agreed to send troops to Philip if the Netherlands were to be attacked. The Pope, angry at Mary's solidarity with Philip, withdrew from Cardinal Pole his powers as papal envoy and ordered him to return to Rome and face charges of heresy. Maria refused, however, to consent to Pole's departure and demanded that an English court, if any, rule on him. Otherwise, she threatened to withdraw her ambassador from Rome. Contemporaries feared that England was facing another schism .

In March 1557 Philip II returned to Mary in England , now after his father's abdication , to request English support. He stayed until July and persuaded Maria to assist Spain in the war against France. England was supposed to attack the French coast to give the troops in Italy a respite. During his first stay in England, Philip had already arranged for the English Navy to be enlarged and repaired. Maria assured the Spaniards her support against the will of the English people. The Privy Council resisted violently and referred to the marriage contract. He also pointed out to Maria that England was in no condition to declare war, as the treasury was empty and war with France would end or severely hamper trade relations. According to the French ambassador Noailles, Maria threatened some council members in private discussions "with death, others with the loss of all their possessions and lands if they did not submit to the will of their husband".

However, war was only declared when the Protestant exile Thomas Stafford landed in England in French ships in April, captured Scarborough Castle and declared that he wanted to free the country from Mary, who had forfeited her claim to the throne by marrying a Spaniard. Philip left England on July 6th and a few days later English troops followed him to the continent. To everyone's relief, Philip made peace with the Pope in September, but this did not affect the war with France. At first the English succeeded in gaining victories against the French and causing painful defeats for Henry II. At the turn of the year, however, it was their undoing that acts of war were usually avoided in winter. Against all odds, the French attacked on New Year's Day and the city of Calais , England's last bastion on the mainland, fell to France in January 1558. It was a severe blow to national self-esteem. Cardinal Pole called the loss "this sudden, painful catastrophe", but the Privy Council agreed that a reconquest was almost impossible and priceless, much to Philip's annoyance, for whom Calais was of great strategic importance against France.

Death and succession

Main gate of St James's Palace

In her final years, the Queen was physically and mentally ill. If she was a recognized beauty in her youth, she was often described in her final years as looking older than she was, according to contemporaries because of worry. She often suffered from depression, and her unpopularity troubled her. The Venetian ambassador Giovanni Michieli reported how big the difference was at the beginning of her rule, when she was so popular with the people "as it has never been shown to any ruler of this kingdom." other severe menstrual cramps. In her later years, these complaints often made her veined , which often made her appear pale and emaciated.

Despite her poor health, Maria continued to hope to have a child. After Philip's visit to England, Maria experienced a second false pregnancy. This time she didn't tell him about her condition until she calculated that she was six months. Philip, who was still on the continent, expressed his joy in a letter, but acted and waited, as many people in England had doubts about the pregnancy. As the 9th month approached, Mary wrote her will on May 30, 1558 in the event of her death in childbirth. In it she appointed her baby as her successor and appointed Philip as regent until the heir to the throne came of age. Since this time there were doubts about a pregnancy from the start, no birthing rooms were prepared.

Maria's health deteriorated noticeably. She suffered from fever attacks, insomnia, headaches, and poor eyesight. In August she fell ill with influenza and was taken to St James's Palace . There she wrote an addendum to her will, in which she admitted that she was not pregnant and that the crown should go to whoever was entitled to do so under the laws of the country. She was still reluctant to name Elizabeth as her heir, despite the pressure to do so by the Spanish and their parliament, who wanted to avoid Mary Queen of Scots inheriting the throne. On November 6th, Mary finally gave in and officially named Elizabeth as her heiress and heir to the throne. Shortly before midnight on November 16, she received the sacraments of death . She died on November 17, 1558 at the age of forty-two between five and six in the morning. Six hours after her death, Elisabeth was proclaimed queen, and another six hours later, Maria's old friend Reginald Pole also died.

As was customary at the time, Mary's body was embalmed and laid out for three weeks. On December 13th she was transferred in a great procession and with all honors due to a queen to Westminster Abbey , where the actual burial took place the next day. The funeral procession was led by her beloved cousin Margaret Douglas. The Bishop of Winchester, John White, gave a warm obituary of her strengths and merits, her bravery in critical situations, and her social conscience towards the disadvantaged. However, in this speech he also exercised subtle criticism of Elisabeth, which is why she placed him under house arrest the next day.

Elizabeth herself was also buried in Westminster Abbey in 1603. Three years later, her successor, James I , ordered her body to be repatriated because he claimed her tomb next to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York for himself. Instead, Elisabeth was buried in Mary's grave, above her sister's coffin. Jakob donated a large monument to Elisabeth on which Mary is only mentioned in passing. The Latin inscription on their tombstones reads:

“Regno consortes et urna, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis.”

"Partner both in the throne and in the grave, here we rest, the two sisters, Elisabeth and Maria, in the hope of a resurrection."


With the accession to the throne, Mary was proclaimed Queen with the same title as her direct predecessors Henry VIII and Edward VI:
Mary, by the grace of God, Queen of England , France and Ireland , Keeper of the Faith and Head of the Church of England and Ireland. The kings of England traditionally claimed the title of King of France on the basis of the English territories on French territory that they had held before the Hundred Years War . Although the title was retained until 1802, the English monarch did not exercise any power in France.

After marrying Philip of Spain , the couple was given the title King and Queen. The official name was:
Maria and Philip, by the grace of God, King and Queen of England, France, Naples , Jerusalem and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Princes of Spain and Sicily , Archdukes of Austria , Dukes of Milan and Brabant , Counts of Habsburg , Flanders and Tyrol .

With Philip's accession to the throne, the title changed again:
Mary and Philip, by the grace of God, King and Queen of England, Spain, France, Sicily , Jerusalem and Ireland, Keepers of the Faith, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Milan and Brabant, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol.


Edmund Tudor (1430-1456)
Henry VII (1457–1509)
Margaret Beaufort (1443–1509)
Henry VIII (1491–1547)
Edward IV (1442-1483)
Elizabeth of York (1466–1503)
Elizabeth Woodville (1437-1492)
Mary Tudor (1516–1558)
John II of Aragón (1397–1479)
Ferdinand II (1452-1516)
Juana Enríquez (1425–1468)
Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536)
John II of Castile (1405-1454)
Isabella I (1451-1504)
Isabella of Portugal (1428–1496)

Assessment by posterity

For a long time Maria's name was almost exclusively associated with the brutal persecution of Protestants. One reason for this is the strongly anti-Catholic attitude that emerged in England after her rule. Protestantism was seen as part of English identity, Catholicism as part of foreign rule, either by the Spanish or by Rome. An important factor in this was Maria's unpopular marriage to Philip. Maria's bad reputation as a bloodthirsty Protestant murderer is mainly due to Protestant propaganda, such as that carried out by John Foxe in particular . In the 17th century, Catholic King James II solidified the view that a Catholic ruler would have disastrous consequences for the country. In the 19th century, the now Protestant England also experienced a phase in which English greatness was viewed as predetermined, which the Catholic Mary automatically stamped the antagonist in historiography.

Allegorical image of the Tudor succession: Henry VIII presents Edward VI. the sword of truth, Mary and Philip bring in the god of war, Elizabeth I brings in peace and abundance. Approx. 1572, possibly by Lucas de Heere

Nowadays historians paint a more nuanced picture of Maria. Despite the persecution, Maria showed herself to be very tolerant of questions of faith at the beginning of her reign and did not try to convert the people by force without the consent of parliament. However, Mary lacked the personal charisma and natural closeness to the people that Elisabeth possessed. In this way she misjudged the religious and political situation and in particular the reaction of the people to it. Nevertheless, it took Elisabeth more than five years to reverse her sister's changes, which Ann Weikl sees as proof that Catholicism was beginning to gain a foothold despite the persecution of Protestants.

Maria is also often accused of having failed as Queen of England, unlike her successful sister. Her contemporaries mainly complained that their marriage had brought England under the "yoke of Spain". Unlike Elisabeth, however, Maria had no predecessor in the form of a queen in her own right, from whose mistakes she could learn, since her rival Jane Gray exercised no real power in her short time as nominal queen. The only tradition to which she could refer was that of the king's wife. In parliamentary sessions and debates with the Privy Council, Maria was mostly cooperative and willing to compromise. Tensions between her and the council arose mainly from the latter's refusal to crown Philip and to return former church lands. The problem for her was that her advisors were at odds and so she could not completely trust anyone. The war with France was often blamed as her greatest mistake, mainly because of the loss of Calais.

Nevertheless, the majority of modern historical research is of the opinion that Mary's reign cannot be viewed as a total failure. She won her throne in spite of all odds and thus secured the rule of the Tudor dynasty. Although England had always feared a queen in her own right, Mary ruled well enough that the scholar John Aylmer, tutor of Jane Grays, wrote of her: "In England, having a ruler is not as dangerous a thing as men believe." During her time as Queen, she initiated social as well as economic and administrative reforms from which Elisabeth, who took on some of Maria's advisors, profited strongly. Elisabeth also learned from Mary's mistakes and was able to avoid her during her reign, such as marrying a foreign prince and the unpopularity of religious persecution. As the first independent Queen of England, Mary laid the decisive foundation stone for female monarchs to exercise the same rights and duties as male monarchs.

Reception in art and literature

gold medal

In 1554, the later Philip II commissioned the medalist Jacopo Nizzola da Trezzo to make a gold medal for Maria. The medal was 6.7 centimeters in diameter and weighed 183 grams. On the front is the image of Mary, who wears a large pearl pendant on a chain, a gift from Philip. The reverse shows Maria burning weapons. This side of the coin bears the inscription CECIS VISUS - TIMIDIS QUIES (German: sight for the blind - rest for the fearful ). One copy of this medal is in the British Museum , another copy is in private hands in the USA (as of January 2010).

Theater and opera

In the 19th century, the life of Maria Tudor served as a template for Victor Hugo's play Mary Tudor , which was set to music by Rudolf Wagner-Régeny under the title The Favorite and premiered in Dresden in 1935. Caspar Neher wrote the libretto using the translation by Georg Büchner . The piece Queen Mary by Alfred Tennyson was approximately the same time. The opera Maria Tudor by Antônio Carlos Gomes , which premiered on March 27, 1879 at the Scala in Milan, is also based on Hugo's model . The libretto for this opera is by Emilio Praga . Giovanni Pacini wrote an opera about Queen Maria in 1847 entitled Maria Regina d'Inghilterra .

Movie and TV

Maria Tudor appears in numerous films. The best known include:

  • Lady Jane from 1985 with Jane Lapotaire . Although Maria initially has a friendly relationship with Jane Gray and does not want to execute her, she allows herself to be influenced by the Spanish ambassador, who makes Jane's execution a condition for Philip's trip to England. With a heavy heart Maria agrees.
  • Elizabeth from 1998 with Kathy Burke as Maria. She is portrayed as an unattractive, jealous woman who innocently has her sister Elizabeth thrown into the Tower.
  • Elizabeth I - The Virgin Queen , a2006 BBC miniseriesstarring Joanne Whalley as Maria. The first episode deals with Elisabeth's arrest. Maria is portrayed as a competent ruler but a jealous sister who has never forgotten the insults under Anne Boleyn and who suspects Elisabeth of intriguing against her.
  • The Tudors from 2007 to 2010 with Bláthnaid McKeown in the first season and from the second season with Sarah Bolger as Maria. Separated from her mother, Maria tries to preserve her identity as the Princess of England, but submits to Heinrich when her life is threatened. She shows herself to be a loving sister to her siblings Eduard and Elisabeth, but comes into conflict with her Protestant stepmothers Anna von Kleve and Catherine Parr as well as with the flighty Catherine Howard.


Mary is the subject of English historical novels, some of which have been translated into German:

  • Philippa Gregory: The Queen's Fool (2003); German The Court Fool (2007)
  • Jean Plaidy: The Shadow of the Crown (Mary Tudor) (1988); deutsch In the shadow of the crown
  • Carolyn Meyer: Mary, Bloody Mary (1999); German The Poison of the Queen (2001)

It also appears in historical novels from German-speaking countries.


  • Dieter Berg : The Tudors. England and the Continent in the 16th Century. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3170256705 , p. 81ff.
  • Eamon Duffy : Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor. Yale University Press, New Haven 2009, ISBN 978-0-300-15216-6 (English).
  • Raingard Eßer: The Tudors and the Stuarts (1485-1714) . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-17-015488-5 .
  • David Michael Loades: Maria Tudor (1516-1558). England under Mary the Catholic . Callwey, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-7667-0638-1 .
  • Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480–1642 . Hodder Arnold, London 2003, ISBN 0-340-70623-6 (English).
  • Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus, London 2009, ISBN 978-0-7499-0982-6 (English).
  • Hilde FM Prescott : Maria Tudor, the bloody (original title: Mary Tudor , translated by Ulrich Brache). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1966 ( DNB 457846259 ).
  • Hilde FM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix, London 2003, ISBN 1-84212-625-3 (English).
  • Peter Wende (Ed.): English Kings and Queens. From Heinrich VII. To Elisabeth II. Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-43391-X .
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury, London 2010, ISBN 978-1-4088-0078-2 (English).

Web links

Commons : Maria I. (England)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 7
  2. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 13
  3. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 10
  4. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 17
  5. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 40
  6. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 18
  7. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 23
  8. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 27
  9. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 32
  10. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 37
  11. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 41
  12. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 46
  13. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 47
  14. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 47
  15. a b HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 50
  16. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 53
  17. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 57
  18. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 63
  19. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 62
  20. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 69
  21. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 65
  22. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 83
  23. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 86
  24. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 88
  25. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Ann Weikel: Mary I (1516–1558), queen of England and Ireland . In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography . Oxford 2004-12
  26. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 84
  27. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 87
  28. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 91
  29. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 89
  30. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 96
  31. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 130
  32. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 126
  33. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 131
  34. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 133
  35. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 139
  36. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 141
  37. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 178
  38. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 149
  39. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 158
  40. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 162
  41. Eric Ives: Lady Jane Gray: A Tudor Mystery . Wiley-Blackwell 2009, p. 157
  42. a b Leanda de Lisle: The Sisters who would be Queen. The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Gray . Harper Press 2009, p. 107
  43. Leanda de Lisle: The Sisters who would be Queen. The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Gray . Harper Press 2009, p. 108
  44. Eric Ives: Lady Jane Gray: A Tudor Mystery . Wiley-Blackwell 2009, p. 202
  45. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 168
  46. Eric Ives: Lady Jane Gray: A Tudor Mystery . Wiley-Blackwell 2009, p. 192
  47. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 171
  48. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 172
  49. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 173
  50. Leanda de Lisle: The Sisters who would be Queen. The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Gray . Harper Press 2009, p. 127
  51. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 256
  52. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 257
  53. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 261
  54. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 203
  55. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 265
  56. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 205
  57. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 206
  58. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 206: “ She believed what I have told her of his Highness' qualities, and that your Majesty would ever show her kindness, observe the conditions that would safeguard the welfare of the country, be a good father to her as you had been in the past and more, now that you would be doubly her father and cause his highness to be a good husband to her.
  59. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 224
  60. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 321
  61. a b Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 291
  62. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 211
  63. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 292
  64. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 229
  65. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 327
  66. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 352
  67. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 334
  68. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 338
  69. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 187
  70. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 188
  71. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, pp. 251-252
  72. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 199
  73. ^ Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480-1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 96
  74. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 273
  75. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 265
  76. ^ Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480-1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 98
  77. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 201
  78. ^ A b Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480–1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 104
  79. ^ Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480-1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 107
  80. Martin Skoeries: Flye or dye for the truithe. Networking of English Protestants during the reign of Maria Tudor (1553–1558). Stuttgart 2017, ISBN 978-3-17-030693-6 .
  81. ^ A b Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480–1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 105
  82. ^ A b c Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 266
  83. a b c d Peter Marshall: Reformation England 1480–1642. Bloomsbury Academic 2011, p. 103
  84. a b HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 382
  85. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 383
  86. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 381
  87. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 387
  88. a b Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 375
  89. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 377
  90. a b c Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 376
  91. a b Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 370
  92. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 371
  93. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 372
  94. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 373
  95. a b Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 374
  96. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 282
  97. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 284
  98. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 287
  99. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 295
  100. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 286
  101. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 288
  102. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 392
  103. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 395
  104. a b Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 296
  105. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 297
  106. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 299
  107. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 300
  108. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 302
  109. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 304
  110. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor: The First Queen . Piatkus, September 2010, p. 408 .
  111. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 305
  112. Linda Porter: Mary Tudor. The first queen. Piatkus 2009, p. 418
  113. a b Jane Dunn: Elizabeth and Mary. Cousins, Rivals, Queens . London 2003, p. 111
  114. ^ HFM Prescott: Mary Tudor. The Spanish Tudor. Phoenix 2003, p. 386
  115. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 309
  116. ^ Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor. England's first queen. Bloomsbury 2010, p. 310
  117. Lisa Zeitz: Gold Medal for the Bloody Queen . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of January 2, 2010
Predecessors Office Successors
Jane Gray Queen of England
Queen of Ireland
Elizabeth I.
Isabella of Portugal Queen of Spain
(as wife of Philip II )
Elisabeth of France
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on November 26, 2012 in this version .