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1.
(1516-1558) The only surviving child of Henry and Katherine of Aragon and half-sister of Elizabeth I. Henry's desperation to have a son as an heir led him to not only divorce and banish Katherine (making Mary a bastard) but also barred mother and daughter from each other until they acknowledged homewrecker Anne Boleyn as the true Queen, which they refused. When Katherine died in 1536, she had last seen her daughter over two years before.
Devastated at her mother's death, barred from her mother's funeral by Henry, and bearing a mutual hatred for Anne (who made Mary her daughter's maidservant), Mary's luck turned when Anne was put to death and her father married Jane Seymour, who was deeply loyal to Mary. Sadly, the birth of Edward VI killed Jane.
Constantly fearful for her life due to court intrigue and the new power of the Protestants of the court, Mary's solace was her Catholic faith, despite the friendship of Anne of Cleves.
Her fundamentalist Protestant brother, Edward, died in 1553, swallowing his misogyny to let his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, take the throne. Nine days later, Mary ejected her and became Queen Mary I.
Mary would wed Philip II of Spain (11 years her junior), suffer two phantom pregnancys, and become wildly unpopular for her persecution and execution of Protestants, earning her the nickname "Bloody Mary".
By the time Henry died, Mary Tudor was a spinster of 31, sickly and angry. By then, she refused to associate with her brother and sister, whom she resented. Her father had married increasingly younger women (Katherine Howard was at least five years younger than Mary) while his eldest daughter, once his pride and joy, was kicked to the curb by her own father, was still unmarried; Mary must have thought in fury, "When will this bastard stop worrying about his future and worry about mine?!"
Mary Tudor has become known as "Bloody Mary" for her fundamentalist Catholic regime and merciless persecution of Protestants (she pursued Bishop Thomas Cranmer with particular cruelty, since he had destroyed her mother's marriage), although her father and sister were not exactly saints themselves and Henry was far bloodier.
Mary died in 1558 of cancer, a defeated and deeply disappointed woman. She had failed to restore England to the Catholic faith, her marriage to Philip was a travesty, and she failed to produce heirs.
"Mary, Mary, quite contrary/ How does your garden grow?/ With silver bells and cockle shells/ And pretty maids all in a row."
by Lorelili September 25, 2011
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