The Tudor Society
  • 26 August – A devastated Mary I prepares to be abandoned

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1555, Queen Mary I and her husband, Philip of Spain, departed from Whitehall in preparation for Philip’s return to the Low Countries.

    This was an awful time for Mary I. She had just come out of confinement after months of believing she was pregnant, and now her husband was leaving her. He’d be gone for over 18 months.

    Find out more about Mary’s state of health and mind, the arrangements for Philip’s departure, and Mary’s reaction, in today’s talk.

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  • 19 August – A defiant but polite Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1551, Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her half-brother King Edward VI regarding orders that he had sent, orders that she was not going to obey.

    As historian Henry Ellis noted, this letter is evidence of Mary’s talent at writing and her intellect, and it also shows just how stubborn she could be. But then Edward was stubborn too! He wasn’t going to let his sister defy him but she wasn’t going to obey him and compromise her faith – oh dear!

    Find out more about the situation, and hear Mary’s words to Edward, in today’s talk.

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  • 30 July – Elizabeth leaves Somerset House to meet Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1553, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet her half-sister, Mary, who’d been officially proclaimed queen on 19th July.

    Somerset House was Elizabeth’s new London residence and you can find out more about how Elizabeth acquired it and who built it originally in today’s talk.

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  • 21 July – The arrest of John Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st July, 1553, just days after he’d left London with an army to apprehend Mary, half-sister of the late king, Edward VI, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland was arrested near Cambridge.

    But how and why did the man who had ruled England on Edward VI’s behalf, as Lord President of his privy council, come to this?

    I explain his role in the accession of Lady Jane Grey as Queen Jane in July 1553 and what happened when Mary overthrew Queen Jane.

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  • The Summer of 3 Monarchs Crossword Puzzle

    The summer of 1553 was very eventful and saw three different Tudor monarchs rule England in just the month of July: King Edward VI, Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) and Queen Mary I.

    How much do you know about the events of summer 1553 and the struggle for the throne?

    Test those little grey cells with this week’s puzzle, a fun crossword puzzle. Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out. Good luck!

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  • 18 July – Queen Jane is betrayed and Queen Mary wins

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th July 1553, while her father-in-law and his forces made their way from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds to stand against the forces of Mary, and Jane was busy writing to men requesting them to muster forces to support her, Jane was being betrayed by members of her council.

    William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, called a council meeting and Pembroke was even said to have threatened council members with a sword! They then proclaimed for Mary.

    Find out more about what happened on 18th and 19th July 1553 in today’s talk.

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  • 13 July – Unease among Queen Jane’s councillors

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th July 1553, while John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was preparing to leave London to apprehend the late Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, members of the new Queen Jane’s council were meeting with the imperial ambassadors.

    What was the meeting about? What was the news from East Anglia? And why were councillors beginning to feel uneasy?

    Find out what was going on in today’s talk.

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  • 12 July – Men flock to Mary’s cause and Jane makes a mistake

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th July 1553, Mary (future Mary I) moved from Kenninghall to Framlingham and set about rallying support. Sir Thomas Cornwallis was able to intercept her on her journey and pledge his loyalty to her. He wasn’t the only one flocking to her cause.

    Meanwhile, back in London, the new queen, Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey), made a serious mistake by refusing to send her father to go and apprehend Mary.

    Why was this a mistake?

    Find out what was going on back in 1553 in this talk.

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  • 11 July – Men change sides from Queen Jane to Mary

    On this day in history, 11th July 1553, in Ipswich, Suffolk, Sir Thomas Cornwallis, sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, Lord Thomas Wentworth, and some other prominent Suffolk gentlemen declared for Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) and publicly proclaimed her the rightful queen. However, the following day, Cornwallis recanted and proclaimed Mary as queen.

    Why? What happened to make this sheriff change his mind so soon?

    Find out more about the situation in July 1553 in today’s talk.

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  • 9 July – Mary wants to avoid bloodshed and vengeance

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1553, three days after the death of her half-brother, King Edward VI, and the day after she’d proclaimed herself queen at her estate at Kenninghall, Mary (future Mary I), daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, wrote to the late king’s privy council regarding “some evil” that she’d heard.

    But what was going on? What had Mary heard and what was she going to do about it?

    Find out more about the situation and Mary’s letter in today’s talk.

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  • 24 January – Can jousting heal the problems between Englishmen and Spaniards?

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th January 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, a great joust was held at Westminster between English and the Spanish knights. It was one of the events planned by Philip of Spain, Queen Mary I’s husband, to try and tackle the problems between Englishmen and Spaniards in London. Tensions had even led to violence and murder.

    Find out more about the problems, and how King Philip tried to tackle them, in today’s talk.

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  • 14 December – Mary I is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1558, Queen Mary I was buried at Westminster Abbey.

    Mary had died on 17th November 1558 and had left instructions for Catherine of Aragon’s remains to be moved from Peterborough and for them to be reinterred with Mary’s remains so that mother and daughter could be together.

    Did this happen?

    Find out all about Mary I’s burial, and who did join her in death, in today’s talk.

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  • 30 September – A coronation procession for Queen Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 30th September 1553, Queen Mary I processed through the streets of London, from the Tower of London to Westminster on her coronation procession.

    The procession was a mile and a half long and must have been such a spectacle for the citizens of London. There were also pageants, wine flowing in the conduits, streets hung with tapestries, and a new queen to see.

    I share details of that day, along with how Mary I was dressed for what must have been a triumphant day for her.

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  • 28 September – Mary and Elizabeth travel to the Tower

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1553, thirty-seven-year-old Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, travelled in a decorated barge to the Tower of London. She was accompanied by her half-sister, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

    Mary was going to the Tower to prepare for her coronation, which was scheduled for 1st October 1553.

    I explain more in today’s talk.

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  • 28 August – Mary defies Edward VI

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1551, the thirty-five-year-old Mary, future Mary I, received a visit from a delegation of men sent by her half-brother, thirteen-year-old King Edward VI.

    Mary was being defiant and disobedient. She was ignoring her half-brother’s orders and was breaking the laws of the land. What was she doing? She was continuing to celebrate the Catholic Mass in her household.

    In today’s talk, I explain exactly what happened on this day in 1551, drawing on the report that the delegation gave to the king and his council. It gives us a wonderful insight into the pre-accession Mary I and her character.

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  • 25 July – Mary I gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 25 July 1554, on the Feast of St James, Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, married Philip of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

    The couple got married at Winchester Cathedral and Mary’s Lord Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, officiated at the ceremony.

    In today’s talk, I share a contemporary account of Mary and Philip’s wedding ceremony.

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  • The Events of July 1553 Quiz

    July 1553 was a month of three monarchs: King Edward VI, Queen Jane (lady Jane Grey) and Queen Mary I – what a month for the citizens of London! It was definitely eventful. But how much do you know about the events that led from Edward’s death to Mary’s accession? Let me test your knowledge with this fun little quiz – good luck!

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  • 19 July – Mary I is proclaimed queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th July 1553, the reign of Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) was brought to an end when Mary, the late King Edward VI’s half-sister, was officially proclaimed queen in London.

    In today’s talk,I share contemporary sources which tell us of how this news was celebrated in London. I also give brief details of another significant “on this day” event.

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  • 15 July – The tide turns from Jane to Mary

    This day in Tudor history, 15th July 1553, was a key point in the events of summer 1553. For it was on this day that royal ships, ships that were supposed to be Queen Jane’s and who were guarding the coast off East Anglia to stop Mary fleeing England or any of her supporter invading England, swapped sides and gave declared for Queen Mary. Oh dear!

    I explain the context, the lead-up to this day, and also what happened to make the crews of these ships swap sides.

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  • 8 July – Mary declares herself queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th July 1553, two days after her half-brother King Edward VI’s death and one day after hearing news of his death, Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, declared that she was Edward VI’s heir and so was queen – Queen Mary I.

    In today’s talk, I explain what had led Mary to this point and why Mary had fled London.

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  • 15 June – Mary is bullied

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th June 1536, Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was bullied and threatened by members of her father’s council.

    It must have been a truly shocking event for the twenty-year-old princess, who was now known as “Lady Mary”.

    In today’s video, I give a contemporary account of what happened on this day and why, and explain how Mary did end up reconciling with her father the king.

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  • 8 June – Elizabeth and Mary are declared illegitimate

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th June 1536, the sixth Parliament of King Henry VIII’s reign met.

    This Parliament passed the Second Act of Succession, which removed Mary and Elizabeth from the succession and declared them illegitimate.

    I explain what happened at this Parliament and also share another “on this day” event from the very same day in 1536.

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  • 26 May – Mary seeks Thomas Cromwell’s help

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1536, Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, sought the help of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man. Now that Anne Boleyn was dead and gone, Mary hoped for a reconciliation with her father the king.

    What did she want Cromwell to do?

    What happened to Mary after Anne Boleyn’s death? How was she treated?

    In today’s video,I consider Mary’s situation and what happened between her and her father after this point.

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  • 8 April – A cat in priest’s clothing

    In today’s video, I talk about an act of rebellion in 1554, an act of defiance by someone opposed to Queen Mary I’s religious changes.

    It was on this day in Tudor history, 8th April 1554, that a cat dressed as a Catholic priest and holding a piece of paper to represent the communion wafer, was hanged at the gallows in Cheapside.

    Find out more about what happened, the meaning behind it, and Queen Mary I’s reaction to it, in my video.

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  • March 30 – A “pregnant” Mary I makes her will

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Mary I wrote her will. She did it because she believed that she was just about to give birth, and, obviously, childbirth was a risky processes.

    Find out more about Mary’s will and what happened with this “pregnancy” in today’s “on this day” video.

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  • March 15 – The Lady Mary causes a stir in London

    Mary I could be a tough cookie at times. She was courageous and strong-willed, and she showed that side of her personality on 15th March 1551 when she rode through the streets of London with a large company of knights, gentlemen and ladies doing something that was illegal and an act of defiance against her half-brother, King Edward VI.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • 6 March – Juan Luis Vives and the young Mary I

    What has a Spanish scholar and humanist born on this day in Valencia, Spain, in 1492 got to do with the Tudors? Well, he helped shape the woman who would become Queen Mary I by advising her mother, Catherine of Aragon, on her education.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I introduce Vives and his advice for Mary’s education, and also give details on the young Mary, including her intelligence and accomplishments.

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  • 18 February – The birth of Queen Mary I

    Happy Birthday to Queen Mary I! Yes, Mary I, a woman who has unfortunately gone down in history as “Bloody Mary” and whose reign is often seen as a failure, was born on this day in 1516.

    In today’s video,I talk about Mary I’s birth and baptism and share some of Mary I’s achievements as queen. She’s so much more than Bloody Mary.

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  • 26 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, we go back to 1554, where trouble was brewing for both Mary I and her half-sister, Elizabeth.

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  • 20 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th January 1557, Queen Mary I’s pensioners “did muster in bright harness” before her at Greenwich Park, but who were they and what happened? Let me explain…

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