The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • Informal live chat tomorrow (11 January) – Mary I

    Our very first informal live chat of 2019 takes place in the Tudor Society chatroom tomorrow, 11th January. The topic is Mary I, one of the Tudor Marys featured in this month’s edition of Tudor Life magazine and also the topic of Samantha Wilcoxson’s expert talk. Samantha’s live chat is taking place on 25th January, so save your questions for her until then, but the informal live chat is an opportunity for us to debate Mary I and her reign. We can discuss her reputation, her background, her life, her reign etc. and we can also share book recommendations, documentary/film recommendations, and just talk Tudor.

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  • Expert Talk – Mary I – Samantha Wilcoxson

    Our expert speaker this month wants us to re-examine our thoughts and beliefs about Mary I. Samantha Wilcoxson is the author of many books about the Tudors, and her talk is an excellent reminder that we must continually look at the facts in history.

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  • A defiant Mary stands up to her brother, King Edward VI, and his men

    On this day in history, 28th August 1551, Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see the Lady Mary (future Mary I), half-sister of their king and master, Edward VI.

    They had been sent to Copthall to deliver a message to Mary from the king. Edward VI was ordering Mary and her household to desist from celebrating the Catholic mass. Edward also ordered that Sir Anthony Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester as Mary’s comptroller.

    Mary was furious with the men and refused to obey them or her brother’s orders. The men reported what happened in a letter to the king and his privy council. Here is the whole letter:

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  • Mary’s Hand Opera – 1 and 2 August, London

    I just wanted to let you know about this Tudor-themed opera that is being performed on 1st and 2nd August at Holy Cross Church, Kings Cross, London.

    It’s the London premiere of this short opera (approx 70 minutes) on the life of Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Here’s the blurb:

    It’s a little-known fact that Queen Mary loved games of chance, such as dice and cards. In Mary’s Hand, the Queen shares a game of cards with the audience who get to choose the next card to be turned. Their choices prompt Mary’s reflection upon the influences and events in her life: her father
    Henry VIII, her mother Katherine of Aragon, her Catholic faith, her half-sister Elizabeth I, and her desperate desire for a child.

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  • Mary I and Philip II of Spain

    Today is the wedding anniversary of Queen Mary I and Philip II of Spain. The couple got married on 25th July 1554, the feast of St James, at Winchester Cathedral with Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Mary’s Lord Chancellor, officiating. The bride was thirty-eight years old and the groom was twenty-seven.

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  • 19 July 1553 – Mary I is proclaimed Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and all dominions

    On this day in history, 19th July 1553, thirteen days after the death of her half-brother, the fifteen-year-old King Edward VI, thirty-seven-year-old Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was proclaimed “qwene of England, France, and Yrland, and alle domy(ni)ons”.

    Mary was unaware of the proclamation of her queenship and the fact that her first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey or Queen Jane, had been removed from the throne.

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  • The Treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 3

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, I finish my series on the treatment Mary received at the hands of her father following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage. I examine what happened to Mary after the death of her mother in January 1536 and Anne Boleyn’s execution in May 1536.

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  • Princess Mary submits to her father, Henry VIII

    On 22nd June 1536, after two years of ill-treatment and bullying, Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, submitted to her father, accepting him as Supreme Head of the Church in England and accepting the invalidity of her parents’ marriage, and, therefore, her illegitimacy.

    Previously, Mary had been defiant in rejecting her demotion from Princess Mary to Lady Mary and in not accepting the annulment of her parents’ marriage or the terms of the 1534 First Act of Succession. However, plans for her escape to the Continent led to nothing and her friend and advisor, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, feared that Mary would be martyred if she did not submit to the king. Chapuys advised her that she should “consent to her father’s wish” if she felt that she was in danger. He reassured her that this was the Emperor’s advice.

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  • The Treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 2

    In the second part of my series on the treatment that Mary, the future Mary I, received from her father following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, I look at the years 1534 and 1535 and what happened to Mary after Parliament passed the First Act of Succession.

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  • The treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 1

    I have very mixed feelings about Mary I, but I have to say that there is much to admire about her. Not only did she rally support against Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 and reign as the first official queen regnant; not only did she rally support for her claim to the throne in 1553, being prepared to give her life for it; but she also stood up to her father, King Henry VIII, and the bullies he got to do the king’s business, when she was just seventeen years old. She was a tough cookie.

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about what happened to Mary from 1531 to 1534, what she went through.

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  • 14 December – A death, an accession and a burial

    On this day in 1542, James V died at Falkland Palace in Falkland, Fife, Scotland, after being taken ill following the Scots’ defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss on 24th November. It is not known what killed him – some argue that it was a nervous collapse, and others that it was a virus.

    While James was on his deathbed, his consort, Mary of Guise, gave birth to a daughter, and it was the six-day-old baby who became Mary, Queen of Scots on her father’s death. John Knox and the chronicler Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie both recorded that James uttered the words “it came wi a lass, it’ll gang wi a lass” (“it came with a lass, it will end with a lass”) as he lay dying, referring to how the Stuart dynasty began with a girl, through Marjorie Bruce, Robert the Bruce’s daughter, and how he feared it would now end with his daughter, Mary. However, the Stuart dynasty actually ended with another girl, Queen Anne, in 1714, and it is not known that James actually ever said these words.

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  • 1 October 1553 – Mary I is crowned queen

    On this day in history, Sunday 1st October 1553, the first official queen regnant of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Her name was Mary and she was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She was crowned Queen Mary I and she reigned from 19th July 1553 to her death on 17th November 1558.

    The coronation ceremony lasted from 11am, when Mary processed into Westminster Abbey to 4pm, when Mary processed out of the abbey and into Westminster Hall for her coronation banquet.

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